What Fruits Are Good For Diabetics
If youre wondering what fruits are good for diabetics, its pretty much the same list as non-diabetics: eat the rainbow. Different colors of fruits and vegetables have different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. To get all the good stuff, look for a ROYGBIV of fruits from red strawberries to deep purple blackberries .
Prevent Low Blood Glucose
Because physical activity lowers your blood glucose, you should protect yourself against low blood glucose levels, also called hypoglycemia. You are most likely to have hypoglycemia if you take insulin or certain other diabetes medicines, such as a sulfonylurea. Hypoglycemia also can occur after a long intense workout or if you have skipped a meal before being active. Hypoglycemia can happen during or up to 24 hours after physical activity.
Planning is key to preventing hypoglycemia. For instance, if you take insulin, your health care provider might suggest you take less insulin or eat a small snack with carbohydrates before, during, or after physical activity, especially intense activity.4
You may need to check your blood glucose level before, during, and right after you are physically active.
With A Few Changes And The Addition Of Fiber
Cake is the quintessential celebratory dessert a staple at weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries alike. But if you have type 2 diabetes, your healthcare team has likely told you this sweet indulgence is off-limits. Fortunately, self-deprivation isnt the only option. With a few simple ingredient swaps, you can have your cake and eat it, too.
A traditional cake recipe uses a combination of all-purpose flour, sugar, and eggs with a frosting whipped up with butter and sugar. Most of these ingredients are sources of refined carbohydrates that, in large quantities, can send blood sugar levels skyrocketing. When preparing a diabetes-friendly cake, you will focus on tweaking those very ingredients.
Flour makes up the largest component of ordinary cakes, so opting for a recipe that uses less flour or a flour that contains fewer carbs can go a long way.
The second biggest ingredient in cake is typically sugar. Instead of granulated sugar, you can use pureed fruit or even a low-carb sweetener such as erythritol to help reduce the total carb content of your cake even further.
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Fresh Fruit Is Healthy And Safe For Diabetics
Diabetics should be conscious of their fruit intake, but overall, fruit is still a healthy and important part of any diet for managing diabetes.
“There is a myth that fruit is sugar and shouldn’t be eaten if you are diabetic, but that isn’t quite true,” says Susan Besser, MD, a primary care physician in Maryland. “Yes, it is a carbohydrate and one should eat it in moderation, but it is actually a healthy carbohydrate and metabolized much better than other carbs like cakes, cookies, or candies.”
In fact, research has linked fresh fruit consumption to improved health for diabetics. A study published in the Public Library of Science in 2017 followed half a million Chinese men for seven years, asking about their fruit intake and measuring their blood sugar levels.
The researchers found that higher fresh fruit consumption was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing diabetes. And even for people with existing diabetes, those who ate more fresh fruit had a lower risk of death or developing serious health complications. The study concluded that diabetics should not be told to limit fresh fruit intake.
Moreover, consuming fruit at a young age may even reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes at a later age. For example, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2018 found that lowering saturated fat intake and increasing fruits and vegetables in children ages 8 to 10 years old may improve insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
How Much Fruit Should I Eat
Most guidelines recommend that adults and children eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This is still true for people with diabetes.
Other guidelines recommend making sure that half of the plate at each meal contains fruits, vegetables, or both.
For a person with diabetes, half of each meal should be nonstarchy vegetables, rather than fruit. The remaining half should be sources of protein and high fiber starches, such as beans or whole grains. Many experts also recommend including healthy fat at each meal to encourage a feeling of fullness and enhance absorption of antioxidants and vitamins.
One serving is a medium-sized fruit, or a serving the size of a baseball. The serving size of smaller fruits, such as berries, is 1 cup.
For processed fruits, such as applesauce and fruit juice, the serving size is half a cup. And for dried fruits such as raisins and cherries, it is 2 tablespoons.
As with vegetables, focusing on variety can be a great way to absorb the right nutrients and enjoy a range of flavors.
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Cut Out The Bad Carbs Replace Them With Fruits:
A portion of the fruit contains about 15-20g of carbohydrate on average, which is similar to a slice of bread. To put things in perspective, just a can of cola contains 35g carb and a medium slice of chocolate cake contains 35g of carbs as well.
So, if you are looking to reduce your carb intake, with the aim to manage blood glucose levels, the advice is to reduce your intake of foods and drinks like ordinary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolate and other snacks.
Make sure the served portion size and the number of servings of a fruit/fruit bowl are in compliance with what your endocrinologist/diabetes doctor has recommended. Keep a food diary to check how many servings of fruits and vegetables you are eating. For most people, you dont have to reduce the number of fruits and vegetables you eat.
