When it comes to the diets of diabetics there are innumerable ‘cans’ and ‘cannots.’ No doubt most of them are in a dilemma and left in a lurch to choose the correct food that will not spike their blood sugar levels. Keeping all this in mind, we have to tried to help you in guiding and finding out which of the following foods will be suitable for you.
Table of Contents
Can Diabetics Eat Dates?
Dates are the dried version of the sweet, fleshy fruits of the date palm tree and can be enjoyed on their own or in desserts, smoothies, and other recipes. Their natural sweetness in a small bite becomes a cause of concern for most diabetics. They are a source of fructose and each contains roughly 18 gm carbs and 67 calories. The carb content can be a cause of concern for diabetics but will not be an issue if had in moderation.
Rather it can be a healthy option for diabetics. This is because the date is extremely nutrient-rich and packed with fiber. It contains iron, potassium, vitamin B, A, B6 and K, copper, manganese, tannins, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. The fiber causes slow absorption of carbs by your body and this is ideal for diabetics since slow absorption means less spiking of blood sugar level.
Diabetics should stick to foods with a lower GI – lower glycemic index – as that will help them control their blood sugar levels. Dates have a low GI. So it can be said that when dates are eaten in moderation, they are safe for diabetics.
Dates usually have a GI varying between 44 and 53, depending on the variety. So dates can be considered as low GI carb (55 or lower). Thus dates cause less fluctuation in blood sugar and insulin levels.
Another measuring index of the effect of food on blood sugar is glycemic load (GL). GL is an account of the number of carbs in a particular serving. Two dried dates have around 36 gm carbs and a GI of around 49, while the GL amounts to 18. As such, dates can be considered to be medium GL carbs.
Therefore, if you are a diabetic, you may eat not more than 1 or 2 dates at a single time. And try to have them with a source of protein like nuts which further slows down carb absorption, thus preventing blood sugar hikes.
Can Diabetics Eat Sugar-Free Biscuits?
If you are suffering from diabetes, you need to cut down on your free sugar intake. Free sugar includes all sugar which may appear in the ingredient list in the name of glucose, maltose, molasses, glucose syrup, agave nectar, treacle, sucrose, honey, maple syrup, hydrolyzed starch, coconut palm sugar or corn syrup.
If you have Type 1 diabetes, you may have been advised to have carb-containing snacks like biscuits daily as the insulin regime then was not as flexible as now. Newer insulin and carb counting courses mean people with Type 1 diabetes have more flexibility and may not need snacks.
Sugar free biscuits mean biscuits with ‘no added sugars’ or ‘sugar free.’ But that does not imply they are free from carbohydrates. The carb will change into glucose and raise your blood sugar level.
Can Diabetics Drink Diet Coke?
Soft drinks generally are flavored non-alcoholic drinks. Diet soft drinks are artificially sweetened and are better options for diabetics as these usually have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. Most of the diet drinks have no sugar and will thus not raise blood sugar levels. But you should check the carbohydrate value on the packaging before trying the soft drink.
If you are having your diet drink at a pub or restaurant, check with the bar person or ask for the diet soft drink in a bottle or can.
If you drink sugary drinks there is a risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you are aiming at managing your weight and checking your blood sugar, you may go for diet soda. These are low in sugar and calories and are thus better alternatives to sugary drinks. Diet sodas contain 99 percent water, 5 – 10 calories and less than 1 gm of carbs for each serving. But these are sweetened with artificial sweeteners and may contain coloring agents, preservatives, natural or artificial flavors, acids, and caffeine.
Though there has been a lot of debate regarding the safety of artificial sweeteners, saccharin which is 300 times sweeter than sucrose has been considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Cancer Institute.
Aspartame, another common sweetener, has been given clearance for use in 1981 as a sugar replacement. Aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar but has no calories or carbs and will thus not affect blood glucose levels. The FDA considers artificial sweeteners as food additives and approves these before the sale. Aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin are usually found in diet cokes and all of these have been reviewed by the FDA and have their approval.
But the tough part of diet coke is that these hardly contain any nutrients. And it has its hazards if consumed excessively. But it can always be consumed in moderation.
