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Mar 23, 2009 11:08 AM

Sugar-free please!

Need to find place with great sugar-free dessert options. Father-in-law can't even eat Splenda as a substitute. He doesn't often get to try any fun desserts b/c of he diabetes so I'm hoping NYC can knock his socks off. Please Help!

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  1. Babycakes makes desserts sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar substitutes.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      I've wriiten this post before, but guess it can't be said enough. Algave, along with other "natural" substitues for sugar is not any better for diabetics than sugar. Although it may not cause as sudden a spike in blood sugar, it will raise blood sugars and should be avoided by diabetics. Even sweeteners like malitol- used in many sugar-free products, increase blood sugar and need to be eaten sparingly. Splenda falls into this category- which means that your Dad can eat products made with SPlenda in moderation. (I've been a diabetic since I was a young kid and do a lot of counselling of newly diagnosed diabetics (I once spoke with a recently diagnosed diabetic who was eating as many as 2 slices a day of apple pie made with Splenda and couldn't understand why his blood sugars were so high. He didn't realize that Splenda-not to mention the fruit and the dough- would raise his blood sugars- He figured thatbecause it was "sugar free" he could eat all he wanted.)
      Your Dad should talk to a nutritionist to get a betteridea of how he can incorporate these ifoods into his diet.

      1. re: Ann900

        Right - I know agave nectar won't worked for him. Neither does Splenda - trust me. I just wasn't sure if there was any place that specialized in this type of dessert. If not - thats ok too, just wanted to check.

        1. re: emi683

          I think it would help posters if you can specify what he can eat -- ie. Nutra Sweet, fruit, stevia, etc.

    2. He can eat substitutes like Sweet & Low - but no Splenda. Haven't tried stevia or nutra that I know of. He can eat fruit in raw form - but thats it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: emi683

        There are quite a few sugarless desserts at Cafe Lalo on the UWS. The menu doesn't stipulate what the sugar substitutions are. So I'd suggest calling them. I've had regular desserts there, and it's been pretty good.

      2. emi, junior's makes a "diabetic friendly" sugar free cheesecake. cheesecake is usually a better dessert for diabetics to eat than regular cake, pie or cookies, since it contains fewer simple carbohydrates and digests more slowly.

        also... consider a savory dessert. a number of places in town have amazing cheese plates. (my current favorite is casellula.


        if junior's uses a type of sugar substitute that your FIL can't have, you might consider making a sugar free cheesecake at home. it's surprisingly not too difficult.

        or... you could make lassi, a yogurt drink, another slow-digesting, high protein, desserty type of food. sweeten with whatever artificial sweetener your FIL is able to have. there are probably some fruits that are off limits to him, but berries might be ok. if so, you could blend some berries into the yogurt for a berry lassi (or smoothie, really).

        or... you could make fried, spiced nuts at home. just as easy.

        good luck. cool that you're so thoughtful!

        6 Replies
        1. re: cimui

          Junior's "sugar free" cheesecake is made with maltitol and contains a frighteningly high amount of carbs- actually dasngeous for diabetics. (I was once at a food show where Alan Schwartz-one of theowner's of Junior's - was confronted by a nutritionist who demanded (politely) that Junior's stop marketing this cake to diabetics because it was so bad for them. His lame reply was "I thought that it was okay for diabetics.")
          The moralis that just because a company markets products as okay for diabetics doesn't mean it's so.

          1. re: Ann900

            yikes -- frightening. do you know of any truly diabetic friendly cheesecakes in town? my SO's father is also diabetic. i've always made my own for him, but would love to find a (more attractive) commercial version.

            1. re: cimui

              Eileen's on Cleveland Place used to make theirs with aspartame.

