As you might already know, people with diabetes can have higher blood sugar levels. This happens either because their body is not able to produce enough insulin (diabetes Type 1) or because it does not know how to respond to this hormone properly (diabetes Type 2). Insulin has the role to teach our cells how to store and use the sugars and fat we ingest. While certain cells are able to use glucose without insulin, most of them actually need it to function correctly. In people with diabetes, the sugars usually absorbed in different ways by the body is thus not distributed as usual, and a lot of it ends up at the same place – in the bloodstream. This phenomenon is called hyperglycemia, a condition that can lead to severe health problems if left untreated.
Because they cannot absorb too much glucose nor fat, people with diabetes often have to follow a stricter meal plan than average. Indeed, some foods contain more sugar, and some types of sugar raise the blood glucose level higher and faster. That is why most people with this disease have to carefully watch what they eat. While some of them can still add some sweets and carbs to their diet, others have to deprive themselves almost completely. It is different for everyone, but in any case, a well-balanced meal plan is very important. The American Diabetes Association says a healthy diet contains limited amounts of saturated fat, sugar and salt, and includes foods such as lean protein, fruits and whole grains, for instance. Therefore, a person with diabetes should make sure the latter elements can be found in his/her diet, with enough fibre and protein so the sugars are not digested too quickly. Combining well-balanced meals with exercise would be even better to stay healthy.
Pure maple syrup is one of the rare sweeteners to be considered a healthier alternative to granulated and brown sugar. That is because synthetic forms of sugar contain more fructose, a sugar that is turned into fat when consumed in too large amounts. The syrup from maple trees, on the other hand, essentially has sucrose – a healthier, more complex form of sugar. Plus, it contains some antioxidants and minerals, which is not the case for less natural sweeteners.
Because of the way it is processed by your body, some people claim that maple syrup is safe for diabetics. In fact, many believe it is one of the safest options when it comes to including sugar to your diet. Truth is, everyone experiences diabetes differently, and the way your body processes maple syrup might not be the same as everybody else. That is why it is hard to say for certain if it is truly good for diabetics. Of course, there is no doubt this natural sweetener is healthier than highly-processed products like refined sugar, but it is still a form of sugar. Even though it has some nutritional benefits to it, it should always be taken in moderation as it could probably increase blood sugar levels if not consumed reasonably. That is why adding pure maple syrup to your diet should be done carefully, and cheap imitations full of high-fructose corn syrup should be avoided completely. Organic maple syrup is also preferable over non-organic.
If you wish to include pure maple syrup in your diet or in that of a member of your family, there are also a few steps you should take first. The most essential would be to consult with your doctor before trying anything at home, just to make sure you do not have any complications in the process. As I mentioned, diabetes is different for everybody, and your particular case might not allow you to consume any sweeteners at all, even natural ones. Moreover, diabetics must ensure their sugar intake is within a safe range. Because that range varies from person to person, obtaining a qualified medical opinion on the matter would certainly be wise – that’s all the more reason to speak with your doctor. Another important step would be to monitor your sugar intake closely to make sure your blood sugar levels are stabilized while you add maple syrup to your diet, so you can adjust what you eat accordingly. If you are allowed a bit of sweets, a good option would be to replace refined and brown sugar in your recipes with a reasonable amount of syrup. There are many great homemade, healthy snacks you can make with maple syrup, as long as you are careful with the quantity you use.
Dealing with diabetes everyday is certainly not the easiest thing to do. That is why it is always good to be informed, so you can prepare an appropriate meal plan while still enjoying what you eat. The same goes if one of your loved ones is a diabetic, as you can treat them and still comply with their stricter diet at the same time. If you ever want to include pure maple syrup, simply remember that moderation and a qualified medical opinion are essential. The latter should always prevail over generic information.