The benefits of having a diet coke for diabetes are that it contains fewer carbs than regular soda, fewer calories, and curbs the sugar craving without a sugar overload. The downside is zero nutrition, harmful additives, health risks, and weight gain.
Can Diabetics Eat Honey?
Honey is good for diabetics but only under certain conditions. Honey is not only safe to an extent but its anti-inflammatory properties may prove to be useful for diabetics.
Honey produced by honeybees, wasps, and bumblebees from the nectar of flowers is a thick, gold-colored liquid. It consists of sucrose, water, and some other substances. It is 80 percent carbs and 20 percent water. It is a natural sweetener containing a little more calories and carbs than table sugar. One tablespoon of raw honey contains 17 gm carbs and 60 calories. Honey also contains minerals and vitamins like vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. Honey is an antioxidant too.
Honey has a smaller effect on blood sugar as compared to natural sugar. Researchers believe that unlike table sugar, honey may lead to an increase in insulin. But this does not mean that honey can be used to control blood sugar. But honey has a lower glycemic index. Also, consumption of honey causes a rise in the levels of C-peptide which if released in the bloodstream produces insulin in the body.
Honey is sweeter than sugar. So you can use it in smaller proportions. But honey is best avoided until you have your diabetes under control. You can consume it in moderation but under the guidance of your nutritionist. If your diabetes is under control and you wish to add honey to your diet, it would be preferable to choose organic, pure or raw natural honey as these are safer because these do not have any added sugar. But raw honey should not be had by pregnant women or people with weak immune systems as it is not pasteurized.
Honey has its benefits in increasing the insulin level thereby controlling your blood sugar. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a source of antioxidants. So though honey will increase your glycemic index, it can be had in moderation for the other benefits it has.
Can Diabetics Eat Jackfruit?
Jackfruit, native to South India is gaining huge popularity as a meat substitute. It has rough green skin with yellow flesh which is sweet and has a shredded meat texture and this fruit can grow up to 44 pounds.
Jackfruit has a rich content of antioxidants and vitamins but also contains a lot of natural sugar. 150 gm of jackfruit will contain –
- Calories – 143
- Protein – 3 gm
- Fiber – 2 gm
- Vitamin C – 23% of the Daily Value
- Fat – 1 gm
- Carbs – 35 gm
- Vitamin B6 – 29% of the DV
These nutrients have a major role in increasing immunity, energy production and preventing chronic inflammation and can thus be helpful for type 2 diabetic patients. But the carbs in the form of natural sugars are bound to enhance the blood sugar level.
Jackfruit has a medium GI (glycemic index) of around 50-60. This is due to the content of fiber and protein in jackfruit as they slow down the rate of digestion and thus prevent a spike in blood sugar levels. Also, jackfruit has a low glycemic load (GL) of around 13 – 18. Moreover, it contains flavonoid antioxidants that lower the risk of chronic ailments, like blood sugar control.
Diabetics can have jackfruit in moderation, like ½ cup (75 gm) which would provide only 18 gm of carbs but will come with the other benefits of this fruit.
Can Diabetics Eat Pineapple?
Pineapple can be a healthy choice for diabetics. This is because fresh or frozen pineapple is usually low in carbs, low in sodium and high in vitamin C. It has a medium glycemic index and thus can raise your blood sugar level quickly.
A ¾ cup of fresh pineapple has a GI of 56 and so pineapple should be consumed in small portions if you are a diabetic. It would be wise to pair pineapple with foods having a low GI score to avoid the sugar spikes.
Pineapples are a fat-free food rich in fiber and vitamins. It also contains antioxidants, bioflavonoids, folate, and potassium. Fresh or frozen pineapple has the lowest amount of carbs. But dried pineapple or pineapple juice usually contains more sugar. Also, avoid canned pineapples for the sugary syrup used for preservation.
So diabetics should have pineapple in moderation with low GI foods. You should not lose out on its benefits. You shI
Can Diabetics Eat Apple?
Apples are nutritious, delicious and easy to eat, have lots of health benefits but also contain a lot of carbs that are bound to affect the blood sugar level adversely. Apples are rich in vitamin C, several antioxidants and fiber. One medium apple will contain 25 gm carbs, 95 calories and 14% of the daily value for vitamin C. They also contain lots of fiber and water which makes you feel full.
