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I was recently offered a sample of apple juice. Assuming it had sugar added, I declined. The person offering the sample told me that it was "Diabetic Safe" yet the label indicated 25 mg of sugar. The person offering the sample told me that the "natural" sugars were okay. How does 25 mg of natural sugar compare to ordinary table sugar? Where can I find information regarding natural sugars?


"Natural Sugars" will affect the blood glucose levels in a very similar manner to "other sugars." Fructose, the kind of sugar in fruit and fruit juice, may have a slight advantage over sucrose, the kind in table sugar, but as a practical matter not enough of an advantage to count on. There are several good articles by Bantle, John P., on sucrose and fructose in people with diabetes. I'm sure you can access these by a MEDLINEŽ search.

What is nowadays frequently advised is to count total carbohydrates, and think of sugar as a source of carbohydrate. This will help determine the overall effect a food will have on blood glucose levels. Protein and fat also effect blood glucose levels, but to a lesser degree.

Of course, carbohydrates (and other foods) need to be balanced with insulin (or other medications) and activity to achieve the best blood glucose response. To my knowledge there is no "diabetic safe" or "unsafe" food. If you desire further information on how to balance carbohydrates in a meal plan, consult a Registered Dietitian specializing in diabetes in your area.


Original posting 7 Nov 96


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