Updated: Jul 5
Is Fruit A Sugar?
Yes, the main component in fruits is carbohydrate or also known as sugar. Almost all of the calories from fruit are derived from sucrose, which is a simple carbohydrate or simple sugar. Fruit, as any other carbohydrate may raise blood glucose if taken in excess.
Carbohydrate (link: Eating Healthy for Diabetes) provides most of the energy needed by our body. It can be grouped into two types upon their chemical structure. Yet, many people are still confused about the differences between simple and complex carbohydrate.
Is Sugar From Fruits Safe for Diabetics?
Yes, fruit sugar is safe for diabetics. However, they are still carbohydrate that produces calories that has to be counted into daily requirement of people with diabetes. Sugar can be classified into two groups that is simple carbohydrate and complex carbohydrate.
Sugar from fruits comes under simple carbohydrate as in the above figure. It is absorbed into our blood stream much slower than glucose. Fructose also does not require insulin for the metabolism because predominantly, it is metabolized in the liver compared to glucose and sucrose.
Can People With Diabetes Eat Fruits?
In discussing about healthy diet, it is a fact that our body needs all the essential nutrients in sufficient amounts. This is true in the diabetic diets too! Fruit is healthy for everyone, including people with diabetes. Experts suggest that most people with diabetes can — and should — include fresh fruit in their daily diet. Fruit gives you energy, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Fibre helps to delay sugar absorption, increase satiety level, reducing cholesterol and help to reduce constipation. When people eat enough fruits, they have less chance of having a stroke or getting heart disease especially for people with type 2 diabetes.
It is true that different types of carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar level differently. It is common to think sugar in fruit will raise our blood sugar too fast or too high. However, experts suggest to pay more attention on the total amount of carbohydrate for people with diabetes. This is because, total carbohydrate intake has more effect on blood sugar than the type. Even though fruit contains natural sugars, most varieties hold a low glycaemic index (read : Glycaemic Index & Glycaemic Load) due to their fructose and fibre content, most fruit is easily portable, making it a terrific on-the-go snack.
Nutrient in Fruits
As the interest in nutrition increases, more information on fruits and its content grows. Fruit is hundred percent natural and rich in nutrients which would benefit us. Here are some example of important nutrients and their functions that we can obtain from fruits.
How Much Fruit Do I Need A Day?
Fruit is a carbohydrate that has to be counted in a daily meal of people with diabetes. The Malaysian Dietary Guidelines 2010 strongly advised fruit to be taken 2 – 3 servings per day at one serving (read : Diabetic Meal Plan) per meal. You can talk to your dietitian about the amount, frequency and types of fruit you should eat.
Tips Eating Fruit for Diabetic
Many people wanted to know about which fruit that do not raise the blood sugar immediately. Here are some tips in choosing fruit which would benefit people with diabetes :
a) High Fibre Content
Fruits which are rich in fibre have a lower glycaemic index. Examples are citrus fruits (oranges), rose apple, guava, pear, peaches and apples. They are rich in soluble fibre, less likely to cause spikes in the blood sugar of people with diabetes. The fibres in these fruits slow down the absorption rate of sugar in the bloodstream.
b) Low Glycaemic Index (GI)
Most fruits have a low glycaemic index because of their fructose and fibre content. These fruit groups are better choices for people with diabetes. Glycemic Index is an indicator to describe the effect of carbohydrates present in food on our blood glucose levels. General rule is, low GI fruits will produce small change in our blood glucose and levels of insulin. These fruits release the glucose slowly into the blood. As a result, it avoid sudden rise in blood glucose levels. This is an important factor in diabetes management.
This article is written by Pn. Hjh. Salha binti Mohamed Nor, published under MyHealth, MOH Malaysia