Diabetic Diet

I have been put on a 1,400-calorie diabetic diet. Most of your recipes call for sugar or brown sugar. I like the recipes, but I'm wondering if there is any way I can use artificial sweetener in place of sugar in the recipes? Also, I was told not to consume more than 3 grams of fat in total. How do I do that? —M.C., Bronx, New York

The good news is that some of the recipes in Healthy Cooking do lend themselves to having the sugar or brown sugar replaced with artificial sweetener. However, this works better with some recipes than others. For instance, in the Blueberry 'n' Spice Sauce recipe in this issue, you could likely replace the sugar with artificial sweetener and end up with good results. Just combine the sweetener and remaining ingredients into a sauce and pour over your favorite pancake or waffle. On the other hand, a cookie such as the Honey Lemon Cookies might not turn out as well. It isn't easy to substitute artificial sweetener for sugar, cup for cup, in baked goods. The cookies made with artificial sweetener likely would not be as crisp or have the same satisfying flavor or texture as those made from the original recipe, which calls for sugar. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that using artificial sweeteners in baked goods is likely to result in a product that may be substandard for many people. However, in beverages, sauces or non-baked goods, substitutes may be used quite successfully. Sometimes, recipes call for both sugar and sweetener in a recipe—this is our way of cutting the calories without compromising the flavor. As to the second part of your question, 3 grams of fat in total seems unreasonably low, even if you mean one serving portion per recipe (rather than total grams per meal). You may want to check back with your doctor to review his recommendation. To get the nutrients your body needs, nutrition experts recommend that you not drop below 1,600 calories a day. Based on a 1,600-calorie diet, this allows you about 53 grams of fat a day (no more than 30% of the day's calories should come from fat). While trimming fat grams does trim calories, keep in mind that the total calories consumed and burned through activity are what ultimately determine body weight.