Sweet Treats

Delicious decisions are a snap when you know the food facts.

Lara Rondinelli By Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

One of the first questions I usually get asked from a person newly diagnosed with diabetes is, "Will I ever be able to eat cake or cookies or any desserts again?" Although days of eating large quantities of these sugar-laden foods are out of the picture, people with diabetes can still enjoy many tasty sweet treats that have been modified to decrease carbohydrates.

There are many pre-made products available such as sugar-free cookies, cakes, pudding, ice cream, and candy that can be acceptable for a person with diabetes. These foods are usually sweetened with sugar substitutes such as Splenda or aspartame to cut back on the carbohydrates. Sugar alcohols are also used to replace sugar, but sugar alcohols still contain some carbohydrates. And a word of caution - foods containing sugar alcohols may cause bloating and diarrhea and everyone's tolerance is different. Try a small amount of a sugar-alcohol containing food to see if you can tolerate it. Remember, just because a food label states that an item is sugar-free, this does NOT always mean the food is low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the foods that break down into sugar and have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels. Read food labels and check the grams of total carbohydrate in a product. Remember 15 grams of total carbohydrate equals one carbohydrate choice and many people are allowed 3-4 carbohydrates per meal. Check with your registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator about your carbohydrate allowance.

If you choose to bake your own desserts, you can substitute the newer products such as SPLENDA Sugar Blend for Baking or Equal Sugar Lite for sugar in the recipe. These products are heat stable and can lower the carbohydrate content of your recipe. In addition, products such as sugar-free pudding and sugar-free gelatin can be used in many desserts. Check out the banana split cake recipe below. This recipe combines bananas, pineapple, sugar-free pudding and light cool whip to create a wonderful, mouthwatering cake. Also, don't forget about the healthiest sweet treat – fresh fruit. Fresh fruit can be served with light yogurt for a dipping sauce or fruit can be blended with yogurt for a smoothie dessert.

People with diabetes can still enjoy great-tasting desserts. Try experimenting with this Banana Split Cake recipe. Not only does it taste great, but it's the perfect dish to bring to a summer picnic.


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Last Modified Date: June 17, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...
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