Diabetes affects a whopping 3.7 million people in the UK – and cases are on the rise.
Around 90% of these patients are battling type-2, which means their blood sugar levels are deemed to high.
This can lead to a number of more serious problems, from heart disease to stroke.
To cut your risk of these health concerns, its important to make some changes to your diet and lifestyle.
The NHS website advises those with type-2 diabetes to “keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum”.
For this reason, many try to reduce their intake of these food groups by making food swaps.
One way to do this is to consume sweeteners instead of sugar.
So is this actually a proven way to cut your diabetes risk?
Sweeteners fall under two categories: nutritive and non-nutritive.
The former has nutritional value as it they contain carbohydrate and provide calories.
Some of these food types contain polyols, which are said to have less of an affect on the body as sugar.
While you may think this gives you the green light to eat them, this isn’t always the case.
Diabetes UK explains: “Polyols are usually used in products marketed as‘diabetic’ or ‘suitable for diabetics’and, as these products can be as high in fat and calories as standard products, Diabetes UK and the European Commission Regulations don’t recommend them.
“Consuming large amounts of polyols can have a laxative effect, causing bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea.”
The health website also urges caution when it comes to non-nutritive sweeteners.
Products that include aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, acesulfame potassium and cyclamate tend to fit this category.
Diabetes UK adds: “It’s a personal choice whether you decide to use sweeteners or not.
“If you decide to use sweeteners, but you’re unsure, speak to your diabetes healthcare team for individual advice, and check labels and ingredients on food packaging, as this can help you to make informed choices.”
While research has cast doubt over whether sweeteners are better than sugar, the NHS says they could work for some patients.
A report said: “For people trying to lose weight and those with diabetes who are trying to control their blood sugar, it is important to do what works for them as this is more likely to be sustainable in the long term.
“For some people, substituting food and drinks containing artificial sweeteners, rather than those containing sugar, may help with these goals.”