What sweetener can diabetics use?

Are artificial sweeteners all right for a diabetic?

Well, they're better than downing an equal quantity of sugar. An occasional artificially sweetened drink is pleasant. We've found an especially good artificially sweetened tonic called Thintonic. Certain desserts like custard, gelatin, and pudding would be pretty dismal without some sweetening, and, if the sweetening is artificial, you can eat a more normal size portion than if you were using sugar. June also confesses a fondness for Alba Fit'N Frosty milk shakes and their hot chocolate, both of which are artificially sweetened.

It's not, however, a good idea to load up on huge quantities of anything, especially anything chemical. You never know when it's going to dawn on the Food and Drug Administration that some chemical on their GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list has harmful side effects, as happened with cyclamates and as could happen with saccharine. One way to avoid getting too much of any one chemical is to buy several different brands of artificial sweeteners and alternate using them.

Much better than trying to fake a sweet taste with chemicals, however, is to lose your taste for sweets. If you're a sweet freak, this probably strikes you as utterly impossible. But the plain truth is that if you stop eating concentrated sweets, you eventually come to dislike them. Then it is an affront to you if someone disguises the beautiful, natural flavor of a plate of strawberries by heaping it with sugar or several squirts of the artificial stuff.

Another good reason for not relying heavily on artificial sweeteners is that they help you, in effect, deny that you have diabetes. As we say again and again, acceptance is one of the most important factors in leading a successful and happy diabetic life.

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