Tom was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 65. He had always loved a good dessert and drank his coffee with sugar. His daughter, Maya, used to bake him the best chocolate chip cookies and he always kept donuts on hand to offer to visitors who stopped by for a cup of coffee. For Tom, a diabetes diagnosis was devastating. His doctor referred him to a dietician to change the way he ate. The dietician suggested that he try sugar substitutes in his coffee and said that Maya could even bake cookies with an artificial sweetener. Like many people with a new diabetes diagnosis, Tom didnt know much about sugar substitutes or how to use them.

Types of Sugar Substitutes

Using a sugar substitute can help your aging relative to control their cravings for sweets. They contain fewer carbohydrates. In addition, most of them arent broken down during the digestive process, so they pass through the body without adding calories.

The FDA has approved six kinds of artificial sweeteners:

  • Aspartame (this is the only kind of artificial sweetener that can be broken down by the body).
  • Acesulfame potassium.
  • Saccharin.
  • Neotame.
  • Sucralose.
  • Advantame.

Artificial sweeteners are sold under many different brand names, so youll have to look at the label to determine which kind of sweetener youre purchasing.

How to Use Sugar Substitutes

Using sugar substitutes can be a little tricky. In general, they are about 100 times sweeter than sugar. That means youll need to use far less of a substitute than you would sugar, so recipes will need to be altered to account for the difference. Here are some things you should know about using artificial sweeteners:

  • Sugar caramelizes when it is heated, so it makes foods darker in color. Baked goods made with artificial sweeteners will have a lighter color, so be careful not to overbake them trying to achieve the color youre used to.
  • For baking, choose sweeteners that are heat stable. Aspartame loses its sweetness when exposed to heat, so it should not be used for baking. Saccharin and sucralose can be used for baking.
  • Baked goods made with artificial sweetener wont keep as long.
  • The texture and taste of foods made with artificial sweeteners may be different.

An elderly care provider can help your aging relative to use artificial sweeteners. An elderly care provider can remind the older adult to use an artificial sweetener instead of real sugar in their coffee or other beverages. If the senior would like to try baking with a sugar substitute, an elderly care provider can help them to figure out how much sweetener to use. Or, if the senior wants a full-sugar treat, an elderly care provider can help them to track the foods they have eaten and make up the excess sugar in the foods they eat for the rest of the day.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in St. Louis Park, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.