Health Benefits Of Fruit
Fruit helps to supply us with fibre, minerals and vitamins, and they are particularly high in their supply of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is important for preventing our cells being damaged. Fibre helps digestion and is linked with helping reduce cholesterol levels
As with vegetables, different fruit have different characteristics.
For example grapefruit contains a healthy amount of vitamin A and potassium whereas berries are good sources of vitamin K and manganese.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that eating the recommended quantity of fruit and vegetables may reduce susceptibility to chronic disease and cancers.
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What Is Medical Nutrition Therapy
Medical nutrition therapy is a service provided by an RD to create personal eating plans based on your needs and likes. For people with diabetes, medical nutrition therapy has been shown to improve diabetes management. Medicare pays for medical nutrition therapy for people with diabetes If you have insurance other than Medicare, ask if it covers medical nutrition therapy for diabetes.
What Is A Serve Of Fruit
A standard serve is about 150g or
- 1 medium size apple, banana, orange or pear
- 2 small pieces apricots, plums or kiwi fruits
- 1 cup diced fresh or canned fruits
Or choose only occasionally:
- 125ml fruit juice
- 30g dried fruit
As a general rule, it is recommended to have two serves of fruit each day.
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What Physical Activities Should I Do If I Have Diabetes
Most kinds of physical activity can help you take care of your diabetes. Certain activities may be unsafe for some people, such as those with low vision or nerve damage to their feet. Ask your health care team what physical activities are safe for you. Many people choose walking with friends or family members for their activity.
Doing different types of physical activity each week will give you the most health benefits. Mixing it up also helps reduce boredom and lower your chance of getting hurt. Try these options for physical activity.
Skip Sugary Foods Like Sweets And Soda
Foods that are made primarily of processed sugar, like many desserts, candy, and soda, are considered low-quality carbohydrates. Not only are these foods lacking in nutritional value, they can also cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar, says Kimberlain. They can also lead to weight problems. Refined carbohydrates raise blood sugar,” she explains. Your body then produces extra insulin to bring your blood sugar down. Insulin is a fat storage hormone. With more circulating insulin in your bloodstream, your body converts the carbohydrates to fat and stores them on your buttocks, thighs, abdomen, and hips.
Instead of sweets, reach for delicious fruits like apples, berries, pears, or oranges. These high-quality carbohydrates contain plenty of fiber to help slow down the absorption of glucose, so theyre a far better choice for blood-sugar control. Pair fruit with a high-protein food, such as peanut butter, for even better blood-sugar levels. One caveat: Even though fruit is healthy, it too raises blood sugar, warns Kimberlain. I always tell patients that timing is everything, she says. If you just had a meal two hours ago , and now you have a piece of fruit, you will only raise your blood sugar even more. Its better to give your body time to return to a normal range, or opt for a hard-boiled egg or a handful of nuts , she suggests.
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Should People With Diabetes Cut Back On Fruit
You might think that the sugar content of fruit means that you should stay well away from it however, the sugar in whole fruit is natural sugar rather than added sugar. It is the added sugars, such as those found in chocolate, lollies, cakes, biscuits and sugar sweetened drinks, that we need to cut down on. Fruit also generally has a low to medium glycaemic index , which means they do not lead to a sharp rise in your blood glucose levels, compared to other high GI carbohydrate rich foods such as white bread.
When it comes to fruit and the effects on your blood glucose levels, it is the portion size that plays an important role. On average, a portion or serve of fruit contains about 15-20g of carbohydrate, which is similar to a slice of bread or a 250mL glass of milk. To put it into perspective, a slice of chocolate cake with no icing with a weight similar to a serve of fruit contains about 58g of carbohydrates, while a 375mL can of soft drink has about 40g of carbohydrates.
Get The Most Out Of Your Fruit Choices
When choosing fruit, you’ll want to think about portion size, convenience, cost, and flavor, but also health benefits. Certain types of fruit, such as berries and citrus fruits, can be beneficial for people with diabetes.
Berries are rich in vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, and phytochemicals . Vitamin C is an important water-soluble vitamin that repairs cells , slows down aging, and boosts immunity.
Additionally berries’ rich colorred, blue, and blackcomes from anthocyanins, a natural pigment. Research suggests that anthocyanins may help fend off certain chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
Citrus fruits, such as tangerines, also contain vitamin C and potassium, which can reduce blood pressure. They are also a good source of fat-soluble vitamin A, an important vitamin for eye health.
Citrus fruits also contain phytonutrients. These can protect cells from damage, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you are on a potassium-restricted diet or take cholesterol-lowering medication, you may have to watch your intake of citrus fruits. Make sure you discuss intake with your physician before adding them to your meal plan.
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When Should I Eat If I Have Diabetes
Some people with diabetes need to eat at about the same time each day. Others can be more flexible with the timing of their meals. Depending on your diabetes medicines or type of insulin, you may need to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time each day. If you take mealtime insulin, your eating schedule can be more flexible.
