Can Diabetics Eat Fruits?

Flesh kiwi cut ripe orange

Yes, those with diabetes can eat fruits! Fruits will indeed raise our blood sugar levels temporarily, so is important to control and monitor ones blood sugar levels. Moderation is the key.

Fruits is important for a healthy diet.

Some fruits have higher natural sugars than others. This natural sugar is called fructose. Fruits contain fiber, vitamins and minerals  that can contribute to good health.

However, the extent to which fruit can raise blood glucose levels depends on the type of fruit eaten. Here is a list of 10 fruits that diabetics can eat (but not limited to this list):

  1. Kiwi
  2. Guava
  3. Cherries
  4. Peach
  5. Berries
  6. Apple
  7. Pear
  8. Papaya
  9. Orange
  10. Watermelon

The best way to know how different fruits affects blood sugar levels is by measuring it before and after eating the fruit. Choose whole fruits instead of fruit juice. Fruit juice blends bought outside may contain additional hidden sugar.

Further reading:
Will fruit affect my blood glucose levels? (www.diabetes.org.nz)
Diabetes Myths (www.diabetes.org)

How Many Meals Do You Eat a Day?

On average how many meals do you eat to keep yourself energized throughout the day?

Remember, there is no magic number. Don’t force yourself to eat when you’re not hungry. If you are trying to eat many small meals, avoid eating when you are full. It doesn’t really matter whether you eat 3 or 6 times a day. You should choose a meal plan based on your own nutrition requirements and lifestyle.

Fiber Diet: Whole Grain or Multi Grain

Most people assume that both whole grain and multi-grain means the same thing. Firstly, let’s look at the definition of these two words.

Whole grain:  Food contains all parts of the grain in the same proportions found in nature. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled and/or cooked), the food product should give about the same amount of nutrients found in the original grain.

Multi-grain:  Food containing more than one type of grain. The grains may be in whole form, or they may be refined.

When grains go through the refining process they lose almost all of the germ and bran and are left with mostly the endosperm. The endosperm is the least nutritious part of grain.

Anatomy of a grain

Whole grains have minimal processing and provide better fiber and nutrition compared to refined grains. Some examples of whole grains (including the bran, germ and endosperm) include:

  • Brown rice
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat

In conclusion, it is important to check the ingredient labels. In some cases you will see that the packaging does not indicate the percentage or amount of the ingredients in the food. Whole grain might not mean 100% whole grain, neither does Multi-grain mean that it can’t be a mixture of 100% whole grains.

Here’s a useful table you can use as a guide the next time you go shopping.

whole grain

Image source

Glycemic Index Foods

In my earlier post, i talked about the how glycemic index (GI) affects weight loss. Here is a more detailed explanation of what it’s about.

Glycemic Index

GI is the ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0-100 according to the extent they raise blood sugar levels after consumption of food that contains carbohydrates.

High GI means that the carbohydrates in food breaks down quickly and thus releases the glucose into the blood quicker. Low GI means the opposite; slow digestion and slower release of glucose into the blood stream. Diets that are low GI have shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes and aids in weigh loss because it helps to control appetite.

  • High GI: 70 and above (Whole wheat bread, corn flakes, watermelon, potato)
  • Medium GI: 56 to 69 (Pumpkin, honey, popcorn, pineapple)
  • Low GI: 55 and below (Chocolate, soy milk, carrots, apple)

Glycemic Index Chart

Should I eat a low GI diet?

A low GI diet is helpful for everyone. It can help those with weight problems, diabetes, low blood sugar, low HDL levels and help increase physical activities or sports.

Switching to low GI meals

First check your daily meals to find out where most of the carbohydrates is coming from (usually it is the rice, noodles, breakfast cereals, potatoes). Aim to swap some high GI foods with low GI foods. You don’t need to exclude all high GI foods from your diet but instead choose more low GI foods.

For example switching cornflakes for wholegrain cereals/rolled oats/bran. White bread for multigrain bread. Examples of high GI foods include short grain rice, pumpkin and watermelon. Meat, eggs and oils have no or very little carbohydrates. So they may not have a GI value.

The GI is not meant to be the only determinant when choosing foods. Look at the overall nutritional quality and quantity of your food.

Tip: Include 1 low GI food in every meal.

Do note that the glycemic index is  not to be confused with glycemic load values.
To find out  about a specific food’s GI, you can visit nutritiondata.com

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GYLCEMIC INDEX OF BUCKWHEAT

Source: glycemicindex.com

Source: glycemicindex.com

 

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