November is National Diabetes Month—a time to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 30.3 million Americans, (9.4 % of the United States population) have diabetes. And another 84.1 million people have “prediabetes,” a condition that often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.
The report is disheartening because it shows that the rate of new cases of diagnosed diabetes remains steady, and that the disease continues to represent a growing health problem that shows no signs of slowing down.
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US, and if unmanaged can lead to serious health problems, including premature death, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputation.
You may have heard of some referred to as a “brittle diabetic”—meaning blood sugar spikes and falls and is difficult to control. Too high a tested sugar rate can lead to the complications listed above; too low can lead to comma or worse. Diabetes can be a challenging disease to control.
Sugar in any form should be eliminated from the diet all together, and carbohydrates that convert to sugar in the system must be seriously monitored if a diabetic wants to live a “comfortable” life. Weight gain or loss, diabetic nerve pain, a paralysis symptom when the blood sugar tanks…these are all things that make a diabetic feel “foggy” or “unwell” at any given time. Taking the right dosage of insulin, even with an insulin pump, requires constant attention. Only those who live with it can know.
GreenAcres customers with diabetes read copious food labels whenever they come into the store. And they often ask, “Do you have any desserts strictly for diabetics?”
There’s a product on our shelves at GreenAcres that you might like to try. It’s called Swerve, a natural-sweetener, replacement sugar that customers who are watching their waistlines and blood sugar levels are becoming quite keen on.
There’s science and testing behind it, and there’s no bitter aftertaste that is often associated with other natural or artificial sweeteners. The single thing that makes Swerve so user friendly in a recipe is that it calibrates cup-for-cup with conventional sugar. If your recipe calls for one cup of sugar, you simply use one cup of Swerve. No conversion charts necessary.
If you go to the Swerve website, you learn the “sweet” in Swerve is a combination of erythritol and oligosaccharides—two difficult-to-pronounce words that provide for excellent baking and cooking functionality and do not contribute to digestive upset.
What’s more Swerve allows for caramelization, browning and easy dissolving, which makes its use in all kinds of recipes a snap.
Back to the science a minute. Erythritol, the Swerve website says, “is made by fermenting glucose with Moniliella pollinis, a natural microorganism found in honeycomb. It also occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables like melons, grapes, asparagus and fermented foods. It is classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as “a zero-calorie, 4-carbon sugar alcohol that does not affect blood glucose.”
At GreenAcres we’re cautious to confirm that diabetics and others who need to watch their blood sugar can go ahead and use Swerve as a safe sugar substitute. It’s always best to consult your health professional before experimenting with new foods.
Every body is different; so we say simply that Swerve is “diabetic friendly.” The only way customers can actually be sure it won’t affect blood sugar is to try it.
Oligosaccharides, on the other hand, are “sweet, non-digestible carbohydrates extracted from fruit and vegetable sources, similar to fiber that can help stimulate beneficial bacteria in the large intestine.” Serve does not contain preservatives, MSG or any other toxic material.
When you think that the average American consumes 150-170 pounds of sugar a year, a zero-calorie, all natural sweetener looks like nirvana. The FDA reports, “For every American who eats only 5 pounds of sugar each year, there is one who eats about 295 pounds per year. That is a LOT of sugar – especially when you compare it to how much we used to consume in the past. Less than 100 years ago, the average intake of sugar was only about 4 pounds per person per year. Not 150, 170, or 295 pounds!”
To give you a visual of all that sugar, imagine 34 five-pound bags of sugar lined up before you. That’s 170 pounds of refined sugar! For those who continue to drink soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, cookies, candy and more, that’s equivalent of consuming 60 teaspoons of sugar in a 24-hour period. Ooooweee! That’s a lot of sweet.
Since Thanksgiving is coming up, we post this Swerve recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole. If you give it a try, let us know how it comes out. And to give you an extra incentive to try Swerve, it’s on sale now in the GA November newsletter for $6.69 a 12 oz. bag.
Sweet Potato Casserole
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup Swerve Sweetener
- 1 egg white beaten
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- or a spicier granola add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sweet Potato Caserole
- 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes or Yams
- 1 cup Swerve Sweetener
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Combine oats, Swerve sweetener, egg whites and pecans. Spread mixture on a large cookie sheet coated with cooking spray or parchment paper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes stirring mixture every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
- Cool completely.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (except granola).
- Pour into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle Pecan Granola liberally over the top of casserole.
- Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes.