My Diabetes Inklings

The Well-meaning Friend

As people with diabetes, we all know the dangers of sugar-free lollies. Whether it be through personal experience or reading the Amazon reviews of sugar-free gummi bears. I have to admit I treated myself to sugar free chocolate during the early days of my diagnosis until I discovered dark chocolate. But I’ve never had any bad experiences with artificial sweeteners. Until a few days ago. 

I was invited to give talk about my career pathway to a bunch of 16 year olds. As a thank you, the organiser handed out each panelist a couple of Lindt chocolate blocks (my favourite!).

But when my turn came, they excitedly told me they prepared something special for me because of my diabetes.

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I think I know where this is going…

Yep. Sugar free chocolate and two packets of sugar free lollies. I knew they meant well and sugar-free products are often targeted at people with diabetes. So people assume that’s they only thing we can eat. To be fair, I did receive my Lindt chocolate at the end as there was a spare gift (woohoo, two gifts!).

A couple of nights later, I’m at my computer, frantically trying to finish a chapter and looking for something to nibble on. I can’t resist gummy bears so I opened the sugar-free packet and told myself I’d just have a couple.


I’m not sure how many I ate, but it was enough for my stomach to start a war. I’m surprised I even managed to complete and send the chapter off to my supervisors. Then the real apocalypse began.

The reaction wasn’t even what I had expected. I had never quite experienced stomach spasms of this calibre, I broke out into cold sweat and my stomach was so bloated, it hurt to even touch it.

It took a whole lot of green tea, heat packs and hours of being curled in the foetus position before things started to settle and subside. And the first thing I did in the morning after the night of agony was to toss the rest of the packet into the bin. Something I should’ve done in the first place!

So if a well-meaning friend ever gifts you sugar-free lollies, return the offer. Open the packet and share it with them. And when I say share it with them, don’t eat any yourself.

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2 thoughts on “The Well-meaning Friend”

  1. Yes! When my son was diagnosed, we did sugar-free drinks for a couple months. Then he started having stomach spasms and cramping. He was given all sorts of tests (coeliac blood test, stool samples, urine tests) until I finally read the small print and went HEY! it’s the artificial sweeteners. Dumped them all, and his stomach came back to normal within 2 weeks.

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