Diwali’s Sweet ‘Dezire’- Interview

by Thilaka Ravi on  November 3, 2010 at 1:25 PM Medindia Exclusive - Interviews and In depth Reports
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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 creams etc in which levulose is used. We also sell the natural sugar substitute 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 table sugar.

Q. Tell us about your clientele?

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 Glycemic load 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 their   metabolism.

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!

Source: Medindia

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