Agave Nectar and Diabetes

by admin on July 23, 2019

If you have diabetes, you will want to watch what you eat and drink. Foods with a lot of carb and sugar content are something you should avoid since they have high GI, or glycemic index. How about alternative sweetener? How about agave nectar and diabetes? Is it safe? We will explore agave nectar and diabetes in this article.

First of all, the key to identifying any food component is good to take or not for diabetic people, is to look at its GI value. If the GI value is low, then it is safe. If the GI value is high, then you should try to avoid it.

Agave Nectar and Diabetes

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Before we continue to discuss about agave nectar and diabetes, let’s touch a little bit what GI is, in case you are unfamiliar with it. GI or glycemic index, is a value used to calculate how fast one particular food causes our blood sugar level to increase. Carbohydrates are turned into glucose by our body, so the higher the content of carbohydrates is in food, the higher the GI index is. And of course sugary food itself is a high GI food because our body doesn’t even have to turn it into glucose; it’s already sugar to begin with.

With that information above in mind, it is easy for you to realize that the higher the sugar and carbohydrate content is, the higher the GI index is for that particular food. Therefore it is highly recommended for people with diabetes to avoid sugary food whenever possible. The question remains that we normally enjoy sweet foods, so does that mean we should completely avoid all sweet foods?

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The good news is the answer is no, because you still can enjoy sweet stuff as long as the sugar content is not high. This is where alternative sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners as they are normally called, come into play. There are many brands of alternative sweeteners you can find on the market. One of them that gain popularity in the past few years is agave nectar. So back to the original question, can agave nectar and diabetes live side by side? There is a short answer, and there is a long answer.

The short answer is yes, agave nectar and diabetes is not a bad combination. The long answer is, agave nectar can be consumed by people with diabetes as long as they treat it the same as any other sweetener. The reason is because agave nectar still has a calorie content that you should watch, which means in small amount it is safe to consume, but of course in large quantity it will cause your blood sugar level to increase just like any other food with carbohydrates in it.

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If you still have any doubt, maybe the following explanation will shed a light a little bit. Agave nectar is a sweetener that comes from the agave plant. While it is a safe substitution to sugar and honey, you should treat it as if it is the same. Studies show that if taken in moderation, agave nectar and diabetes are a good combination, but if taken in excess it has the same negative impact as sugar or honey does. So go ahead and enjoy your agave nectar sweetener. In moderation, of course.

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First of all, the biggest problem and obstacle in managing diabetes is not about the choices we have for food, including snacks. The problem is in choosing the right ones. Diabetic snacks are defined as the type of snacks that are healthy and safe to eat for people who have type 2 diabetes. Let’s see what they are.

Diabetic Snacks – The Background

The reason why having diabetic snacks is good for you, is because it will help you in maintaining and managing your blood sugar level at a reasonable level. If you have a three meal a day plan like most people, you are not following a good plan. Your dietitian will tell you that the best way in keeping your blood sugar under control is by having a smaller meal but at a higher frequency, meaning instead of having three meals, you should have five meals a day just smaller in portion.

The reality is most people will neither have the time nor the patience to prepare and eat five meals everyday. Therefore the general consensus is to have three smaller meals, plus two snacks a day; one in mid morning and another in mid afternoon.

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Diabetic Snacks – The Options

Once you know what to prepare and to eat for those regular three meals, namely breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the next step is in knowing what to eat as diabetic snacks. Just like you have to be careful in choosing your regular meals, you have to be as careful in choosing the right diabetic snacks. Here is a list of diabetic snacks you can choose from. For ease of use, it is broken down into several categories.

Diabetic Snacks – fruits

Just like any other type of food, you have to be careful when choosing the right fruits to eat. Remember that you need to avoid fruits with high sugar content, so you need to eat fruits with low GI values.

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The following fruits have low GI values and are safe to eat: Cherries, grapefruits, prunes, dried apricots, apples, peaches, pears, and any berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries.

The following fruits have medium GI values and should be eaten in moderation: Oranges, grapes, mangoes, and bananas.

The following fruits have high GI values and should be avoided:

Dates, watermelons, pineapples, cantaloupes, apricots, kiwis, and raisins.

Diabetic Snacks – Cereals

There are not that many cereals that you can eat. Most of them have medium GI values so they must be consumed in moderation: All Bran, Muesli, Bran Buds, and Oat Bran.

Do not eat the following cereals as they have a high GI values: Corn Flakes, Corn Chex, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Bran Flakes, Special K, Raisin Bran, and Bran Chex.

Look at the type and content of those cereals by reading the labels carefully. You can eat, or avoid, other cereal brands if they are similar in content to the list above.

Diabetic snacks – other food

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There other diabetic snacks that you can eat: Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds. These are low in carbohydrates and sugars so they are low in GI values.

Try to avoid these foods: Pretzels, jelly beans, popcorn, corn chips, potato chips, and chocolate.

Is there any bakery that we can eat as snacks? Unfortunately there are not that many bakery products that are safe to eat, with the exception of pumpernickel and sourdough bread, as they are among the low to medium GI. You can also eat a few other bakery products as long as you pay very close attention to the amount.  For instance you can eat a small amount of banana bread or soda bread, as long as they are made with Splenda as an alternative sweetener.

Do not eat: Donuts, muffins, cheesecake, croissants, waffles, and any white bread as they are high in GI index values.

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