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Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners?

For the first decade or so of my life with Type 1, people with diabetes were not allowed to have sugar.  I was only allowed sugar-free sweets made with artificial sweeteners.

These days, carb counting and my insulin pump allow me to eat non-sugar-free sweets in moderation, as long as I properly dose my insulin for them.  I find I always chose sugar over artificial sweeteners because I'm afraid they are just chemicals and not very healthy.  And I assume they won't taste as good either.

But maybe I'm wrong?  Maybe I should give some sugar-free stuff a try and save carbs and calories (and insulin) where I can - assuming the sugar-free treats are lower carb.  (I've found they aren't always.)

Do you choose sugar or artificial sweeteners?  Any favorite products?  Any thoughts on this to share?  I'd love to hear answers for people both with Type 1 and Type 2!!
posted Feb 27 in Conversation by KarenG (16,340 points)

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6 replies

I am a type one.  When I first got my pump I also only choose sugar free but now I don't limit myself to just sugar free.  I find I can only consume a tiny amount of sugar alcohols and without feeling ill so if I see that as the sugar I avoid that treat.  I don't mind having a smaller portion if it tastes better with sugar.  I find the same principle works with all foods.  I am very conscious of the carb count in all the food I eat and seek out recipes that are low carb without using artificial sweeteners whenever possible.
answered Feb 28 by Pump1fun (1,770 points)
My dietitian recommend that I do sugar as opposed to artificial seeetners. One reason was because I need to lose weight and studies have shown aspartame can contribute to weight gain.

Artificial sweeteners also give me migraines so it was a relief to hear some affirmation.
answered Feb 28 by Mloeks (240 points)
I go back and forth on this too. Before I was diagnosed, I rarely ate or drank anything with artificial sweeteners. If I wanted a soda, I would get Coke  (those were the days!), not anything diet. But now, I dislike that so many drinks have so much sugar in them that I completely avoid them or find some way to decrease the carb count. I also think a lot of the artificial sweeteners have a funky taste..the only one I like is splenda blend (half sugar/half splenda).

I have tried swerve, which tastes ok, but then it makes water taste weird after I eat something with swerve. I dunno, maybe I just have picky taste buds!
answered Mar 3 by Asgundlach (740 points)
I use sugar. I did slowly decrease the amount I used in my coffee or tea so I no longer use any in my tea and in my coffee none if I use a flavored creamer and a teaspoon with plain creamer.

I don't like the aftertaste of faux sugar and I worry about the ingredients it's made of and the health concerns of eating it. I'm the same with butter and only use olive oil or coconut oil. Perhaps I'm overly concerned?
answered Mar 14 by Charsosweet (850 points)
I do not use artificial sweeteners - I'm in the school of thought that natural is better/healthier than chemicals.  I have also found that certain recipes, especially homemade dressings or merinades, that call for sugar, the sugar can be eliminated and they taste the same!
answered Mar 16 by Donna (530 points)
I've been using artificial sweeteners since the 1960's from cyclamates to sacharin to aspartamame to sucralose to stevia. The one I like best is sucralose (such as Splenda). It tastes the least artificial to me. I use it in coffee, tea and in cooking things that need sweetening. Powdered Splenda supposedly measures like sugar, but I find it to be a little sweeter for example in an 8 oz cup of tea is sweeter with one teaspoon of Splenda than with one teaspoon of sugar. Splenda does not act like sugar when cooked. If you need the caramelization or thickening caused by heating sugar, you won't get it with Spenda. Sucralose is also available in liquid form and in very concentrated form so that a single drop is like 2 teaspoons of sugar (to my taste buds). I wish I liked Stevia because it is supposed to be more, but I get a very bitter after taste with it.
answered May 2 by janmosso (1,460 points)