Control your carbs intake, eat more protein instead, and avoid sugar. This has been the standard advice that most, if not all diabetic patients have heard for multiple decades from their medical doctors. The American Diabetes Association and Diabetes UK have called out on this myth of, “too much sugar consumption equals diabetes”. This is predominantly because not all sugars are created equally. The source from which our bodies are fed sugar matters. Very similar to the fact that not all calories mean the same to our bodies.
On a quick note, Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease and Type II diabetes is characterized by our pancreas failing to produce adequate insulin.
Fruits diabetes is not a misnomer – food does play an important role in the diabetes management. And getting back to the topic of sugar consumption and diabetes- fruits contain natural sugar as intended by Mother Nature. Apart from the natural sugar content, fruits are a powerful source of micronutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water. The nature of sugar present in fruits is largely different from man-made, refined, processed sugar which comes in many forms such as, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, sucrose etc. Our bodies are miracle machines and they react differently and process natural sugars differently than man-made sugar. Man-made sugar is found abundantly in white bread, processed snacks, most ready to eat breakfast, and most carbonated drinks. These processed foods, unlike fruits, are comparatively low in fiber, high in the number of preservatives or artificial food colors, and with little or no micronutrients.
Including fruits as a part of a well-balanced diet, especially for persons with diabetes, provides an instruction manual to our digestive system and metabolic process about integrating different nutrients into our bodies, releasing/ balancing various hormones, and even processing protein.
The take-home message? Our bodies metabolize the sugar in fruits differently than refined/ processed/ man-made sugar. The micronutrients, vitamins, and fiber naturally present in fruits help stabilize our hormonal and digestive health. Reaching out for grapes and apples are a safer bet than cookies or carbonated drinks.