If you use certain diabetes medicines or insulin and you skip or delay a meal, your blood glucose level can drop too low. Ask your health care team when you should eat and whether you should eat before and after physical activity.
What Are The Best Fruit Choices
The best choice is fresh fruit, according to the ADA. They also recommend frozen or canned fruit that does not have added sugars. Check the food labels for added sugar, and be aware that sugar has many different names on labels. This includes cane sugar, invert sugar, corn sweetener, dextran, and high fructose corn syrup.
Recommended fresh fruits include:
- 2017 study of random controlled trials suggested that the consumption of 100 percent fruit juice is not associated with increased risk of diabetes. However, the study also notes that more detailed research is needed to understand the effect of 100 percent fruit juice on regulation and maintenance of blood glucose levels.
The ADA recommends only drinking juice in small portions about 4 ounces or less a day. They also recommend checking the label to be sure its 100 percent fruit juice with no added sugar.
In general, eating whole fruit with dietary fiber is recommended over juice. The fiber in whole fruit delays digestion. This delay will not only help you feel full, but it will also not spike blood sugar levels as quickly as if you had consumed the fruit in juice form.
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Why Should I Be Physically Active If I Have Diabetes
Physical activity is an important part of managing your blood glucose level and staying healthy. Being active has many health benefits.
- burns extra calories so you can keep your weight down if needed
- improves your mood
- can prevent falls and improve memory in older adults
- may help you sleep better
If you are overweight, combining physical activity with a reduced-calorie eating plan can lead to even more benefits. In the Look AHEAD: Action for Health in Diabetes study,1 overweight adults with type 2 diabetes who ate less and moved more had greater long-term health benefits compared to those who didnt make these changes. These benefits included improved cholesterol levels, less sleep apnea, and being able to move around more easily.
Even small amounts of physical activity can help. Experts suggest that you aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity 5 days of the week.3 Moderate activity feels somewhat hard, and vigorous activity is intense and feels hard. If you want to lose weight or maintain weight loss, you may need to do 60 minutes or more of physical activity 5 days of the week.3
Be patient. It may take a few weeks of physical activity before you see changes in your health.
Can Eating Fruit Help Me Lose Weight
No. Achieving a healthy weight certainly involves eating a healthy diet, including the right fruits. But with type 2 diabetes, the key to weight loss is shifting your whole metabolism.
This means focusing on whole food sources, healthy fats, protein and carbs mainly from non-starchy vegetables. When you can get blood sugar and A1c levels more regulated, metabolism improves and weight loss occurs naturally as a result.
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Fruits High In Carbohydrates
According to Diabetes UK, the amount of carbs a person eats has the most impact on their blood sugar levels.
If a person is following a low carb diet, they should identify which carbs they are eating that are low in nutrients or unhealthy in other ways and cut those out first. Fresh fruit carries many health benefits, so it may not be first on the list.
This table outlines the carb content in several fruits compared with other high carb foods:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that drinking fruit juice during a meal or on its own quickly raises a persons blood sugar levels.
However, the combination of fiber and simple sugars in fruit slows the absorption of sugar into the blood when a person eats whole fruits.
A 2013 research paper looked at how fruit consumption affects the likelihood that a person will develop type 2 diabetes.
The results showed that people who consumed more whole fruit were less likely to develop the condition. People who drank larger amounts of fruit juice were more likely to develop the condition.
A 2017 study had similar results. The researchers found that fresh fruit consumption reduced a persons risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also found that people with diabetes who ate fresh fruit regularly had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular conditions or dying.
A person can also include dried fruit in their diet, as long as it was not dried with added sugar.
- packed in its own juices
- no added sugar
Should People With Diabetes Avoid Fruit Juice
Fruit juices can be high in natural sugars and because they have less fibre than the whole fruits, they are not as beneficial.Because you can get through a lot of juice within a relatively short period of time, compared to eating the actual fruit, you may end up loading up with a lot of carbs over that period. Depending on how your diabetes is managed, this can result in your blood glucose levels going up, and may affect your weight in the long term as well.That is why you are better off eating the actual fruit and avoiding juices. If you want to drink fruit juice, limit it to a maximum of a small glass, once a day. Drinking more than that will only increase your blood glucose levels and make you gain weight.If you drink juice with your a meal, look at how to reduce the carbohydrate in that meal. So, for example, if you usually have a couple of slices of bread with your breakfast, on the day that you decide to have a small glass of juice with your breakfast, you may be better off sacrificing one slice of bread to make room for the extra carbs from the juice. You don’t need to do this every day, but it is an option. And it will stop you having to deal with high blood glucose levels as a result of the juice.
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