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It is not easy to accept the fact when your parents are diagnosed with Diabetes. The first thing the doctors would ask is to stay away from sugar. This is not a simple thing to do as we are used to having sugar all our lives. Furthermore, the taste of sugar triggers a type of hormone in the brain that makes us feel cheerful. This is what makes it so difficult for people to give up sugar.

For diabetics, sugar increases the blood sugar level which in turn increases the risk of health complications which could involve the nerves, eyes, kidneys, and heart.

Presently, the American Heart Association (AHA) included additional sugar in its list of possible causes of heart problems in addition to too much salt, fat, and cholesterol intake in the daily diet. According to AHA, high sugar intake is associated to bad health including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, and high level of triglyceride which are all risk factors for stroke and heart attack.

What is sugar?

White sugar, also known as sucrose is the simplest form of sugar, but not the only type of sugar. Other sugar types include brown sugar, fructose, maltose, palm sugar, glucose honey, and maple syrup.

Are we consuming too much sugar?

Malaysians generally consume at least 19 teaspoons (176 grams) of additional sugar every single day. It is equivalent to 300 calories from the total sum of daily calorie intake. Health experts believe that this far exceeds our natural limit. We should only take sugar as much as 6 teaspoons (100 calories) for women and 9 teaspoons (150 calories) for men as suggested by the AHA.

Did you know that 3 in 1 beverage are loaded with sugar? One cup of white coffee and chocolate malt may contain up to 4 teaspoons of sugar. Just imagine, drinking only two or three cups of these has already exceeded the suggested calorie limit by AHA. This is yet to include other forms of sugar consumption in daily meals.

Artificial Sweetener

In general, artificial sweetener allegedly has ‘no sugar’ and is thought to be the best choice for sugar substitute. Question is, is it true and safe? Maybe you would like to surf the web and read more about ‘aspartames, sucralose, side effects, and dangers’.

You might have read about food and beverages, soft drinks, yoghurt, microwaveable food, even instant drinks contain artificial sweetener before purchase, make sure to read the labels and check for obscure artificial sweeteners.

Natural Sweetener – Stevia Extract

Known as ‘sweet leaf’ or stevia rebaudiana, Stevia is 300 times sweeter than any average sugar but has zero calorie content. Stevia Extract is extracted from the sweetest part of the leaf.

In addition to its wonderful flavour, stevia extract is safe and has no side effects. It has no calorie content and does not raise the sugar blood level. Therefore, it is a smart choice for pre-diabetics, diabetics, and those who are concerned for their health.

As a natural sweetener, stevia does not taste like sugar nevertheless it is the best sugar substitute.

Currently, there are 3 in 1 beverages sweetened with stevia on the market. This drink is free from sugar and has three flavours which are white, chocolate malt, and oat and cereal (vanilla) sweetened with stevia, the natural sweetener. It has no sugar and is greatly recommended for you and diabetics for a healthier lifestyle.