Do you recall your mother carrying around a secret stash of candies in her purse? Or your father, who would sneak an extra spoonful of sugar into his coffee or tea? Sweet times, but is it possible that these tiny treats could lead to a more significant problem?
As we all age, these innocent habits over time may introduce some adverse effects when it comes to maintaining good health. When our elderly family members were growing up, there wasn’t a lot of research on the impact of sugar. It was a sweet treat that has now become a staple in many diets with irreversible effects.
Find out more about sugar substitutes and how to improve the diet and health for yourself and those you love.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Good For Our Seniors?
While it’s easy to find sugar-free alternatives with soda and desserts, how much do we know about the ingredients? The research can be daunting and often distract you from the primary goal. Read these facts about the most common artificial sweeteners and find out what you need to know about these sugar substitutes.
These sugar substitutes might even go undetected by your elderly family relatives, but their bodies are feeling the effects. One of the most popular sugar-free ingredients is aspartame. While it may seem like an easy solution, more studies link the ingredient to cognitive disease including, Alzheimer’s.
In 1978 a study linked this ingredient to causing bladder cancer in bats and mice. This ingredient was promptly banned and only recently became available for consumption. The United States took Saccharin off its list of restricted foods in 2001. However, it is still sold with a warning label at local pharmacies.
This chemical has proven to be the least controversial artificial sweetener. Sucralose has minimal risk but should be monitored with people with diabetes. If consumed daily, it can raise blood sugar and insulin levels.
Artificial sweeteners don’t contain carbohydrates, making them an easy addition to a diabetic diet. However, they do have a different set of concerns. Focus on finding natural sugar substitutes when available.
Sugar Substitutes Everyone Enjoys
Finding a substitute for sugar doesn’t have to be a challenge. Check out our list of easy substitutions that don’t sacrifice flavor.
This sugar substitute is also known as Xylitol, can be naturally produced from cauliflower and plums. It has 40% fewer calories than standard sugar and has been linked to preventing osteoporosis.
While honey is a popular natural sugar substitute, it is very similar to traditional sugar. Honey has many anti-inflammatory properties and mixes well in liquids but holds a similar calorie count and impacts blood sugar levels. We would not recommend making this your only sugar substitution but using it with others on the list.
Produced by the Agave plant, this nectar is worth considering as a replacement for sugar. You can also find vitamins A, E, B1, K, B9, B2, B3, and B6 in a single serving of agave nectar.
Dates are an easy replacement if your elderly relatives enjoy snacking on candy. While they are sweet, they are also a power food full of vitamins and potassium. Dates have also been helpful if you need to stimulate regular digestion.
This sugar substitute is more than just a breakfast condiment. Consider using maple syrup in baking or even to sweeten tea or coffee. Maple syrup also contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
The formal title for this ingredient is Steviol glycoside. While it isn’t a natural substitution, it has a variety of benefits to consider. The sugar substitute doesn’t contain any calories and also doesn’t impact blood sugar levels.
The 12 Oaks Approach
Providing for the health and wellness of our residents is always our top priority. Our 12 Oaks community offers a wonderful variety of sugar alternatives to help accommodate any dietary restrictions. It’s our daily delight to serve delicious and nutritious meals to our residents.
Moving into a senior living community can introduce a new way of dining. With our on-site chef and dietary team, we may present menu options and dietary solutions your family has yet to discover. Continue creating sweet memories while not risking health and wellness.
If you have questions about sugar substitutes or any conditions discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while still leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks community is an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to book a scheduled personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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