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Dextrose and Diabetes

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Carbohydrates are the major fuel of the body. In unfortunate cases when there is a defect in metabolism and storage such as in diabetes, excess carbohydrates in the blood are unabsorbed. This tipping off the balance in favor of a high blood sugar can lead to multiple organ disorders and grave health problems.

An important biological by-product of carbohydrates is dextrose, a.k.a glucose, the substance measured in the blood to determine diabetes. Dextrose is a monosaccharide or a simple sugar like fructose, while the common table sugar--- sucrose--- is a disaccharide made up of glucose and fructose units.

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In many groceries and food stores, dextrose is sold as white powder packs for protein shakes. They are used as sweeteners by training body builders. There are also available dextrose tablets in pharmacies, sold as treatment for hypoglycemic episodes. In patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who use exogenous insulin and other medications to lower blood sugar, insulin toxicity may manifest as headache, dizziness, lethargy or confusion.

The rapid absorption of dextrose in the blood can quickly increase blood sugar, producing instant relief from the insulin reaction. However, like any sugar, dextrose use should be limited if the patient suffers from diabetes. The glycemic index (GI), a measure of glucose increase in the bloodstream, predicts the effect on glucose of a certain foodstuff. The GI of dextrose is about 100, a value that indicates its rapid absorption and increase in the bloodstream.

Other sweeteners available in the market today may be marketed as healthier, but that does not mean they function or metabolize differently from other carbohydrates. Honey, agave syrup, raw sugar, and maple syrup may vary in form and sweetness, but they may all elevate the blood sugar level. Many patients who suffer from diabetes have turned to artificial sweeteners like saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame; they can sweeten food in smaller amounts compared to table sugar, and they do not cause a significant increase in blood sugar. Unfortunately these artificial sweeteners have been scrutinized by the health conscious public, and a number of studies have come up with unfavorable results.

So, before you reach for a packet of Splenda, think twice; will you risk the danger of developing other illnesses in addition to your already existing diabetes? The following are some dangers that are posed by use of artificial sweeteners:

Sucralose (Splenda), a sweetener preferred by diabetics, can cause rashes, acne, dry skin, and gastrointestinal symptoms like acid reflux and cramping. More alarming is its destructive effect on the intestines, which, according to one Japanese study, may cause genotoxicity (DNA damage).

Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low) has been discovered in animal studies to produce bladder cancer and allergic reactions.

Acesulfame potassium used by diabetics to enhance food taste is thought to stimulate insulin secretion. Unfortunately for patients under medication, this can lead to hypoglycaemia and eventual coma.

Perhaps diabetes is a wakeup call for taking up healthier choices: more nutritious food, natural supplements, regular exercise, and adequate stress management. Depriving yourself of table sugar and artificial sweeteners because of diabetes should not be the doom of happiness: it should serve to move your creativity for whipping up delicious, fulfilling food.

Julia L Hanf is a proud contributing author and writes articles about Defeating Diabetes Naturally []. Julia is the author of the book How To Play The Diabetes Diet Game And Win With this proven system [] you to can lower your blood sugar level and retake control of your health and your life. Learn how to Defeat Diabetes Naturally.

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