If you are suffering from diabetes mellitus, you must have come across people advising you to stay away from fruits. In fact, it is a popular myth that fruits are not safe for diabetics and may elevate your HbA1C. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) fruits are the healthiest choice of snacks loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, super-rich in dietary fibre which can regulate blood glucose levels.
Fruits in the form of juices are not a good choice for diabetic patients as juices can spike blood glucose levels. Prefer whole fruits which are low on glycemic index like berries, apricot, apples etc. that help you in normalizing HbA1C, lower inflammation, control blood pressure and promote overall health.
Low glycemic index fruits (55 or less) include -cherries, grapefruit, pears, dried apricots, apple, oranges, plums, strawberries, peaches and grapes. Moreover, eating fruits drizzled with lemon juice or vinegar helps in lowering the GI value of the fruit.
What Is Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index (GI) is a value given to foods based on how slowly or quickly foods comprising carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index tend to release glucose slowly and steadily, while foods with a high glycemic index rapidly release glucose. As per the American Diabetes Association (ADA), GI values are rated as
Low: 55 or below
Moderate: 56 to 69
High: 70 and above
Choosing foods with a low and moderate glycemic score is beneficial in preventing blood glucose spike and help the body effectively manage post-meal fluctuations. Generally, most whole fruits have a low to moderate GI packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, as well as dietary fibre.
How Does Fruit Impact Blood Sugar?
Fruits are a natural source of sugar and carbohydrates raise your blood sugar. One serving of fruit has 15 grams of carbs, while the serving size varies depending on the type of fruit. Some of the examples of fruits which offer 15 grams of carbs from a serving include:
1/2 medium apple or banana
1 cup blackberries or raspberries
3/4 cup blueberries
1 1/4 cup whole strawberries
1 cup cubed melon
Ways to Eat Fruit
Remember to control your portion size, specifically with dried fruit. Two tablespoons of raisins offer the same amount of carbs as a small apple.
Always go for fresh or frozen fruit rather than processed fruits or canned fruits, as they are high on carbs and can spike the blood sugar levels.
Go easy on fruit juice. As it is high on carbs and devoid of fibre, which increases the blood sugar levels, unlike whole fruits. Even studies reveal that consuming lots of fruit juice elevates the risk of type 2 diabetes.
More importantly, it is always best to have fruit as an intermediary snack, rather than with meals to control blood sugar levels.
Check the infographics for more details.