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For a Sugar-Free Valentine's Day...
Here are some alternative gifts for a loved one with diabetes

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

FRIDAY, Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- If your loved one has diabetes, go easy on the Valentine's Day candy, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists advises.

For the 25.8 million adults in the United States with diabetes, Valentine's Day sweets could cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar levels, according to the association.

Rather than loading up on sweets, the group's physicians recommend a small package of handmade truffles for diabetics who can safely work a bit of sugar into their diet. Chocolate, they said, is metabolized more slowly than other types of candy and won't increase blood sugar levels as quickly.

Also, by learning about diabetes and thinking ahead, there are other ways you can show your love for someone with diabetes on Valentine's Day, the association said, including:

  • Opt for low-carb candy. Some candy makers have low-carbohydrate versions of popular Valentine's Day gifts. Still, it's a good idea to limit portion sizes of these candies. Although many are labeled "sugar-free," they have calories that affect blood sugar levels differently.
  • Be mindful of "hidden carbs." Aside from sugar, ingredients that can cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly include potatoes, white rice and white flour. Just because a baked good is made with a sugar substitute doesn't mean it's an appropriate gift. Desserts that contain white flour, dried fruit, honey, corn syrup and agave nectar are not a good choice for people with diabetes.
  • Be creative and cook. Instead of offering a box of candy, one way you can show your love to a person who has diabetes is to prepare a home-cooked meal. This way you can offer them a meal that is sure to meet their dietary restrictions.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more Valentine's Day health tips.

SOURCE: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, news release, Feb. 14, 2014

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=684850

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