Being diagnosed with diabetes can be somewhat of a crushing blow, particularly if you enjoy sweet things and consume a lot of fruit.
There seems to be a myth surrounding whether or not you can consume fruit if you have diabetes – let’s quash the rumour now – you can eat fruit, but like everything else, it should be in moderation, and also, much less ‘sugary’, in order to maintain blood glucose levels. Some fruits are higher in sugar or fructose than others. Portion control must also be exercised.
Are there ‘miracle fruits’?
Yes there are, both by name and by nature. There is one actual fruit called ‘miracle fruit’ or ‘miracle berry’, grown in both Asia and Africa. Tests have shown that this particular fruit is effective in improving insulin sensitivity. The other aspect of this fruit is that it has the ability to make sour taste sweet, by altering the impact of food on the taste buds within the mouth. Sounds crazy? It is a fact, and more than complementary if you have a tendency to desire sweet things.
Miracle is a word that nutritionists and dietitians do not regularly use – no one fruit can cure diabetes, but certain fruits can help with blood glucose levels.
Another little known fruit that hit the headlines a few years ago is Garcinia – previously known as Garcinia Cambogia, but now more frequently referred to as Garcinia gummi-gutta, or Malabar tamarind, pot tamarind or brindle berry. Grown mainly in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and parts of India and Africa, it has multiple uses from a main meal ingredients to pickle or chutney making.Dr Oz believes Garcinia Cambogia is a ‘miracle fruit’ by nature, with its healing properties and weight loss properties. Diabetes is one of the diseases that Dr Oz feels can be vastly improved by consuming GarciniaCambogia. Once again, scientific studies have not been conclusive and various supplements using Garcinia have not been approved by authorities such as the FDA.
What fruits are safe for diabetics to eat?
Sweeping claims regarding any foodstuffs, including fruit and vegetables are often very confusing, particular those in the ‘miracle’ category. As so little is known about certain ‘miracle fruits’, it is far better to stick to normal, everyday fruits that have been tried and tested over a large number of years. The one thing for sure is that fresh or frozen fruits, as opposed to canned fruits, are far better for you. If you need to get your ‘fruit fix’ from a can, always use fruit that has been canned in natural juice – not in syrup!
Still not convinced? Rest assured that the sugar content in fruit is completely different to the sugar contained in chocolate, fizzy drinks, cakes, pastries and biscuits. Equally so, the carbohydrate content in fruit is lower than that in processed sweet items – you need to cut out unhealthy carbs in your diet in order to maintain blood sugar levels – it is not solely about sugar. Think twice about eating a muffin, and reach for a healthy, but small, piece of fruit.
Remember also to spread your fruit consumption throughout the day – it is better to split up the carb intake and not have it all in one go.
Some of the best fruits to consume for diabetes sufferers are:
Eating guava (skinless) is one of the best fruits to consume. Low in carbs but rich in dietary fibre, it is particularly good for diagnosed diabetics, or those on the cusp of diabetes, as it regulates bowel movements and is very easy on the stomach. You can eat 2 whole guava fruit and still only consume just over 2 grams of sugar (fructose).
Low in calories, but high in dietary fibre this little fruit has plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, suitable for diabetics. Very low on the glycaemic index. One medium sized passion fruit contains less than one gram of fructose.
Vitamin E is found in both fresh and dried apricots, and is a strong source of antioxidant properties, which help improve blood sugar levels. They also have a good amount of dietary fibre, which slows down digestion and controls the release of blood sugar into your system. Dried apricots are also an excellent snack item to dissuade you from picking up a biscuit!
Whilst most dark berry fruit is low in both fructose and carbohydrates, blackberries in particular are thought to actually help avoid the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
If you suffer from diabetes or are close to the diabetic level, check the glycaemic index for the fruits with the lowest sugar content and also carbohydrate content before consuming in any quantity.