Type 2 diabetes means a person’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Overtime, unchecked blood sugar levels pose serious health risks, such as heart disease. Fortunately, certain dietary decisions can help to control blood sugar levels. Evidence singles out a particular fruit.
The researchers found that raisins slashed post-meal glucose levels by 16 percent
According to research presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 72nd Annual Scientific Session, eating raisins three times per day may reduce post-meal sugar spikes significantly.
The research, conducted by Harold Bays, MD, medical director and president of Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Center (L-MARC), involved 46 adults who had slight increases in glucose levels, but no previous diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
The researchers randomly assigned participants to two groups.
The first group was told to snack on raisins three times per day for 12 weeks, while the second group snacked on pre-packaged snacks that did not contain raisins or other fruits or vegetables.
The researchers found that raisins slashed post-meal glucose levels by 16 per cent and reduced mean hemoglobin A1c by 0.12 per cent from baseline.
Pre-packaged commercial snacks on the other hand, did not significantly reduce mean post-meal glucose or hemoglobin A1c.
As Diabetes UK explained, HbA1c is a person’s average blood glucose (sugar) levels for the last two to three months. A high HbA1c means a person has too much sugar in their blood.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Bays said: “Compared to the snacking control group, the group consuming raisins had a significant statistical reduction in their after-liquid meal blood sugar levels among study participants who had mean baseline fasting glucose levels between 90 and 100 mg/dl.”
Adding: “This favourable glucose effect of raisins was further supported by the statistically significant reduction in hemoglobin A1c (a standard test for overall blood sugar control in diabetes mellitus) in the within group comparison to baseline. The within group comparisons from baseline with snacks did not demonstrate a reduction in hemoglobin A1c.”
Accounting for the results, James Painter, Ph.D., R.D., and nutrition research advisor for the California Raisin Marketing Board, said: “Raisins have a relatively low glycemic index and contain fiber and antioxidants, all factors which contribute to blood sugar control. Decreasing blood sugar and maintaining normal hemoglobin A1c levels is important because it can prevent long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system.”
Why eat fruit?
As Diabetes UK explained, there is a popular misconception that the sugar content of fruit means it is off-limits for people with type 2 diabetes. “But the sugar in whole fruit does not count towards free sugars, so it is not this type of sugar we need to cut down on,” said the health body.
Adding: “This is different to the free sugar in drinks, chocolate, cakes and biscuits.”
In fact, carbohydrate intake has the biggest impact on blood sugar levels, and fruit is a low-carb alternative to sugary foods, noted the health site.
It said: A portion of fruit, such as a medium apple, generally contains about 15 to 20g carbs, a chocolate muffin has 55g carbs and a 500ml ordinary fizzy drink has 54g carbs.
Here is another superfood proven to lower blood sugar levels.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
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