It was centuries ago when the Mayans and the Aztecs first figured out the idle yet fun task of chewing gum. While we have long moved on from their idea of chewing the resin from tree bark — chewing a piece of gum still remains one fun endeavor.
Studies have found that chewing gum can have a range of benefits, including:
However, you might remember your dentist telling you that chewing too much gum can negatively impact your teeth. In fact, chewing sugar-sweetened gum has been linked with tooth decay.
The best alternative: Sugar-free gums, of course. Not only can sugar-free gums offer tooth protection, but be a remedy for sweet cravings that diabetics experience.
Sugar cravings are all too common. Imbalances in blood glucose levels can often lead to sugar cravings. As diabetics need to avoid almost all sweet treats, it’s no surprise that they might get such cravings from time to time.
In this article, we explore some of the best sugar-free gums for diabetics, and how they may help them. Additionally, we explore some of their potential downsides.
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Different sugar-free gums contain different ingredients, with some having artificial sweeteners while others containing natural ones.
Two common sweeteners in sugar-free gums include aspartame and xylitol.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has controversially been linked with weight gain, along with an increased risk of diabetes, stroke, and even cancer.
While most of these claims lack substantial evidence, dentists and physicians always recommend that you choose sugar-free gums with xylitol – which is a sugar alcohol containing 40 percent fewer calories than table sugar.
Typically obtained from birch trees, this natural sweeter has been shown to have a near-zero influence on insulin levels, making it great for diabetics. Additionally, it can prevent tooth decay and may even improve digestive health.
While chewing naturally-sweetened gums in moderation is generally considered safe, some people may need to avoid them.
In general, chewing xylitol-sweetened gums is considered safe for most people.
However, those who cannot tolerate FODMAPs may choose gums sweetened with stevia – another common low-calorie sweetener obtained from the plant S. rebaudiana (sweetleaf).