Truth or Myth: Sugar alternative is completely safe for diabetics

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There is so much controversy regarding artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes among people. It has become a long-term debate among people, especially those with diabetes, due to their concern about food intake.

To satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings, this article will help you clear some sugar alternatives misunderstandings.

Top view of different types and forms of sugar in bowls and wooden spoons on white background

Myth: All sugar is bad for you

Eating less sugar can be great if you’re talking about ‘added sugar’. Added sugar is very different from sugars in your food, and added sugar is when you add more sugar to make it more sweetened. For example, you add sugar to your cookie dough or while making your favourite cake. 

Meanwhile, natural sugar can be found in your food naturally, such as in fruits or in carbohydrates that you take in. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in natural sugar assist in counteracting some of the drawbacks of its high sugar level. For example, fruits not only taste like sweets, but they also can help the body to absorb glucose at a slower rate.

Colorful fruits tasty fresh ripe juicy on a white desk

Myth: Taking sugar alternatives is way better for you

You might think that natural sugar is always good for you, but you must understand that anything sweet is still considered sugar to your body. Your body cannot distinguish between table sugar, honey, and agave nectar; it only detects sugar molecules made up of one monosaccharide.

Even though natural sugar is not bad, you still need to control its amount, especially if you have diabetes. For example, despite being a healthy fruit, bananas are high in both carbs and sugar, the main nutrients that raise blood sugar levels.

Stevia with sugar on a brown bowl over white background

Myth: Natural sweeteners in the store are always healthy to eat, and it is organic

As we mentioned in the previous point, your body will think of it as sugar even if it sounds organic. Be mindful of consuming it.

Sometimes manufacturers can be very sneaky too with the ingredients. For example, they may label their product as organic, but they may add artificial sweeteners to it. Moreover, they sometimes replaced the ingredients’ names with some scientific names that you might need to recognize at first glance.

Be careful when choosing your product if you are concerned with its sugar content, and look out for sugars that are concealed in the ingredient lists. A few crucial elements to look for are brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, inverted sugar, malt sugar, molasses, raw sugar, and sugar molecules ending in “ose”. The truth is that all added sugars are the same, so be careful to pay attention to the ingredient list even though it can appear like honey is a better sugar than high-fructose corn syrup.

In conclusion, sugar alternatives derived from natural food are likely safe. However, it would be best if you were mindful of the amount of consumption. Make sure products labelled organic are organic without added sweeteners, and ensure the sugar content inside your fruit is not too high, which may increase your blood sugar level.


  1. Alexander, H. (2021, November 12). What’s the difference between natural and refined sugars? MD Anderson Cancer Center.–what-s-the-difference.h00-159465579.html
  2. Cassetty, R. S. D. (2018, April 6). What is healthier: natural sugar, table sugar or artificial sweeteners? NBC News.
  3. Chear. (2021, February 26). Understanding Natural Versus Added Sugars.
  4. Taylor, M. (2020, August 19). 8 Big Lies About Sugar We Should Unlearn. Healthline.
  5. Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes. (2020, October 8). Mayo Clinic.
Dr Awam

Dr Awam

Here for your weekly tips to better awareness and caring for your health and safety!

All credits goes to Awam Clinic health promotion team.

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