              1. re: meatme

                I'm surprised to hear that Eileens- or any place else- would use aspartame in their desserts. It is not usually used in baked goods because it breaks down when heated and loses most of it's sweet taste.
                Generally, I've found that sugar free desserts are a mine field for diabetics - because many of the sweetners that are esed-maltitol, fruit juices, etc. cause increases in blood sugar. As well, diabetics often think that if a dessert is sugar free it won't effect their blood sugars and they don't need to factor it into their meal plan-forgeting that if it's a dessert, sugar free or not, it will have a lot of carbs.
                Frankly, for a diabetic on insulin, I've found it easier to go with a small portion (split an order with a friend, for example) of regular desserts if I'm eating out and crave dessert and adjust my insulin as necessary. As long as it's not a regular thing (I may do this once eevery couple of months) it should be doable.

                1. re: Ann900

                  What they said they did when I asked several years ago was bake the cake, stir in the aspartame, re-form it, and chill. You can call to check their current ingredients and process.

        2. As a diabetic who takes insulin, I have no problem with Juniors SUGAR FREE LOW CARB PLAIN CHEESECAKE Made with Xylitol, all natural sweetner.
          Can be purchased at Grand Central Station store - lower concouse

          Andre's Hungarian place on Second Ave.and 85th Street
          makes a yummy sugar-free apple strudel
          and great sugar-free rugelach.
          Sorry, I have no idea what sugar substitute they use.
          Call and ask. 212 327-1105

          6 Replies
            1. re: emi683

              For me, a type 1 diabetic on the pump, I find it's best to stick w/ all-natural ingredients. Let's face it, just about everything from fat & proteins to fruit and carbs, affects BG. The easiest way to manage BG is to know what's in your food (skip the synthetics).

              That said, I like the idea of a cheese plate. Cheesecake has always been easier for me to bolus for also. An interesting brunch item they have at Prune is a fresh ricotta topped with fresh raspberries, dried figs, honey and pine nuts. I'd skip the figs and get a light drizzle of the honey... but something like this would be good. As would yogurt and fresh fruit.

              Custards, like creme brulee, are a bit easier to take also. They tend to be lower in sugar. Just some thoughts. :)

              Is he Type 1 or Type 2? If he is Type 1, and is interested in going out for dessert he can likely have just about anything in moderation, as long as boluses for it.

            2. re: pbjluver

              Xylitol is a sugar alcohol made from fruit fiber. It is absorbed more slowly than processed sugar, but increases blood sugars-just not s rapidly as sugar. Junior's cheesecake is a particular sore point with me, not just because of the sweetener used but also because of the high fat content- also bad for all diabetics.

              Companies that make these products- like Junior's- like to post nutritional info worded like "useable carbohydrates- " a misleading way of claiming the product has up to half the carbs it actually contains. The marketing mantra is that because these products don't cause sudden spikes in blood sugars diabetics don't have to factor all of the carb content into their meal plans.(This is exactly the point the nutrionist who took on the Junior's guy was making- and a huge concern of most nutritionists who work excluseively with diabetics).

              Most of these sugar free desserts are okay as an occassional treat for diabetics, as long as they don't stuff themselves/ But none of the milk or fruit alciohiols used in most sugar free desserts are a panacea for diabetics.

              Sorry to go on so much about this, but I talk to diabetics all the time who get into trouble with these products because they are unaware how they need to deal with them.

              1. re: Ann900

                Good information, Ann. These sugar alcohols are complicated and affect us all differently. That's why I've given up on them. Occasionally, I'll eat sugar-free Twizzlers licorice. My nutrionist advised me that if a food have more than 5 grams of sugar alcohols or fiber you could take half that # and subtract it from the total carbs - then bolus for that amount.

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Totally agree. The synthetic sweeted products are far more complicated to deal with then the plain old desserts made with sugar or honey. Like you, I also use a pump and have a far easier time bolusing for this stuff when it's made without these sugar replacement sweeteners.

              2. He is type 1 - and he has a pump. Sometimes the pump helps, other times it doesn't. I really appreciate all the responses. Not sure if this will help but some examples of desserts he does eat are: sugar-free pudding, sugar-free pumpkin pie and I'm made him sugar-free cookies - but all were made with Sweet & Low.

                You're right though moderation is the key.