Sugar Free Candy For Diabetics
Making sugar free candy for diabetics, dieters, and anyone else watching their sugar intake can be easy and fun if you know your ingredients and have a few good recipes.
There’s a reason everyone understands the phrase “like a kid in a candy store.” We all love sweets, but unfortunately, sweets don’t love us back. Pure sugar is a bad deal for our health on many levels, especially if we’re diabetic. Does that mean we have to bid our beloved candies adieu forever? Not at all. Making sugar ree candy for diabetics, dieters, and anyone else watching their sugar intake can be easy and fun if you know your ingredients and have a few good recipes.
Choose The Right Sugar Substitute
There are a ton of sugar substitutes for home candy cooks out there, but one of the best ones to use in sugar free candy making is erythritol. It’s a sugar alcohol which occurs naturally in fruits, mushrooms, and fermented foods like wine and soy sauce. It has almost no glycemic index, which makes it an excellent choice for use in sugar free candy for diabetics. It also has no calories and no carbs, so it’s easy to fit into your healthy diet.
Taste-wise, erythritol ranges from 60% – 80% as sweet as sugar, so you might need to use it in combination with a high intensity sweetener, like sucralose or stevia. Erythritol is not yet widely available in stores, so your best bet may be to purchase it online. If you’re offered the option of powdered or granular erythritol, go with powdered, as it dissolves more readily. If you end up with the granular form, you can easily throw it in the blender and grind it up until it’s nicely powdered.
Sugar Free Chocolate And Candy Coatings
Another supply you’ll want to keep on hand is sugar free chocolate and candy coatings. It’s important to bear in mind that these are not usually low calorie, and are often sweetened with maltitol (see below) and do contain some carbohydrates, but they’re still a much better deal nutritionally than sugary candy coatings. You can use them sparingly but very effectively to enhance the look and taste of your homemade treats.
Until recently, these were hard to find in stores, and you still may want to shop online for the best selection of flavors. However, Hershey’s sugar free chocolate chips are now widely available where groceries are sold, so you can easily pick up a package and give them a try. They melt very much like regular chocolate chips do, so they work great for dipping, coating, and garnishing your sugar free candies.
If sugar free hard candy or lollipops are to your liking, maltitol is the sugar substitute you’ll most likely need. It’s derived from hydrogenated maltose, which comes from starch. It has about half the calories of sugar, and is nearly as sweet. It’s a better bet than sugar for diabetics, because the body absorbs it slowly, prompting less rise in blood glucose and therefore less insulin response. However, it is a carbohydrate, and has a relatively high glycemic index when compared to other sugar substitutes, so diabetics should still use it cautiously. But if calorie reduction is your main goal, maltitol is an excellent sugar substitute. Unlike some other sweeteners, it melts when exposed to heat, then re-hardens when cooled. It’s available in many grocery stores and online.
Sucralose, commonly known as Splenda in the US, is another ingredient that comes in handy for sugar free candy making. It’s made by chlorinating table sugar, and can be used measure-for-measure in place of sugar in many baking and some candy making recipes. It’s a product ideal for diabetics, because it has no impact on insulin levels, and is very popular with dieters because it has no calories.
Its main function is to add a sweet taste to your goodies – it won’t melt or incorporate into candies like the sweeteners mentioned previously – but it has its place in sugar free candy making, especially when the recipe calls for powdered sugar. Processing a teaspoon of cornstarch with one cup of sucralose in a blender for about a minute gives the sweetener a powdered sugar-like consistency, which can be used in candy recipes as well as some glaze and frosting preparations. Because it’s many times sweeter than sugar, you may choose to use a little less of it in some recipes. Sucralose is available wherever groceries are sold.
Finally, gummies make excellent sugar free candies for diabetics and anyone else trying to avoid sugar. They’re easy to make using surprisingly common ingredients. A few packets of gelatin, a packet of sugar free drink mix, and some cold water is all you need. The sweetener used in most sugar free gelatin and drink mix is aspartame, which contains no carbohydrates and has no effect on blood glucose levels. It also has no calories, so it easily incorporates into weight loss plans. These candies can be made in cookie sheets and cut into shapes, or poured directly into molds for a fun and festive look.
To help you get started, here are some recipes for sugar free candy for diabetics, dieters, and anyone else trying to cut sugar from their diet. They’re easy and fun to make, and guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth:
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