AADE: Edibles Update

One final update from the AADE Annual Meeting a few weeks ago: there are always lots of folks pushing special “diabetic-friendly” foods at these events. I usually steer clear of that kind of stuff in favor of “real food.” But then again, I have occasionally discovered some interesting edibles I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. This year:

* Solo GI Bars — these seem to be the newest thing in “low-glycemic” nutrition bars, marketed with theSolo_bar tagline “spike your taste buds, not your blood sugar” (athletes eat ‘em, too!). They pack in about 26g of carb, 17g of which is sugar, plus 4g of fiber and 11g of protein per bar — which doesn’t sound all that low-GI. But the company did win the “Golden Egg Award” a few years ago for “The Most Innovative Product from The Specialty Nutrition Group.” Apparently they achieve slow absorption with a magic mix of good carbs, proteins and dietary fats. All I can tell you from personal experience is that they taste pretty damn good. I tried the Chocolate Charger, Berry Bliss, and Peanut Power flavors.

* NutriSoda — the new zero-sugar, zero-aspartame, zero-sodium and zero-to-few-calories soda that “appeals to fashion, foodie and health-conscious consumers.” This must have something to do with theNutrisoda_cans_3 aromatherapy-ish branding, i.e. colorful cans with flavor names like Radiant, Calm, and Immune, not to mention Slender and Energize. When it comes to diabetes, the company is making some pretty big claims: NutriSoda can help improve insulin resistance, balance blood glucose and aid in carb metabolism, aid in tissue healing, and reduce oxidative inflammation. Wow!! I can’t really vouch for those powers, except to note that NutriSoda sponsors Type 1 triathlete Jay Hewitt, who I know is a good guy and stands behind his choice of sponsors. Anyway, with all the flack about diet sodas virtually killing us, I’m glad to know there’s a healthy(ier) alternative to be had. Vanilla_stevia_2

* Stevia, in many forms — a company called SweetLeaf was showcasing this all-natural sweetener in packet form, tabs, clear liquid for baking, and even as concentrate in dropper-bottles in flavors like English toffee, Valencia orange, and chocolate raspberry. To be fair, another company called NuNaturals I ran into a while back offers similar products, and they’ve been showering me with samples (thank you!) I’ve gotten pretty hooked on their Vanilla Stevia Extract. Mainstream chemical sugar substitutes? I will never go back.

* Walden Farms caramel dip – no carbs, no fat, no calories… is it just a hologram, or what? In fact, I was so entranced trying to detect an actual taste that I got scolded for double-dipping my apple slice. (Oops! It was just that I didn’t want to eat yet another piece of apple without dosing anyCaramel_dip insulin…) They also have marshmallow and chocolate dips. Made with Splenda, some cellulose materials, and xantham gum. But the flavoring is all-natural. You know what? Some days I’m so desperate for caramel that I could eat several tubs of this stuff. Might go well with my usual “pretend” dessert, cool whip “lube” (Thanks alot, Wired!)

Seriously, what do YOU do when you just have to have something sweet? Eat the real thing and attempt to dose, or opt for some fave fake-o pretending-it’s-actually-dessert solution? Inquiring PWDs want to know…


16 Responses

  1. Maureen
    Maureen September 4, 2007 at 7:23 am | | Reply

    Amy, When my son was diagnosed at 7, we met with a nutritionist who suggested smaller versions of the “rel thing”. He gets fun pak peanut m & m’s (12g), Hershey’s miniatures (5g each) or the 17 g size Rice Krispie Treats. She told us that amaller portions of the real stuff is better than the “fake” stuff with the sugar alcohols and fillers…He’s almost 12 now and in very good control.

  2. RichW
    RichW September 4, 2007 at 9:39 am | | Reply

    I agree with Maureen. Smaller quantities of the real thing taste better and are better for us.

  3. Jillian
    Jillian September 4, 2007 at 12:16 pm | | Reply


    Thanks for the luck for my looming CGMS study. I am not yet nervous, but I am sure tomorrow will be a different story.

    Now about your post I agree with the other comments and Marvin Gaye, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”.

  4. Travis
    Travis September 4, 2007 at 12:23 pm | | Reply

    Hi Amy,
    thank you for your friendly comment. I’ve been reading here semi-regularly for some time actually. After hashing out the perpetual argument between the health defects of high fructose corn syrup versus (more) artificial sweeteners, it will be interesting to check out these ‘natural’ products.

  5. gry2yng
    gry2yng September 4, 2007 at 3:30 pm | | Reply

    Small amounts of the real thing is the way I go. Must admit I am a diet coke adict, but when it comes to chocolate, cake and cookies, I will take no substitute. The little Godiva Bars they sell at Barnes & Noble are about 22g for one bar and the nutritional information on the package is for the WHOLE bar. Makes me so made when a chocolate bar is 1.5 servings. RIGHT! The point is for me to eat the entire bar, so why make me do the math based on that extra 1/2 serving.

