TYPE 2 diabetes happens when the level of sugar in the blood is too high. Certain foods can cause higher rises in blood sugar than others – this 14p fruit can help prevent blood sugar from increasing.
fruit to help avoid rises in blood sugar
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which a person’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly.
The function of insulin is to control the level of sugar in the blood, so if it’s unable to do its job, blood sugar levels will be too high.
This is dangerous as it can lead to a number of complications involving the heart, nerves, eyes, kidneys and feet.
People with type 2 diabetes must therefore take action to control it, in order to prevent further health problems from occurring.
One way to achieve this is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and cut down on the amount of sugar consumed.
As well as the obvious sugary foods, some carbohydrates can cause blood sugar to rise quickly, which can cause potential problems for people with diabetes.
Other foods, however, cause much slower increases in blood sugar, one of which is the banana.
According to dietician Juliette Kellow and Dr Sarah Brewer in their book ‘Eat Better Live Longer’: Understand What Your Body Needs to Stay Healthy, this is because bananas are rich in a fibre called pectin, while unripe bananas contain lots of resistant starch.
Both pectin and resistant starch can slow down the digestion process and the absorption of carbohydrates, which in turn causes smaller and slower rises in blood sugar.
On the glycaemic index, bananas score between low and medium, depending on the ripeness of the banana.
The glycaemic index measures foods on how much and how quickly they raise blood sugar levels. Low GI-foods are absorbed more slowly and don’t cause large spikes in blood sugar.
People with type 2 diabetes are generally advised to follow a low GI diet in order to prevent blood sugar spikes and the associated complications from occurring.
The index runs from 0 to 100. Low GI-foods are considered to have a score of 55 or less. Medium GI-foods have a score of 56-69, while high GI-foods fall between 70 and 100.
Bananas usually score between 42 and 62, depending on the ripeness of the fruit.
So while bananas are a carbohydrate and contain natural sugars, this is counteracted by their high fibre and resistant starch content.
Green or unripe bananas contain less sugar and more resistant starch, so are the best option for avoiding blood sugar increases.
According to medical website Healthline, a study on blood sugar control in women with type 2 diabetes showed those supplementing with resistant starch had better blood sugar control than those who didn’t over a eight-week period.
Other studies have found resistant starch to have beneficial effects in people with type 2 diabetes, including improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation.
“Fruits like bananas are a healthy food that contains fibre, vitamins and minerals. You can include bananas in your diet, even if you have diabetes,” said Healthline.
“The sugars in bananas are more slowly digested and absorbed, which could prevent blood sugar spikes.”