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Diabetic? Watch Your Fruit Intake!

Are you Diabetic? Watch Your Fruit Intake!

Diabetes is one health condition that comes with a sack load of dos and don’ts. When people are diabetic, it means that their bodies can’t process sugar. Experts say the condition does a lot of damage to the body as a result.

Diabetologist/Medical Director of Rainbow Specialist Medical Centre, Lekki, Dr. Afokoghene Isiavwe, says “Over time, the high glucose levels in the blood can damage the nerves and small blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys and heart; and lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries that can cause heart attack and stroke.”

Experts also warn that diabetes can lead to the build-up of sugar in the blood and this can cause an increase in urination, causing dehydration.

Worse still, the sufferer can enter into what is medically called diabetic coma. Isiavwe says when a person with Type-2 diabetes becomes very ill or severely dehydrated and is not able to drink enough fluids to make up for the fluid losses, he may develop this life-threatening complication.

Consequently, people who are diabetic are advised to eat healthy, in addition to keeping regular touch with their doctors and also taking their medicines as prescribed.

Fruit and diabetes

For the general population, eating healthy includes eating generous servings of fruits and vegetables. For the healthy population, any fruit or vegetable would do. However, for those who are diabetic, it’s not all fruits that can be eaten, especially because of the sugar contents.

Indeed, scientific studies reveal that while eating fruit significantly cuts your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, drinking fruit juice increases the risk, even among the healthy population!

“Some fruits contain more sugar than others,” experts warn. Nutritionists say fruits such as watermelon, pineapples and mangoes are some of the fruits that people suffering from diabetes should avoid like a plague.

Lagos-based Mayr nutritionist, Mrs. Idowu Ashiru, discloses that fruits may not be as healthy as we used to know them, especially because of the unannounced introduction of genetically-modified fruits into the food chain, making otherwise healthy foods to become suspect.

Researchers at, an online portal, counsel that it is important to understand that different kinds of fruits can have different effects on your blood sugar levels.

“This effect on blood sugar levels is measured by the glycaemic index. Fruits that are absorbed quickly and release a quick burst of energy are categorised as high-GI foods, whereas fruits that are digested slower and therefore provide a more sustained energy release are categorised as low-GI foods. As it is so important for diabetics to regulate their blood sugar levels at all times, it is important to learn the GI value of fruits,” the experts report.

They say fruits with a low glycaemic index are always the recommended safe choice for diabetics, as they contain mainly slow-release carbohydrates which help to regulate blood sugar levels better. Such fruits are green apples, pears, oranges, peaches, plums and strawberries. “All berries are low-GI, even though they are very sweet, making them the perfect substitute for unhealthier snacks such as chocolates and sweets,” the scientists enthuse.

No fruit juice

And while healthy people may consume fruit juices in moderation, specialists counsel diabetics against taking fruit juice. “This is because fruit juice spikes up sugar levels in the blood. Fruit juice will give you a rush of sugar and fructose, leading to more complications,” experts at the American Diabetes Association warn.

Again, nutritionists say, by the time you juice your fruit, the levels of beneficial nutrients would have been reduced, in addition to the fact that you may even end up taking more fruits than you would normally if you were eating it whole, leading to unintended bingeing on (natural) sugar.

For instance, ADA says, “one cup of orange juice could give an impressive 140 per cent of the daily value for vitamin C, as well as 20 per cent of the DV for thiamine and 10 per cent of the DV for folate. However, diabetics need to take care when consuming orange juice, as it can quickly cause a rise in blood sugar levels.” The same is true for other fruit juices.

Safe fruits for diabetics

Strawberries and other berries: Berries are full of antioxidants which boost your immune system by neutralising harmful by-products of metabolism called “free radicals” that can lead to cancer and other diseases. The antioxidants in berries are also good for your eye sight, as they prevent diabetic retinopathy and diabetic cataracts.

Apples: These are the perfect fruit for diabetics. They’re low-GI, high in pectin, soluble fibre which helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels and bowel function, and also has an anti-inflammatory effect which may help diabetics to recover from infections faster. Eat one small to medium apple a day.

Peaches: They are low-GI and packed with fibre, vitamins and antioxidants, especially immune-boosting vitamin C. Peaches are best enjoyed fresh — avoid the canned, syrupy peaches. One medium peach is okay for a day.

Cherries: If you are diabetic and have a sweet tooth, cherries provide the answer, as their low glycaemic index will help to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Cherries also contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that provide the distinctive red colour and have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties. Eat about a dozen daily.

Pears: Pears are another good low-GI fruit option. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals and a good source of fibre — which helps to regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and improves digestive health. One small or medium size is okay for a day.

Grapefruit: Like the rest of the citrus family, grapefruit is a great source of vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant which helps to boost the body’s resistance against infections and helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Grapefruit also contains the flavonoid narigenin, which has been found to increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps to maintain a healthy weight, which is a vital part of diabetes treatment. Half a large grapefruit is recommended in a day.

Oranges: They are also low-GI and low-GL per serving, thanks to their high content of soluble fibre, which helps to keep blood sugar levels under control and lowers blood cholesterol levels. One medium sized orange is ideal.

Guavas: Guavas are a great fruit choice for diabetics as they’re very low in GI and GL per serving and high in fibre — the perfect combination to keep your blood sugar levels steady and your energy sustained. Eat two small guavas per day.

Grapes: Even though grapes are naturally high in sugar, they still fall under the low-GI category and have the same low GL per serving as a pear or an orange. However, the trick is to keep your portion in check. One small bunch is a portion of fruit. If you exceed this, the GL per serving can get very high and could cause high blood glucose levels.

Source: Punch

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