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How Much Sugar Does It Take to Get Diabetes?

 Why do diabetics need to eat less sugar?

Diabetes is a disease characterized by a carbohydrate absorption disorder.

The type 1 diabetes is caused by lack of insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, whose role is to reduce the sugar levels in blood ( glycaemia ). It mainly concerns young patients and requires insulin injections  (so-called insulin-dependent diabetes).

The type 2 diabetes especially in overweight people after 40 years. The mechanism is different: it is not an absence of insulin, but a resistance of the organism to the insulin produced.

Minimize the intake of simple sugars and increase those of slow sugars

There are what we might call "real" sugars: refined white sugar, brown sugars and complete sugars; and traditional sweet products like honey, maple syrup, fructose, and agave syrup . All these sugars have in common to provide simple sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose) and to have zero or very minimal contributions in proteins, minerals and vitamins: they are "empty" calories.

Epidemiological studies show a diet too rich in simple sugars and not rich enough in slow sugars (starch) or starches. However, simple sugars must not represent in the general population more than 10% of total energy intake (ie 50 g / day for a total intake of 2000 calories).

The different sugars:

{To be avoided as much as possible}

White sugar is made up of 100% simple carbohydrates: sucrose. It is totally refined.

To limit:

Agave syrup is a liquid sugar made from a plant in the cactus family. Its assets: a sweetening power superior to white sugar, and a richness in minerals. But its limits are numerous: a glycemic index which can be very variable and a high fructose content to which it is advisable to be attentive. Moreover, it is a product that is transformed.

{To consume with moderation}

Maple syrup is very rich in minerals when it is of good quality. Fructose occurs naturally in honey and in fruit. It has long been considered the sugar of diabetics because it has a sweetening power greater than white sugar and has a much less effect on blood sugar (another metabolic pathway than that of insulin). Its excessive use (> 60g / day) would be detrimental to the balance of the latter and would promote metabolic complications.


  • Complete sugar or rapadura is richer in proteins, minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and certain vitamins of group B: it is less refined and its sucrose level is lower. Brown sugar is a variant of whole sugar. It is to be preferred because its nutritional quality is better.
  • Honey is the product of transformation of flower nectar by the bee and is thus the mixture of different simple sugars (sucrose, fructose but also glucose). Its qualities are numerous: it has a lower glycemic index than sugars (even complete) with a higher sweetening power (therefore requires less quantity). It also has good antioxidant power and antibacterial qualities.

Focus on sweeteners

A sweetener  is a product or substance that gives a food a sweet taste. Sweeteners can be an interesting alternative, especially in diabetic patients. Sweeteners are or have been the subject of much controversy and are regularly evaluated by health authorities who define ADIs (acceptable daily intake) which are in fact long-term safety thresholds. However, beware of the addiction to the sweet taste they provide! It is advisable to get rid of the sweet taste and to favor the consumption of natural sweet products such as honey in small quantities and occasionally.

  • The main sweeteners are polyols : sorbitol, maltitol. Polyols are products manufactured industrially from sugars present in very small quantities in plants. They are mainly found in confectionery (candy and chewing gum). They can cause uncomfortable digestive effects like diarrhea or bloating .  
  • The Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in a wide variety of foods. Its excessive use is a health risk.
  • The sucralose is a synthetic product derived from sucrose. It is used in cooking and baking because it is resistant to very high temperatures.
  • The stevia , wrongly considered as natural, is actually rarely as to recover molecules "sweetening" processing methods are numerous. In addition, stevia sticks are often much richer in polyols than in stevia itself.
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