Sugar Free Sweets and G.I

Sugar free sweets use sweeteners such as Isomalt and Maltitol instead of sugar.  

The various sweeteners all have different properties.  When making any  specific  sweet  the correct sweetener must be chosen to get the best result.  For instance Isomalt does not caramelise so is not very good in toffees but its behaviour at high temperature makes it ideal in the manufacture of classic boiled sweets.  

What  is  G.I?

Many people who choose sugar free sweets are doing so for health reasons and they may particularly be interested in the Glycaemic Index or GI of the products.

A food with a high GI has the effect of quickly raising the blood glucose level.   Rapid swings in blood glucose levels are problematic in the management of diabetes. 

The table below shows the GI of glucose, sugar and the sweeteners used in the sweets we sell.  It is based on a table at this site

Sweetener  Glycaemic Index
Glucose 100
Sugar (sucrose) 65
Honey 50
Maltitol 35
Fructose 24
Xylitol 12
Isomalt 2
Erythritol 1
Stevia 1

 

Glycaemic Index and Diabetes

The Glycaemic Index taken alone does not really give good information on how the food affects insulin levels in the blood stream. Two foods may have the same glycaemic index but other factors such as the fibre content may result in very different effects on insulin levels.  So GI alone is not a good indicator as to whether a food is safe for diabetics. .

 Although Fructose has a low glycaemic index it is considered unsuitable  for diabetics.  It can only be broken down in the liver so can lead to the liver becoming resistant to insulin.  In addition, when the liver processes fructose releases triglycerides into the bloodstream.  These are the main type of fat in the body.  High triglyceride levels are not considered advisable as they also impact on Cholesterol. To read more click here

 

agave Plaant

Attribution: Stan Shebs

 The low GI of fructose has resulted in products such as agave nectar being recommended in some cookery books and "healthy lifestyle" articles.   Cakes sweetened with this are frequently described as sugar free.  But the truth is that the romantic image of a natural healthy product is far from the truth,  the manufacturing process has converted the original complex ingredients of the agave juice into a mixture that is mainly fructose combined with sucrose.   Perhaps we should stick to drinking Agave juice in the form of Tequila!

Comment

We would all like to feel we have a good balanced diet but how we metabolise food is complicated and there is no single indicator whether something is good for us.  Glycaemic Index is a useful tool but  as always you should dig a little deeper particularly if you are diabetic or aiming at a healthier lifestyle.   

Good sources of reliable information are sites such as Diabetes.org.uk

 

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