The 25 gm of carbs in apple contains 4.4 gm of fiber which slows down the digestion and absorption of carbs and thus does not spike the blood sugar level quickly.
Most of the sugar in an apple is fructose and fructose consumed in a whole fruit has very minimal effect on levels of blood sugar. Also, the presence of fiber helps and the blood sugar level does not rise suddenly. Further, polyphenols are present in apples which slow down the carb digestion. Again, apples have both low GL and low GI (36). So there is a minimum rise in blood sugar.
If apples are had regularly, they may reduce insulin resistance which in turn will lead to lower blood sugar levels. This is due to the polyphenols present in the apple skin which stimulate the pancreas to release insulin and help the cells take in sugar.
Apples contain good amounts of the following antioxidants which have beneficial effects –
- Chlorogenic acid – Aids body use sugar more efficiently
- Quercetin – Slows down carb digestion, aids prevent blood sugar spikes
- Phlorizin – Slows down sugar absorption and decreases blood sugar level
If you are diabetic, include apple in your diet regularly. They will not cause your blood sugar level to shoot up suddenly, but they contain carbs. But do account for the other benefits too. They are highly nutritious.
It would be wise to eat an apple as a whole with the skin to reap all the benefits. Try avoiding apple juice. But limit your portion and stick to a medium-sized apple.
Can Diabetics Eat Brown Sugar?
Nutrition-wise, both brown and white sugar are the same. Brown sugar is obtained by adding molasses to refined white sugar. This lends it a darker color and a supply of tiny amounts of minerals and vitamins. Brown sugar is a little less on calories and carbs than white sugar. Also, brown sugar contains more iron, calcium, and potassium. But the differences are not quite pronounced.
Brown sugar is mainly made of sucrose and sucrose scores 65 in the GI (glycemic index) scale which is quite high. And this is bound to increase your blood sugar levels quickly. This may lead to a greater risk of type 2 diabetes and other ailments. Excess sugar can also impair insulin sensitivity and this is not at all welcome. With insulin sensitivity damaged, the ability to transport sugar from the bloodstream to the cells effectively is decreased.
If you are suffering from diabetes and have to choose between brown and white sugar, go for the brown variety. Adult women can have at the most 6 teaspoons (25 gm/100 calories) of added sugar per day while for men the limit is 9 teaspoons (37.5 gm/150 calories) as prescribed by the American Heart Association.
Thus it is evident that brown sugar is in no way beneficial for diabetic people and as such its use should be minimized in the diet.
Can Diabetics Eat Cheese?
People with diabetes can eat cheese as this calcium-rich food has many nutritional properties which make it an integral part of a healthy balanced diet.
Cheese helps in maintaining a healthy level of glucose. Most cheeses have little to no carbs and are thus quite low in the GI (glycemic index) scale. But you have to choose the right cheese. While cheddar cheese has only 0.4 gm carbs per ounce, Swiss cheese has 1.5 gm of carbs per ounce.
Cheese is rich in protein: Cheese is high in protein and this balances the sugar spike caused by carbs. The presence of proteins means longer burning time and also feeling fuller for a longer time thus decreasing craving for unhealthy foods. Again the protein content varies depending on the type of cheese.
Cheese lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A research finding says that cheese lowers the risk of development of type 2 diabetes. But the same has not been established.
But this does not mean that diabetics can have as much cheese as they feel like.
This is because cheese is high on calories and fat. Being high on fat it is a threat for cardiovascular patients. And, being high on calories, the portions of cheese need to be controlled. If you are allergic to dairy products, you can choose dairy-free cheese options. But these contain less protein.
Again cheeses are higher in sodium and diabetics are supposed to keep a tab on sodium as it can increase blood pressure and cause cardiovascular diseases. You may settle for low-sodium options.
The best cheese is the natural varieties with lower sodium, lower fat content and maximum protein. Processed cheese should be avoided as far as possible. So you can have cheese in moderation and in combination with other healthy foods if you are diabetic.