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Type 1 Diabetes: No More Sugarfree

People with Type 1 diabetes, especially children, do not need sugar free candy for Easter (or whenever). Sugar free usually has carbs and ANY carbs need insulin. The real deal is better tasting anyway.

Compare the following nutritional information for two of the same candies, one sugar free and one that is not.

Russell Stover SUGARFREE Toffee Squares

Nutrition Facts Calories 210(878 kJ)  % DV 1 Total Fat 16g 25% Sat. Fat 9g 45% Trans Fat 0g   Cholesterol25mg 8% Sodium 140mg 6% Total Carbs.24g 8% Dietary Fiber 1g 4% Sugars 0g   Protein 2g   Calcium 0mg

Russell Stover NOT sugar free REGULAR toffee squares

Nutrition Facts Calories 250(1045 kJ)  % DV 1 Total Fat 16g 25% Sat. Fat 10g 50% Trans Fat 0g   Cholesterol20mg 7% Sodium 190mg 8% Total Carbs.24g 8% Dietary Fiber 1g 4% Sugars 23g   Protein 2g   Calcium40mg

As you can plainly see, the carb count is EXACTLY THE SAME  for both candies. Let me take a minute and explain why this is important. People with Type 1 diabetes count carbs to determine how much insulin they are required to take. We do not count sugars. We count carbs. Carbs are just one set of numbers that are constanly running through our minds.

Let me use my son as example to explain how his intake of carbs dictates the amount of insulin he receives. For breakfast my son gets 1 unit of insulin for every 21 carbs that he eats. So if he eats a bowl of Frosted Flakes, 28 carbs, and a mug of hot cocoa, 10 carbs, he will have eaten 38 carbs, so he will get just a little under 2 units of insulin for that meal.

Now lets look at the candy’s nutritional information above. My son gets 1 unit of insulin for 25 carbs for his afternoon snack. Let’s say today he asks for a piece of candy. Normally I don’t give any candy as a snack but for this fake example I am happy to give him candy. If my son eats one piece of SUGARFREE candy from above he would have eaten 24 carbs and would get .95 units of insulin. If my son eats one piece of NON sugarfree REGULAR candy from above he would have eaten 24 carbs and would still get .95 units of insulin.

See what I mean? A carb is a carb is a carb is what we say in this house. We have to cover carbs with insulin. Read the labels you will be surprised.

So this Easter, or Halloween, or Christmas, or Arbor Day, or whatever day, PLEASE do not give any child with Type 1 diabetes sugar free candy. Now you know it is not any better, it is not a free candy, it still needs to be covered with insulin. And if you are truthful, you know in your heart, the real deal takes much much better.


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