It is difficult to find an Indian who does not saviour a cup of tea or coffee with their favourite biscuits. People often lure their kids into having their cup of milk with the promise that they will get cream biscuits to dip in it. Many people have become health conscious and vigilant about the ingredients before consuming any packed foods. The main ingredients of biscuits are refined flour, sugar, and salt, and each of these ranks among the top on the list of unhealthy food choices and can act as hurdles when trying to manage diabetes. This raises the question: should people eat biscuits daily?
Biscuit manufacturing companies have realized that their customers prefer healthy options now, and this has led to the shelves in the supermarket overflowing with “zero sugar”, “wholewheat”, “digestive”, and similar so-called “healthy” biscuits.
This article looks at the health benefits of sugar-free biscuits for people with diabetes.
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Regular biscuits contain sugar as the sweetening agent, whereas sugar substitutes such as artificial sweeteners, jaggery, or honey sweeten sugar-free biscuits. These substitutes are low-calorie and do not raise random blood sugar levels as much as traditional sugar.
However, people with diabetes should avoid biscuits with honey and jaggery because the glucose content is still high. And unlike popular belief, dietitians do not recommend honey and jaggery for people with diabetes.
Diet plays a crucial role in diabetes control. Foods with a high glycemic index (GI) are not recommended for people with diabetes because they cause spikes in blood sugar levels and usually have a high-fat content.
Though sugar-free biscuits contain no sugar, they still have refined flour, a high GI food, and no fibre, making them harmful for individuals with diabetes. Additionally, biscuits have salt that raises blood pressure.
Sugar-free biscuits contain artificial sweeteners that can alter the metabolism and cause digestive problems and other side effects.
If people with diabetes crave biscuits, they should only have one or two sugar-free biscuits twice or thrice a week.
To cater to a health-conscious population, leading biscuit brands have launched low-calorie, wholewheat, fibre-rich oats, ragi biscuits and cookies. These digestive biscuits have whole grains, more fibre, and low to nil sugar, thus making them a better choice for people with diabetes.
However, these biscuits are not as healthy as advertised because the whole grains make for only a small percentage, and refined flour is still used.
Protein-rich biscuits like Threptin are better options for diabetes because they have a high protein content and low calories. Sugar-free variants are available as well.
Starting the day with tea and biscuits is not a good choice, no matter how much one cherishes it. Alternatively, people can roast 1 or 2 handfuls of makhana (fox nuts) instead. People will undoubtedly miss their favourite cookies, but gradually the cravings will reduce.
Always being watchful of what one eats can get overwhelming for people living with diabetes. People can occasionally enjoy biscuits with many sugar-free, high-fibre, and whole-grain options. However, one must be watchful of the small prints on the label and look out for sugar substitutes and calorie count to prevent oneself from falling prey to the smart packaging. People can learn to read these labels with the help of a nutrition expert and make wise food choices to manage their diabetes. Also read about the diabetes reversal
Should people with diabetes avoid biscuits?
Biscuits are made from refined flour (maida) with a high glycemic index and thus are not considered good for diabetes. They have high carbohydrate content and minimal fibre, which causes blood sugar spikes. Moreover, biscuits contain sugar and salt and have preservatives and artificial flavours.
Can people with diabetes eat sugar-free biscuits?
Sugar-free biscuits contain artificial sweeteners, honey, or jaggery for sweetness. Artificial sweeteners such as plant-based Stevia do not cause a spike in blood sugar levels and have very few calories. Still, sugar-free biscuits contain high amounts of these sweeteners, which can adversely affect the body’s metabolism and cause digestive issues. Sugar-free biscuits containing honey or jaggery are only considered slightly better than regular biscuits.
Thus, avoiding sugar-free biscuits regularly is better, though one can enjoy them occasionally.
Which kind of biscuits is a healthier option?
Biscuits with a low-calorie count, made from whole grains instead of maida, are considered a healthier option. They have higher fibre content and keep people full for a longer time.