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Losing Weight to Improve Glucose Control – Without Compromising Taste

Sweetness in Practice Contributor - Mar 7, 2016
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For many who are working hard to fight against insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, there can be a general belief that taste and enjoyment of food may be compromised. These patients may be under the impression that they can never enjoy a cookie or other sweet-tasting treat again. While it’s true that weight loss can play a key role in improving glucose control, we can aim to help our patients achieve weight loss while eating foods that taste great.

Research has shown that people with type 2 diabetes who attain a modest weight loss of five to ten percent of total body weight can improve cardiovascular risk factors including blood glucose regulation, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.1 Study participants who achieved greater weight loss realized even more significant improvements in health.2 Perhaps if we can show our patients how to reduce overall calories without sacrificing taste, we can better support sustainable dietary changes to help improve glucose levels.

Added sugars can be a source of excess calories in the diet.3 These sugars may appear in foods our patients might not expect, like condiments, bread products, and yogurt. However, sugar sweetened beverages, specifically, soft drinks, fruit drinks and sport and energy drinks, are the most significant source of added sugars in the U.S. for people over two years of age.4 Research suggests consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, notably soda, leads to weight gain and likely the risk of diabetes, fractures and dental caries.5 Indeed, one change in the newly released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the recommendation to reduce consumption of added sugars to less than 10 percent of total daily calories.6 For a person with an intake of 2000 calories per day, this means less than 200 calories (50 grams) of added sugar should be consumed. For someone taking in 1500 calories daily, it equates to less than 150 calories, or about 38 grams, of added sugar per day. To put this in perspective, one 20-ounce regular cola may contain a whopping 65 – 69 grams of sugar. Regularly consuming more sugar than recommended may pave the way for excess weight gain and its associated health risks.

As healthcare professionals, a general recommendation to simply avoid added sugars in the diet may not be enough. Rather, we need to provide our patients with practical suggestions and resources that show how to cut back on sugar, without sacrificing flavor. In the case of a patient with a strong sweet tooth, removing all added sugars from the diet may be impractical and could lead to limited compliance. However, showing the same patient how to simply swap out sugary choices for a lower sugar alternative may yield much better results. For instance, a sweet tea drinker can swap one eight ounce serving (80 calories and 23 grams of sugar) for a Peach Tea made with Truvía® Natural Sweetener to cut calories by 50 percent and sugar by 60 percent (the Peach Tea recipe made with Truvía® Natural Sweetener contains 40 calories and 9 grams of sugar). The savings may sound small, but for someone who drinks eight ounces of sweet tea every day, this swap could shave off almost 15,000 calories and over 5,000 grams of sugar in one year.

By reviewing your patient’s typical daily food intake, you can help them identify sources of added sugar and suggest alternatives. When possible, swapping sources of added sugar for a zero-calorie alternative, such as Truvía® Natural Sweetener, can be a great way to preserve taste when working to decrease calories and added sugars. For baked goods, Truvía® Cane Sugar Blend or Truvía® Brown Sugar Blend can be substituted for sugar in your favorite recipes; both bake and brown just like sugar and brown sugar and provide 75% fewer calories per serving than sugar. For those who sprinkle sugar on top of cereal or into beverages, swapping granulated sugar for a Truvía® Natural Sweetener packet is a zero-calorie alternative to naturally sweeten foods and drinks. Patients can keep Truvía® sweetener packets handy in their car or at the office so it’s readily available.

National Nutrition Month is a great time to refocus wellness goals and work on improving overall health. Some of our patients may have begun turning to food or drink that contain added sugar for comfort – to help cope with a stressful day or for an afternoon pick me up. Fortunately, by encouraging our patients to implement a few simple changes to reduce added sugars without compromising taste, we can help our patients work to manage body weight, which in turn, may reduce the risk of serious health issues. And, the best part is, our patients can still enjoy the foods they love and the flavors they desire.

To learn more about how Truvía® sweetener can play a useful role in a healthy balanced diet, click here. »


References:

  1. Wing R, et al. Benefits of Modest Weight Loss in Improving Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care July 2011 vol. 34no. 7 1481-14863. Accessed on 25 Feb 2016. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC312018...

  2. Wing R, et al.

  3. American Heart Association. Added Sugars. 9 Feb 2016. Accessed on 25 Feb 2016. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Health...

  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Accessed on 25 Feb 2016. Retrieved from http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guideline...

  5. Vasanti, Malik, et al. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Aug; 84(2): 274–288. Accessed on 25 Feb 2016. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC321083...

  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture.