Sugar-free does not mean carb-free

A food label that says "sugar-free" does not mean it is also carbohydrate-free and calorie-free. Always check the nutrition facts label to find out the total carbohydrates and calories that should be figured into your meal plan.

A few popular sugar substitutes include:


  • Aspartame. Also called NutraSweet or Equal (Merisant).
  • Sucralose. Sold under the tradename Splenda, this sweetener has no carbohydrates and no calories.
  • Sugar alcohols. Also called polyols, these aren't completely absorbed during digestion and therefore may cause less of a rise in blood glucose levels. They can also have a laxative effect for many people, so should be taken in small doses.

Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08

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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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