Are Sugar-Free Sweets Safe for Diabetics?

Sugar-free candies are an option for people with diabetes, but it's important to check which sweetener is used. Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, maltitol, erythritol and xylitol can have laxative effects if taken in large quantities. Eating a lot of sugar-free foods is not recommended for those with diabetes, as they often contain refined flours and little fiber. However, eating sugar-free foods from time to time is OK and can help you enjoy yourself in a healthy way.

The more whole foods you eat, the less sugar cravings you'll have. If you want to enjoy candy more often without spikes in blood sugar, protecting your teeth, trying to lose weight or avoiding the dreaded drop in sugar after overindulging, there are better options. Sugar-free candies tend to have fewer calories and carbohydrates than traditional versions, but they may contain sugar alcohols and additional fibers which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort if consumed in excess. Four pieces of this sweet treat have just 1 gram of net carbs and are sweetened with xylitol, erythritol and stevia, making them an excellent choice for keeping blood sugar low and teeth clean. White chocolate is usually high in sugar, but Lily's white chocolate bars have just 2 grams of sugar and only 4 grams of net carbs per serving. They're sweetened with stevia and erythritol and have 7 grams of fiber per serving of chicory root fiber.

This soluble fiber is known as inulin and can help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol. Red licorice is a fan favorite, but it can have more than 25 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of added sugar per serving. Project 7 licorice isn't sugar-free, but it's low enough to have a mild effect on blood glucose. A bag of red licorice is equivalent to 5 Twizzler bars and has only 11 grams of net carbohydrates and 1 gram of sugar. It's sweetened with allulose, a natural, low-calorie sweetener with minimal side effects. If you can't get enough of eating Swedish fish candies, but could do without the rapid rise in blood sugar, try Candy People's sugar-free option.

Each serving has just 13 grams of net carbs and zero sugar. They are sweetened with maltitol and do not contain gelatin. A fruit-flavored hard candy with no net carbs and only 1.5 grams of sugar alcohols per serving is also available. They're mostly sweetened with stevia, a natural, low-calorie sugar alternative. Sugar-free candies are made with artificial sweeteners, meaning they may have less of an impact on blood sugar levels. This candy uses maltitol, lactitol, sucralose and polydextrose to replace sugar for a sweetness that won't increase blood sugar. Buttered popcorn is a healthier and less addictive experience than salty or sweetened varieties.

Foods with artificial sweeteners don't raise blood sugar and can add a lot of variety to the diabetic diet. The big problem with sugar-free candies is due to the sugar alcohols contained in these candies, which can have some negative effects depending on how much you eat. Sugar alcohols are considered fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, or a type of FODMAP. Sugar-free popcorn contains approximately 50% carbohydrates by weight, so a 30 g serving will have 15 g of carbohydrates. Language and attitudes about diabetes are important when addressing the topic of sugar or candy for adults and children with diabetes. Sugar alcohols also have little or no effect on blood sugar and are the perfect way to sweeten diabetes-friendly foods. While enjoying small pieces of authentic products from time to time is fine, enjoying sugar-free candies can allow you to enjoy them more often without worrying about your blood sugar level. Remember that sugar-free doesn't mean you don't have carbohydrates, and if you have diabetes you may need to include sugar-free candies in your carbohydrate meal plan to effectively control your blood sugar.

Eating sugar-free candy is not a free way to buy candy if a person with non-insulin-dependent diabetes is aware of their weight.