Pineapples are a versatile and delicious fruit enjoyed by people all over the world. While they contain natural sugars, this does not mean that people with diabetes must avoid them altogether. Instead, people with diabetes should be smart about how much pineapple they consume and pair it with other foods to balance their blood sugar levels.
So, can pineapples be part of a healthy diet for diabetics? Let us find out.
Should You Avoid Pineapple if You Have Diabetes?
A common myth is that people with diabetes should not eat fruits because they contain natural sugar.
Fruits are a part of a balanced and nourishing diet, even if you have diabetes. Like many other whole foods, fruits provide your body with ample fibre, vitamins, and minerals. However, depriving your body of these essential nutrients can decrease the intake of antioxidants, potassium and bioflavonoids that are much needed.
Two to three servings of fruit daily are good for health, which is also true for people with diabetes. However, remember that moderation is always the key to eating fruits while having diabetes.
The glycemic index of a fruit measures how many carbs the fruit has. The index ranks how fast food can raise your blood sugar level. A high index means the fruit breaks down quickly, causing blood sugar spikes. You can still eat foods with a high glycemic index by balancing them with low glycemic foods and by exercising. It means you can enjoy some fresh pineapple as long as you carefully monitor your carbohydrate intake for the rest of the day. Additionally, exercise can help to offset the effects of the sugar in pineapples. So, as long as you eat pineapples in moderation, they should not cause any significant harm to diabetic patients.
The HealthifyMe Note
For a person with diabetes, fruits with a lower GI score are generally the best options compared to those with a high GI. Since pineapple ranks higher on the glycemic index, you need to consider the amount of pineapple you eat and which foods you pair with it. Watch your portion size, especially with high-sugar fruits like pineapples.
Eating Pineapple When You Have Diabetes: What to Avoid
While there are different ways to consume pineapple, canned pineapple drenched in sugar syrup is a definite no for people with diabetes. Skip the canned fruits, even if they seem convenient and inexpensive. Be it heavy or light syrup, syrup-glazed pineapples can spike blood sugar longer.
If you love pineapple and want to enjoy it without compromising your health, pair it with low glycemic index foods, such as greek yoghurt or low-fat paneer, which also provides extra protein. You can add it to a stir-fried chicken dish for a tasty twist.
You can go for fresh or pre-cut packaged pineapple. Just ensure it does not have added sugars. If you are craving dried pineapple or some pineapple juice, you must remember that the sugar content in these foods will be higher than what you expect, even in a small serving. Many store-bought pineapple juices and smoothies sneakily add extra sugars and empty calories, so you’ll want to avoid those. Even one full glass of homemade pineapple juice with sugar isn’t always the best option for people with diabetes.
Consuming frozen pineapple can sometimes impact your blood sugar levels less than other forms of pineapple mentioned above since the sugar content is lower in these. Keep a watch on your blood glucose levels if you introduce pineapple into your diet. If you see a significant change in your blood sugar, consult a medical professional before eating it further. Then, of course, you may omit it from your diet entirely.
The point we wish to drive forward here is that pineapple is good in moderation. There is no benefit to consuming copious amounts of pineapple every day when you know it has a comparatively high GI ranking and natural sugar content. But the fact is, despite its sugar content, pineapple still has many benefits that can reach your body without consuming much of it. So stick to a moderate – or even low – number of pineapple servings if you incorporate it into your diet. You can also try eating pineapple with foods high in fibre, protein, healthy fats and foods with low GI scores. But, of course, always consult a doctor or a dietitian when figuring out a serving size that is right for managing diabetes and your blood sugar.