Diwali is the time of the year when one set of the Indian
population splurges on mouth watering sweets while another set—diabetics and
the health watchers wistfully drag their eyes away from the tantalizing array
of sweets displayed during the festive occasion. Not anymore. The latter can
now relish laddus and gulab jamuns without a twinge of conscience or paying the
price for eating the forbidden sweets, thanks to an entire range of Dezire food
products prepared using levulose, a natural sweetener. Medindia spoke to R. Lavanya, Director, Sundar Diabetics
Dezire, the brand that introduced for the first time in India, a whole
range of food products and Natural Sugar Substitute especially suitable for
diabetics and the health watchers.
Q. Your advertisements say Dezire sweets are ideal for diabetics and health watchers. How is this so?
Diabetics are forbidden to have food products containing
large amounts of refined sugars such as sucrose or table sugar as it tends to
increase their blood glucose level sharply. In order to satisfy the craving for
sweets, alternative sweeteners are introduced to some items in the diabetic
diet. Our range of food products use levulose, a naturally occurring sugar extracted
from fruits and certain plants, which is sweeter than sucrose or table sugar.
Levulose is nearly 1.8 times sweeter than table sugar and hence only half the
usual quantity of table sugar is needed to be added to food preparation, thus
cutting down on calorie consumption.
Levulose has a low glycemic index (GI) of 20
as against table
sugar which has a GI of 65. Glycemic index measures the immediate effect that a
food has in altering blood sugar levels—food with high glycemic index will
increase blood sugar levels at once and the person feels hungrier all too soon.
A person eating food products made of levulose with its low GI, tends to snack
less. Levulose is 100 percent natural with no side effects and our products
have been clinically evaluated by medical experts and approved as ideally
suited for diabetics and health watchers.
Q. Tell us about the
kind of evaluation on your products by health experts?
Our food products using the natural sweetener levulose have
been through intense clinical studies by prominent South Indian diabetologists
such as Prof. Dr. V. Seshiah and Dr. V. Mohan. In 2005, a clinical study was
undertaken for 30 days on 30 patients with Type 2 diabetes by Chennai based Dr.
V. Seshaiah Diabetes Care and Research Centre. The study concluded that
consuming 15gms of levulose each day did not increase the blood sugar level and
it also did not alter the other parameters in the study.
Dr. V. Mohan's Diabetes Specialties Centre conducted a study
on 30 persons with Type 2 diabetes who were on oral anti diabetic drugs and
insulin and concluded that "Rasgolla made with Levulose when taken occasionally
will not affect the blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes."
The Dezire range of food products using levulose are the
result of many years of research and development at our parent company Sundar
Chemicals and our products are patented. Sundar Diatetics, the firm behind
Diabetic Dezire, has been associated with the Glaxo Smithkline pharma company
for three decades.
Q. Can you name some
food products that your company makes using levulose? Are they expensive?
We sell the usual range of Indian sweets such as gulab
jamun, rasgolla, jilebi, jangiri and also cakes, cookies, squashes, jams, ice
in which levulose is used. We also sell the natural
in packets and sachets so you can make sweets of your
choice at home or add it to sweeten your coffee, tea or other beverages. As the
raw materials such as levulose have to be imported from abroad, Dezire food
products are priced slightly higher than the usual Indian sweets prepared with
Q. Tell us about your
Initially when we ventured out ten years ago, our customers
were mostly diabetics and children with lactose intolerance
who would feast on
our milk sweets. In the last four or five years, maybe with increasing
awareness on health and well being, we have not just diabetics but, also weight
watchers and the calorie conscious frequenting our shops
more and more.
These days it is common to see perfectly healthy young couples walk into our
shop, find out details about the sugar content and calories in the sweet before
buying a pack of assorted sweets. We supply many hotels such as GRT Grand,
Residency Towers, Radisson, Taj Residency, Ambassador Pallava and other hotels
and corporate offices in Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, apart from our
retail outlets in many cities in south India.
Q. Do you plan to
bring out more food products other than sweets?
We are working on bringing out more food items with low
for regular Indian breakfast and lunch that will help
people sustain energy throughout the day without sudden highs and lows that
could throw things out of gear. It is
still at the R & D level and I can't say too much about it now.
Q. Any fine/poignant
moments in offering these new sweet alternatives to the public?
Many, in fact. A lady who was a retired High Court judge
walked into one of our Chennai retail outlets and said she was buying sweets
for herself and her husband. She bit into a sweet with such relish, all the
while sharing with us that she was eating our sweet after 23 years of
fasting on sweets
, because she chose to give up sweets when her husband
became diabetic! They are one of our regular clients now. In our Bangalore
outlet a very simple-looking couple entered, selected a sweet and started
relishing it there and the lady said that her husband was eating a sweet after
25 years. The couple was none other than Mrs. Sudha Murthy and Mr.
Narayanmurthy of Infosys fame! We feel especially happy when children diagnosed
with Type 1 diabetes and lactose intolerance visit our shops to relish sweets.
It seems unkind to deny sweets to children, but they have a condition that
forbids them to eat sweets. We are glad to have stepped in and be of service to
give sweets to children, at least to a certain extent without harming
So with this sweet
news, check with your doctor if you are diabetic, then go ahead and give in to some sweet craving
without a twinge of guilt to make this a more cheerful Diwali!