The use of sugar is a controversial issue. It is one I have a hard time coming to grips with myself. Most of the time I would take the “real thing” over a substitute. I do not like chemicals in my food but recently so many people I care about are finding out they have diabetes. As a self-taught baker, this makes creating my traditional desserts very challenging. I recently got out of the library Diabetic Dream Desserts and The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts to look into alternatives for how to make low-sugar desserts.
Diabetic Dream Desserts really focuses on using sugar substitutes, namely Splenda. What I like about this book is it also has great ideas for low-fat baking but that is not why I picked it up. It does teach that the more complex the carb is (using whole wheat flour vs white flour) will help maintain blood sugar but overall, this book really is about replacing sugar with Splenda.
The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts is a little better in that it does not always use a sugar replacement, sometimes it will go half and half with real sugar and Splenda. I guess I have a hard time with some of the recipes that call for 3/4 cup of sugar for a batch of cookies and then say they are low in sugar. That still seems kind of high to me.
I will admit that I have made cinnamon buns with the brown sugar version of Splenda and they turned out wonderful. I have also made chocolate cheesecake with Splenda and I can tell you, to have a treat like that is a diabetic’s dream come true. I have worked with fructose and Stevia and do not like them at all. If you have any suggestions or comments, I would appreciate it. There just does not seem to be many alternatives for diabetics out there when it comes to desserts and it is not fair that they have to go without or eat all those chemical!
My Gramma has diabetes. She now uses whole wheat flour and splenda. She knows everything she eats and when she needs to eat. What I’ve learned is that all food messes with a person’s blood glucose level. So it is more of just being careful of what they eat, not just cutting out sugars.
There is a diabetic kid in my class and he still eats the same kind of foods. He even drinks soda. He know exactly what his body can take, though.
Suzie the Foodie says
Thank you for your response Tori. My Mom tested her blood sugar on everything she ate when she first was diagnosed and now eats intuitively and listens to her body.
Holy cow, I can’t imagine drinking liquid sugar and being diabetic! He must really know what he can handle.
I often think that the Atkins’ Diet in a lot of ways would be good for diabetics, it’s so focused on protein and fat. Still, balance and moderation are the keys to good health I think.
Genie Sea says
My friend who has diabetes, uses Xylitol in her baking. It’s a natural sugar substitute! 🙂
Kara aka Mother Henna says
Suzie, I discovered Agave — especially the very dark agave has a very low glycemic affect on me personally, though I don’t have diabetes, I am sensitive to insulin intolerance. I discovered agave from a friend who was baking for a diabetic relative. I really like it — her crusts and muffins and such brown beautifully. I even find that if I absolutely have a crave for sweetened tea or coffee, Agave is great little touch for that. Just a thought…
Suzie the Foodie says
Wow Genie Sea, I didn’t know you could buy Xylitol!
Kara, I picked up some agave this morning and am going to try it. I am looking forward to trying it in baking in particular. I hope I like it more than Stevia!
I am trying to avoid sugar because of the energy problems I have been having. I discovered a great blog called Spoonful of Sugar Free and the first thing I made was a raw, sugar free, frozen banana cream pie. It was delicious! And none of my dinner guests guessed that it had no sugar or sugar alternative. There are a handful of dates and that’s it. (I don’t know much about diabetes, though. So I would not know if it is suitable for a diabetic.)
Suzie Ridler says
Using dates is genius Sarah! I much prefer more-natural sugars when I can get them and use them. I have made a similar banana ice cream using that method, such a cool idea. All sugar is problematic for those with diabetes but if you have to have it, more natural sugar like this is always better. Well done!
Suzie, when I made the pie I had some leftover frozen banana. It’s amazing, but frozen banana, whipped in the blender, tastes just like ice cream! I love it.