Are fruits a no-no for people with diabetes?


Well, diabetes is a disease that doesn’t need an introduction as it affects at least 1 in a household. As we already know, mindful eating of a well-regulated diet is the cornerstone of successful diabetes treatment. The food choice of a diabetic is quite restricted and it has many no-nos as well. There are many no-nos and restrictions in the menu plan of a diabetic, especially while it comes to carbohydrates. In case of type 2 diabetes, this carbs turn into sugar, directly impacting your blood glucose levels.

Fruits are the type of food that most diabetics are sceptical about because they are rich in carbohydrates. Does this mean diabetics need to cut out fruits from their menu? The answer is no.

In fact, most fruits are rich in fibre (when eaten with their skin intact) which helps to maintain the blood sugar levels. However, they have adequate amounts of sugar in them too. So, most diabetics fear that eating fruits will make their blood sugar levels soar. But the reality is only foods that are high in the glycemic index (usually carbohydrate-rich foods) increase your blood sugar levels after consuming them. On the other hand, consuming foods that are low in GI index helps to control blood sugar levels. Most fruits have low to medium GI and are safe to have. Here are few healthy diet habits that are not-so-healthy for diabetics.

So, we spoke to Dhvani Shah, naturopath and sports nutritionist, Mumbai to get some tips on eating fruit while managing diabetes. Here is all she has to say:

Fruits are low in GI index and almost all fruits have a value less than 50. Foods that are low in GI index breakdown slowly and helps in maintaining a steady postprandial blood sugar levels. This is why having fruits isn’t a bad idea for diabetics. Here is everything you need to know about glycemic index.

However, it is always good to have them with some nuts as they are a great source of fibre which slows down the absorption of sugar. So even if any fruit has a slightly high GI consuming it with nuts will help to keep the blood sugar steady.

Avoid having fruits with your meals as Indian meals are high in carbohydrates and this can affect the blood sugar levels. Instead, have fruits as a snack.

If you are constantly checking your blood sugar level with a glucometer and find out that your levels are high, don’t binge on fruit. Instead, wait for the levels to come down. Have a protein-rich snack (one boiled egg or dairy products), go for walk or take your medicines to bring it down. Don’t have fruits until your blood sugar levels come down. Read to know if diabetics can eat eggs.

Avoid having fruit juices as they can have artificial sweeteners and could be devoid of any fibre.

Avoid having fruits as desserts as it can again increase your blood sugar levels. Instead, keep a gap of at least two hours between your meal and fruit intake.

Avoid having fruits after 5 pm as it makes it little difficult for the fructose to metabolise as the day passes.

Here is a guide on how to choose the right fruits if you are a diabetic

Low GI fruits (GI less than 55)

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Nectarines
  • Orange
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Strawberries

Medium-GI fruits (GI of 56 to 69)

  • Honeydew melon
  • Figs
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples

High-GI fruits (GI Index of 70 or greater)

  • Dates
  • Watermelon

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