When it comes to dieting, there is no dearth of people willing to dish out advice about what you should and should not eat. Everyone becomes a self-appointed nutritionist. Not everyone bothers to provide scientific backing to their dieting theories. One such theory is that diabetics should steer clear of fruits, because fruits are essentially loaded with glucose and fructose. No one bothers to understand the fact that diabetics are anyway battling with a lot of sugar cravings, and fruits, perhaps, are the only sources, through which they can add some sweetness to their diets. So we decided to decode the age old question – can diabetics eat fruit? Read on.
The scientific backing
In 2017, PLOS Medicine Magazine conducted an independent study on over 500,000 men and women in China aged between 30 and 79 years to understand the effect of a fruit diet on their overall health. The study lasted over 7 years and included both, non-diabetics as well as diabetic individuals, thus making it an accurate example to consider the co-relation between fruit and diabetes, since the test lasted for a longer period and was performed on a large group of people.
Non-diabetic consumption of fruits – the data
As per the study, individuals who did not have diabetes when the study began, who had increased the consumption of fruit in their diets significantly, were 12% less likely to contract diabetes as opposed to those who did not include fruits in their diets at all. According to the researchers, they found a “dose-response” association, which simply meant that if non-diabetics increased their frequency of fruit consumption, the risk of developing diabetes, along with other diseases, in them was getting lowered with every passing day.
Fruit diet for diabetic patients – the data
The same study also tested the effects of a fruit diet for diabetic patients. At the start of the study, diabetic individuals, who ate fruits, at least thrice a week, reduced risks of death from all causes, also known as all-cause mortality, by 17% as opposed to diabetic individuals who did not consume any fruit at all. Additionally, the study uncovered that diabetics who ate fresh fruit thrice a week, were 13-28% less likely to suffer from macrovascular complications such as strokes and heart diseases as well as microvascular damages such as kidney diseases, neuropathy and retinopathy.
Findings from the study
According to Dr. Huaidong Du, the lead researcher who conducted this study, fruits are loaded with natural sugars, which make them a safe choice for diabetics. Those wondering can diabetics have fruit, should know that the sugars present in fruits are not the same as artificial sugar found in processed foods. The key take-away is that natural and artificial sugars are metabolised in different ways. Natural sugars are metabolized much more rapidly. Furthermore, fruits are also loaded with a number of natural nutrients such as vitamins, potassium, and fibre and so on, which benefit, both diabetics and non-diabetics in several ways.