The pineapple fruit tastes very sweet for some people and hence makes a lot of diabetics wonder whether pineapple is good for them or not. But does pineapple cause an increase in blood sugar of diabetics and should diabetics avoid it?
Let’s take a look at what the pineapple fruit is, the various sugars it contains, and finally establish whether it is good for diabetics.
The Pineapple fruit
Originating from South America, the pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a delicious tropical fruit. Discovered by European explorers in the 17th century, it was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pinecone. The scaly bumps on the outside are called eyes.
In addition to being a delicious fruit, it has many health benefits. However, due to its sweet nature, one might ask if this fruit is good for people with diabetes.
This article will explain in detail if the pineapple fruit is good for people with diabetes and whether they should consume them or not.
But first, we need to take a look at what diabetes is.
Diabetes, what is it?
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that results in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose). When your blood sugar rises, your pancreas receives a signal to release insulin. Insulin allows the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it means your body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin to its maximum capacity. When there is not enough insulin, blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream and with time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
A cure for diabetes is not available at the moment but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can help manage this condition.
Types of diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
This type of diabetes results from the body’s inadequate use of insulin. Excess body weight (obesity) and physical inactivity can be caused by this type of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Another type of diabetes is known for requiring a daily dose of insulin. Caused as a result of insufficient insulin production in the body. This type of diabetes can cause too much excretion of urine, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes, and fatigue.
A type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. It can happen at any stage of pregnancy but is more common in the second or third trimester.
Pregnant women or women with gestational diabetes face an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and at delivery. These women and their children are also at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future.
Factors to consider if a pineapple is good for people with diabetes include:
- The type of sugar present in pineapple
- The glycemic index of pineapple
- Other medicinal components of pineapple that may or may not be beneficial to diabetic people
Types of sugars found in pineapple
Pineapple contains simple sugars and complex sugar. The simple sugars found in pineapple include sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Simple sugars are good because they do not cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. Fibre, a complex sugar, is also present in pineapple.
Does the type of sugars in pineapple cause an increase in blood sugar?
The types of sugars found in pineapples do not cause a sharp increase in blood sugar. This is because they contain complex sugars such as fiber which take a long time to break down in the body, thus, making sure there is a slow release of sugar into the bloodstream.
This ensures that your blood sugar levels are always regulated and kept in check.
The glycemic index of pineapple
The Glycemic index is a tool used to measure the increase in blood sugar levels. This tool gives numbers (a scale of 0 to 100) to foods based on how slowly or quickly those foods can cause increases in blood sugar levels. The foods are then classified into low, medium, and high glycemic foods.
The lower the glycemic index of a food, the lower the chances of the food affecting your blood sugar levels, the higher the glycemic index of a food, the greater the chances of the food affecting your blood sugar levels.
Below is the classification of the glycemic index
Low: 0 to 55
Medium: 56 to 69
High: 70 to 100
Pineapple has a glycemic index of 59. This places pineapple in the medium (moderate) classification of the glycemic index. This makes it a good fruit for diabetic people. They can eat this fruit without having to worry about their blood sugar level going up.
The glycemic load of pineapple
A glycemic load is a tool used to measure the amount of carbohydrate in a portion of food together with how quickly it increases blood glucose levels. It is very helpful to people with diabetes. This tool helps them to assess which quantities of foods are most suitable for maintaining good blood glucose levels.
The classification of glycemic load is as follows:
Low: 0 to 10
Medium: 11 to 19
High: 20 and above
Pineapple has a glycemic load of 7 putting it in the low classification of the glycemic load. This means that one serving of pineapple will only release a small amount of the overall carbohydrate content which is available. Thus, pineapples do not increase blood sugar levels to a high level.
Can pineapple increase blood sugar?
Pineapple can increase blood sugar but just in small amounts. This is because it contains both simple and complex sugars. These sugars will not seriously increase sugar levels when taken in moderate amounts. A sharp increase in blood sugar levels will not also happen when you eat pineapples because the sugars which they contain require a long time to be broken down in the body.
Other health components of pineapple which are beneficial to diabetics
- Pineapples have a good amount of vitamin B which helps your brain to function better and boost your ability to deal with stress efficiently.
- Due to the high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C, pineapple reduces the risk of macular degeneration, an eye disease that can cause vision loss
- Eating pineapple can boost your body’s immunity. It contains vitamin C which helps the body fight diseases and infections.