Diabetes is one of those conditions that, in many cases, can be prevented, but currently 8.5% of the total population of the world has either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. That percentage equates to an average of 1 out of every 11 people. The numbers are certainly high and show no signs of slowing down. A study from the International Diabetes Federation concluded that an estimated 640 million people will have been diagnosed with diabetes by 2040.
That is an intense rise because, in 2017, the estimation was around 400 million people. Patients diagnosed with diabetes are required to watch their sugar intake and change their lifestyle completely if they are to contend with symptoms. Foods like Turkish delight are not on the preferred foods list for diabetic patients.
What is Turkish Delight Exactly?
Turkish delight is a delectable dessert that was originally developed in the 18th century to extinguish the intense desires of a sultan for both seductive pleasure and a growing sweet tooth. The sultan was presented with Turkish delight and subsequently presented it to his many wives to increase their passion. Throughout the years, Turkish delight is still used as a way to woo a loved one, but it is also used as a treat for people from all walks of life.
This intensely sweet dessert is a jellied concoction featuring a variety of fruits, nuts, and various flavor components. Turkish delight is sold in over 50 different countries throughout the world and has continued to grow in popularity since its invention in the 18th century. If you have yet to discover this dessert for yourself, there are many varieties to choose from.
The use of pistachios in Turkish delight is nothing new. Many nut varieties are available for this treat, but by far, pistachio is one of the most popular. This nut is used for its many health benefits as well as its unique green color.
The lavish use of rose extract and rose petals set this form of Turkish delight apart from others. It is generally sweetened with honey as opposed to standard sugars and can be made from any color of roses. Most notably, rose Turkish delight tends to be pink or purple.
Citrus is used in Turkish delight for its amazing aroma and healthy quality. Lemon is among the most common flavors, but orange is available as well. Not only are the juices used to enhance flavor notes, but the zest as well.
This amazing dessert would be nowhere without the use of pomegranate. Turkey is known for its production of pomegranate and naturally, the ingredient has been adapted into its genre of Turkish delight. Traditionally, pomegranate is combined with the use of nuts and dried fruits to enhance texture and flavor. Other fruit purees and seasonal fruits can be used as well.
The coconut variety of Turkish delight appears different than the traditional type. Instead of incorporating nuts, dried fruits, and other ingredients into the interior makeup of the confection, they are rolled into coconut-flavored Turkish delight. The exterior coating is shaved coconut for enhanced flavor and to add a unique textural component.
What Makes Turkish Delight Bad for Diabetics?
Turkish delight has a lot of health benefits that make it an asset to a variety of conditions. It offers fast energy and can help eliminate toxins from the body. The ingredients used in various types of Turkish delight provide a way to get essential nutrients into the body quickly and within a very small dessert. Turkish delight is consumed throughout the day to help regulate energy levels, reduce stress, and even help regulate the digestive system, but it is not a good idea for diabetics.
The ingredients used in Turkish delight can offer amazing health properties, but when sugar is added to make the jellied consistency, the health benefits for diabetic patients are null and void. Refined sugars used in the recipe are not easily digested by a diabetic as they are a generally healthy person, so glucose levels in the patient can rise drastically in a very short time.
Nutritional Composition of Turkish Delight
Turkish delight contains up to 180 calories per serving with 3g of fat. Carbohydrates, that ultimately turn to sugar in the body, are an estimated 33g per serving and only 3 of those grams are dietary fiber. The rest are complete sugar. Although various Turkish delight varieties are healthy for the average individual, the intense sugar content should be avoided by a diabetic patient.
Are There Ways to Make Turkish Delight Healthier?
Absolutely. Turkish delight is one of the most versatile desserts with endless varieties including fruits, nuts, and various sugar options. The versatility of the dessert makes it adaptable to the needs of any health-conscious patient. Sugars used in traditional Turkish delight tend to exacerbate diabetic symptoms and raise sugar levels. However, the use of healthy sugar substitutes such as honey will provide the same sweetness without the negative connotations of refined sugars.
Honey is a simple and natural form of sugar that offers a variety of vitamins and minerals standard sugar options do not have. Honey is one of the sugars that are low in GI or glycemic index. This is the key ingredient in regulating sugar within the body. Lowering your GI score helps regulate carbs in the body and control your diabetes. Although excessive use of honey in desserts is not recommended, as it can still raise blood sugar levels, the rise is slower than refined sugars and therefore easier for diabetes patients’ bodies to contend with.
Fruit purees are another way to enhance flavor without bringing up the sugar content. Naturally sweet varieties of fruit used in recipes of Turkish delight tend to be easier for a diabetic to eat. More and more Turkish delight producers are investing in healthier sugar options for diabetics, so they do not have to miss out on this sweet treat.
Healthier Turkish Delight Varieties That Can Be Made at Home
Nutritionists all over the world will tell you that if you have a medical condition as sensitive to certain ingredients as diabetes, making foods at home offers the best benefit. Turkish delight is a dish that is easy to make at home. It might take some trial and error to get the result right, but once you do, you will no longer have to rely on simply commercial-made varieties.
Cooking Turkish delight at home allows you to have complete control over the ingredients used. You can regulate sugar content and control which sugars go into the batch. Certain artificial sweeteners can be used for this dessert to make it even more healthy for the diabetic diet.
So, I Can Eat Turkish Delight with Diabetes
Yes, but as with all foods, it should be done in moderation. Diabetics need to always keep their sugar levels in check. Eating too much of anything sweet, no matter what type of sugar is used can potentially raise sugar levels to an unhealthy level. Regulate how often and how much Turkish delight you consume to help ensure your body’s glucose levels remain where they should.