Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes is characterised by volatile blood sugar levels brought on by a dysfunction in the way the body produces insulin. The primary role of insulin is to regulate blood sugar levels, so when this mechanism is faulty, blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels. Fortunately, you can counter blood sugar level rises by making sensible dietary decisions.
Blood sugar levels rise in response to eating food and not all foods have the same impact on blood sugar levels.
Those with a high carbohydrate and sugar content are the worst offenders because they cause blood sugar levels to rise sharply.
Although it may seem simple enough to avoid the worst culprits – sugary pastries are clearly risky – some can food items can present hidden health risks.
For example, despite their nutritional benefits, certain fruits can cause blood sugar levels to shoot up if you’re not careful.
According to Nataly Komova, RD and fitness expert at JustCBD, mangoes can spell trouble for people with diabetes.
As Ms Komova explained, mangoes are a common tropical fruit which can “worsen” diabetes conditions due to their high sugar content, which can be around 23 to 25 g per glass.
Likewise, pineapples are a healthy fruit that’s rich in sugars which are responsible for their sweetness.
“The sticky delicious fluids can hold up to 16 g of sugar in a single glass which is too high for diabetic people as it can cause a spike in the blood sugar levels,” warns Ms Komova.
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The health expert also advises going easy on cherries because, although they are packed with fibre and antioxidant properties essential for smooth digestion and overall health, they also can land you in trouble.
Cherries contain over 25 grams of sugar amounts, which is not “ideal in diabetic people as it negatively affects their glycaemic index and glucose levels”.
The glycaemic index is a rating system that measures the impact different carbohydrates have on blood sugar levels.
Finally, Ms Komova says to be aware of bananas. “They are high in carbs that are easily converted into glucose in the body especially when taken in excess amount plus the high sugar which gives bananas the sweet taste can spike blood sugar and worsen diabetic conditions.”
Ease up but do not avoid
Eating fruit provides myriad health benefits so you should not cut out fruit entirely.
It’s also important to remember that it’s a relative risk and quantity matters.
Doctor Tariq Mahmood, Medical Director at Concepto Diagnostics, said: “You might fear that living with diabetes means the elimination of fruits in your diet, but the sugar in whole fruits isn’t the type of sugar which people with diabetes need to cut down on, found in the likes of chocolate and sweets.
“Fruits are associated with lowering your risk of heart disease while providing fibre, minerals and vitamins, making them a very important part of your diet.”
Doctor Mahmoud continues: “Rather than sugar, the amount of carbohydrate you consume affects blood glucose levels the most.
“Even still, the likes of cakes and fizzy drinks have more carbohydrates than fruits.”
According to the doc, one issue which arises is that when people eat fruit, they often have very large portions in one sitting relative to the recommended serving size.
“One portion of fresh fruit is roughly what fits into the palm of an adult’s hand, per NHS guidance.”
As he rightly pointed out, “eating one large banana, for example, counts for one and a half portions of fruit – equating to approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates”.
“However, eating a banana is healthier than chocolate or sweets and safer for people with diabetes as it doesn’t have any free sugar, but people living with diabetes should be mindful of the amount of carbohydrates they consume.”
The doc added: “Fruit juices and smoothies accentuate this issue and are the worst offenders, as they make it very easy to eat a large portion of fruit in a manner which is easier to digest (liquid).
“Many will also contain the same free sugars found in chocolate and sweets. Just 150 millilitres can contain 15 grams of carbohydrates, the equivalent of a medium apple, taking into consideration that a standard glass fills nearly 250 millilitres.”
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