TYPE 2 diabetes can be controlled by cutting down on sugar and making other dietary changes. As fruit contains natural sugars, many diabetic people wonder if they need to avoid it, but experts warn fruit should still form part of a healthy, balanced diet. In fact, this surprising sweet fruit can help to improve blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
People with type 2 diabetes are advised to cut down on sugar, as well as foods high in saturated fat and calories, in order to control the condition.
As fruit contains natural sugars, people with diabetes may wonder if they should cut down on it.
But, health experts warn that fruit should from part of a healthy, balanced diet, even in people with diabetes.
This is because fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals needed to keep the body healthy
In fact, there is one sweet fruit in particular which could actually benefit people with diabetes, when eaten as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
This fruit is berries. According to dietitian Juliette Kellow, studies of berries have shown they can help regulate the level of sugar in the blood.
Berries may also help improve insulin sensitivity, helping it to do its job properly when controlling blood sugar.
“Despite berries containing the sugar fructose, studies show that they help to improve insulin sensitivity as well as regulate blood sugar levels,” said Kellow.
In addition, berries are high in fibre, as is all fruit, which helps the body to digest food properly.
Despite containing natural sugars, berries also have a low glycaemic index, meaning they are suitable for people with diabetes.
The glycaemic index is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar level when that food is eaten on its own.
High GI foods cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, and are therefore best to be avoided by people with diabetes.
High GI foods include sugar and sugary foods, sugary soft drinks, white bread, potatoes and white rice.
Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly, meaning they cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time, making them safer for people with diabetes.
Low and medium GI foods include some fruits and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods like porridge oats.
“A regular dose of any type of berries could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Kellow.