Diabetes: 7 common fruits that can be ‘dangerous’ – run the risk of blood sugar spikes

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Diabetes affects around four million people in the UK. It is a serious condition that can have lifelong implications. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes result in the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood becoming too high.

For type 1 patients this happens when your body cannot produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which controls blood glucose.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common and the raised blood sugar levels are usually caused by being overweight or not exercising enough.

While it is widely recommended that diabetes patients eat a range of fruit in their diet, they should also be wary of fruits that have a higher glycaemic index (GI).

The GI is a system to show how quickly foods containing carbohydrates affect your blood sugar level when eaten on their own.

Diabetes.co.uk explains: “High GI foods break down very quickly causing blood glucose levels to rise sharply.

“People with diabetes refer to sharp rises in blood sugar levels as ‘spikes’ in blood sugar.

“Furthermore, for those who produce their own insulin, high GI foods can force the body to try to produce a surge of insulin to counteract the fast-acting carbohydrates and a common consequence of this is a feeling of hunger within two to three hours, which can leave the dieter craving more food.”

It warns: “For people with diabetes, this can be particularly dangerous as the ability of the body to control blood glucose levels is reduced or non-existent.”

According to Diabetes.co.uk, high GI fruits include:

  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Mango
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Pears.

Whereas lower GI fruits include berries, plums, kiwi fruit and grapefruit.

The NHS suggests that a low GI diet can be beneficial for diabetes patients, but emphasises that eating a balanced diet is also important.

It says: “Some low GI foods, such as wholegrain foods, fruit, vegetables, beans and lentils, are foods we should eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

“However, using the glycaemic index to decide whether foods or combinations of foods are healthy can be misleading.

“Foods with a high GI are not necessarily unhealthy and not all foods with a low GI are healthy.

“For example, watermelon and sometimes parsnips are high GI foods, while chocolate cake has a lower GI value.”

Diabetes.co.uk adds: “As low GI foods tend to break down more slowly, they are less likely to cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels compared to high GI foods and therefore they are a better option for keeping stable blood glucose levels.

“Favouring low GI foods over high GI foods leaves you feeling more satisfied over a longer period of time, and less likely to feel hungry before the next meal.”

Examples of other high GI foods are:

  • Sugar and sugary foods
  • Sugary soft drinks
  • White bread
  • Potatoes
  • White rice.

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