The Diabetologist answers

Sergio Leotta

Send your questions about Rigoni di Asiago products to Dr Sergio Leotta. Every week a question of general interest will be selected, and an answer to it will be published!

 

Dr Sergio Leotta, a specialist diabetologist, is the author of the “card” on EBM Online on the subject of nutrition and diabetes. He is the director of the Diabetology and Metabolic Disease Unit of the Pertini Hospital in Rome. As a member of the AMD national council, he coordinates its Working Group on Nutrition and Diabetes. He teaches at the graduate school of the Institute of Food Sciences of the La Sapienza University.

He also collaborates with the nutritionists

Santina Abbruzzese, Maria Altomare, and Silvia Carletti, from the “Diet, Diabetes, and Metabolic Disease Unit” of the Sandro Pertini Hospital in Rome.

The answers to your questions

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Can diabetics use jams as part of their regular diet?
The literature for the healthy population suggests that sweet products intended to be spread on bread or on toast – such as jams, fruit preserves, honey, and spreads – should be used in limited quantities.
In particular, the recommended amount for honey and jams is approximately 20 grams (about 4 teaspoons).
For people with diabetes and good glycemic control, a small amount of sucrose and other added sugars (no more than 10% of the total caloric content) can be included as part of their regular diet.
The glycemic index (GI) (the figure that indicates the glycemic response of food products) of jams with added sugar is 65, while the GI of jams without added sugar is 30. The lower GI of jams without sugar is due to the fact that in this case the sucrose is replaced by fructose.
The lower glycemic index of fructose is linked to its metabolism – that is, to how the fructose is converted in the liver. Although, on the one hand, there are favorable effects, on the other hand there are also some negative ones. When the levels of fructose that reach the liver are too high (for example, when an excessive amount of fructose is added to foods), there is the risk that the liver will produce an excess of triglycerides – which, as is well known, are one of the causes of the development of cardiovascular disease. Watch out for foods that are labelled as being “for diabetics” and that contains fructose as a “sugar substitute”, and do not trust uncritically biscuits, ice-creams, or jams that are “for diabetics”. Instead, learn to read the labels that list the ingredients and the nutritional values. This way, you can customize your diet by using almost any food in the proper manner.
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