  6. Sarah
    Sarah September 4, 2007 at 3:35 pm | | Reply

    I am a fan of the real thing for the most part. However, my ever-experimenting husband likes to try Splenda in his baking and so far, thumbs up on that. I’ll do sf dark chocolate because it doesn’t detract from the chocolate so much, but all other chocolate must be normal. Diet coke, sf syrup (eh), sf Torani syrups, and lower fat products where possible are my only other concessions.

  7. Refluxamine
    Refluxamine September 4, 2007 at 4:30 pm | | Reply

    Wow, this is some really great info.

  8. Chrissie in Belgium
    Chrissie in Belgium September 4, 2007 at 10:05 pm | | Reply

    It hits me with shock everytime I see how food is pushed on consumers in the US. The “diabetic foods” in Europe, or at least Belgium and Sweden, are practically non-existant. I prefer it this way. Eat natural foods.

  9. gry2yng
    gry2yng September 5, 2007 at 11:42 am | | Reply

    I wonder how much of the “sugar free” craze here is because people thing “diabetics can’t have sugar”, but they don’t realize that it is all sugar. By that I mean that bread does the same thing to your body as chocolate, it is just void of nutritional value. Same problem non-diabetics have.

  10. WC
    WC September 5, 2007 at 8:17 pm | | Reply

    Sugar free goodies usually wreak havoc on my digestive tract – look out below! Stevia doesn’t taste sweet to me at all, I’ve tried it as an alternative to Equal in my coffee and gave up.

    In my opinion, it’s all about moderation. For example, I eat real dark chocolate, but only a few squares. The fake stuff just doesn’t satisfy, and it usually makes me regret having eaten it in about 15 minutes.

  11. Lauren
    Lauren September 6, 2007 at 12:14 am | | Reply

    Before my type 1 dx I had the biggest sweet tooth in the civilized world. I still do, but now I obviously have to curb the impulse more strictly than before. I’ve never been one to eat chocolate or cookies, but I love pure-sugar fruity things like jelly beans and cherry sours.

    I reward myself with sugar now and then, although all the behavior modification books in the world recommend against edible rewards. For example when/if I’m accepted to medical school I will probably eat a real cupcake with extra-gooey frosting, or something with a similar off-the-chart glycemic index. However, the post-prandial ramifications are never fun, because I either overshoot or undershoot when I’m dosing for a forbidden treat … maybe that’s karma.

  12. Angela
    Angela September 7, 2007 at 4:05 am | | Reply

    The real thing. I can only taste the chemicals in artificial “sweeteners”, and my body does not react well to fake food at all. Plus, I’ve recently discovered that if I dose myself about twenty minutes ahead of time, I can avoid the worst of the BG spike. Not that I often force myself to wait twenty minutes to go after that cookie….

  13. carol warnock
    carol warnock September 7, 2007 at 4:45 pm | | Reply

    I, too agree with having the real thing, Belgian dark chocolate,etc. and rewarding oneself with moderation.

  14. Sara
    Sara September 7, 2007 at 5:52 pm | | Reply

    Amy, thanks for yet another interesting and thought-provoking entry. I am a frequent lurker, but I just had to chime in on this one.

    As a type 1 for several years, I must say that I find “Nutrisoda” to be downright scary.

    For starters, a lot of their drinks contain Chromium – which I’ve found does indeed help to increase insulin sensitivity. In a VERY dramatic fashion (in my experience). I’m talking some really, really scary lows. And it doesn’t take much! In other words, while chromium supplements may be helpful, most people taking insulin would probably want to work with a doctor before taking them – and shouldn’t take them sporadically.

    And while it’s true that their drinks don’t contain aspartame, it appears that they DO contain plenty of sucralose, AKA Splenda. I remember when companies promoted their use of aspartame instead of saccharin, because it was considered “safe”. How long will it be before they find a problem with sucralose? Just because something has FDA approval doesn’t mean it’s been thoroughly tested.

    Me, I stick with the real stuff. I find evaporated cane juice (AKA unrefined sugar) doesn’t cause big spikes, especially when I bolus ahead of time.

  15. Jean Gibbs
    Jean Gibbs September 7, 2007 at 6:20 pm | | Reply

    The real thing, is good on occasion. I have type II and kidney disease i’m limited with sugar,sodium,fat,& protein.Splenda & equal sf syrup,sf jelly And juiceskeep me level. I’d like info on sugar alcohol. Will try stevia, thanks for the suggestion.

  16. susan gorbaty
    susan gorbaty September 9, 2007 at 11:55 am | | Reply

    I have always believed that the natural forms of foods, including baked goods, ice cream and dark chocolate are better tasting and preferable to any artificially sweetened products. My only concession is an occasional diet soda. My diabetes has been well controlled for 3 plus years.I eat what I always ate but in much smaller amounts.

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