No end to craving

RISKY PLEASURES

Sugar-free sweets are making a buzz in the market with more and more youngsters hoping to pop in those sweets without putting on any weight. Joining the bandwagon are diabetics who wish to satiate their sweet cravings.

And stocking them in plenty are sweet shops which are selling sugar-free jalebis, rasgullas, soan papdi, cashew burfis, pedas among a host of other goodies, which cost much more than the sweetened varieties. But while they may satisfy that temporary craving, doctors also caution against taking them in excess.

Pointing out that they sell anywhere between eight to 10 kilos of sugar-free jalebis in a day, B Giridhar, who runs Bhagatram Sweets, says, “In fact, by 7 pm, most of the sugar-free sweets are sold out. We have around 15 to 20 varieties of sugar-free delicacies. A lot of elderly people come in, some of whom are sent here by doctors themselves. With a lot of youngsters getting health-conscious, we also find ourselves catering to that crowd.”

According to Prakash Bhoutika, owner of Anand Sweets on Commercial Street, the market for sugar-free sweets is still growing. “We started selling them since customers are asking for them. It’s only been six months that we have begun keeping these sweets,” explains Prakash, adding, “Right now, we have about 10 per cent demand for it.”

Although there are many who assume that it’s a quick-fix way to shed some weight, Malathi V, head of the department of nutrition and dietetics, Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road, says that the sweets contain a lot of saturated fats and calories which are not good for health.

“It’s alright to have them once in a while for diabetics. But in case of teenagers or those aspiring to lose weight, the sugar-free sweets will hardly make a difference in weight loss,” she says, adding, “Also, in case a person is suffering from a long-term illness, sugar-free sweets must be completely avoided because the artificial sweeteners are not good. Even expecting mothers or patients suffering from cancer or kidney issues are advised to keep away from the artificial sweetened desserts.”  

Dr V Shankar, a consultant at Manipal Northside Hospital, Malleswaram, who has a number of patients with queries about these sweets, says, “I tell my patients to keep away from them because the artificial sweetener that is used can lead to a number of problems including in some cases, memory loss. He adds, “The diabetics in particular feel that those sweets can satisfy their cravings without realising that they are just increasing their calorie count. It’s better for them to keep away from sweets completely.”  

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