Honey and Diabetes: Is It Safe?

honey and diabetes

Some people add honey to their coffee and tea or use it as a sweetener when baking. But is honey safe for people with diabetes? The short answer is yes, but only under certain conditions.

People living with diabetes have to control and manage their carbohydrate and sugar intake. This doesn’t mean they have to avoid sweets altogether.

In moderation, honey isn’t only safe, but it has anti-inflammatory properties that might also reduce diabetes complications.

What is honey?

Honey is a thick, golden-colored liquid produced by honeybees and other insects, like some bumblebees and wasps.

It comes from the nectar within flowers, which bees collect and store in their stomachs until back at the hive.

Nectar is made up of sucrose (sugar), water, and other substances. It’s roughly 80 percent carbohydrate and 20 percent water. Bees produce honey by ingesting and regurgitating the nectar over and over again. This process removes the water.

Afterward, bees store the honey in honeycombs to be used as an energy source during the winter when it’s harder to find food.

Although it’s a natural sweetener, honey has a bit more carbohydrates and calories per teaspoon than table sugar.

According to the United States Department of AgricultureTrusted Source, 1 tablespoon of raw honey has about 60 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates.

Honey also contains many vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It’s also an antioxidant, which are substances that prevent and slow cell damage.

 

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Honey can be raw or processed

Raw honey is also known as unfiltered honey. This honey is extracted from a beehive and then strained to remove impurities.

Processed honey, on the other hand, undergoes a filtration process. It’s also pasteurized (exposed to high heat) to destroy yeast and create a longer shelf life.

Processed honey is smoother, but the filtration and pasteurizing process does remove some of its nutrients and antioxidants.

There are about 300 different types of honey in the United States. These types are determined by the source of the nectar, or more simply, what the bees eat.

For example, blueberry honey is retrieved from the flowers of the blueberry bush, whereas avocado honey comes from avocado blossoms.

The source of the nectar affects the taste of the honey and its color.

How does honey affect blood sugar?

Because honey is a natural sugar and a carbohydrate, it’s only natural for it to affect your blood sugar in some way. When compared to table sugar, however, it appears that honey has a smaller effect.

A 2004 study evaluated the effects of honey and table sugar on blood sugar levels. This study involved individuals with and without type 1 diabetes.

Researchers found that in the group of people with diabetes, honey caused an initial increase in blood sugar 30 minutes after consumption. However, participant’s blood sugar levels later decreased and remained at lower levels for two hours.

This leads researchers to believe that honey, unlike table sugar, may cause an increase in insulin, which is an important hormone for controlling blood sugar. More research is needed.

Can honey prevent diabetes?

Even though honey may increase insulin levels and help people with diabetes control their blood sugar, there doesn’t appear to be any conclusive research supporting honey as a preventive factor for diabetes. This might be plausible, however.

Researchers have found a possible connection between honey and a lower glycemic index.

In a study of 50 people with type 1 diabetes and 30 people without type 1 diabetes, researchers found that, compared to sugar, honey had a lower glycemic effect on all participants.

It also raised their levels of C-peptide, a substance released into the bloodstream when the body produces insulin.

A normal level of C-peptide means the body is making sufficient insulin. More studies are needed to determine whether honey can be used for the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Are there risks to eating honey if you have diabetes?

Keep in mind that honey is sweeter than sugar. If you substitute honey for sugar, you only need a little.

Because honey can affect blood sugar, avoid it and other sweeteners until your diabetes is under control.

Honey should be consumed in moderation. Speak with your healthcare provider before using it as an added sweetener.

If your diabetes is well-controlled and you want to add honey to your diet, choose pure, organic, or raw natural honey. These types are safer for people with diabetes because all-natural honey doesn’t have any added sugar.

However, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems shouldn’t consume raw honey, as it’s not pasteurized.

If you purchase processed honey from a grocery store, it may also contain sugar or syrup. The added sweetener can affect your blood sugar differently.

Are there benefits to eating honey if you have diabetes?

One benefit of eating honey is that it could increase your insulin level and help control your blood sugar.

Replacing sugar with honey can also be beneficial, considering how honey is a source of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.

A diet rich in antioxidants can improve how your body metabolizes sugar, and the anti-inflammatory properties in honey could potentially reduce diabetes complications.

Inflammation can lead to insulin resistance, which is when the body doesn’t respond properly to insulin.

The takeaway

Honey is a natural sweetener that could have a positive effect on your glycemic index. But as with any type of sweetener, moderation is key.

Talk to your doctor before adding honey to your diet. Honey isn’t right for everyone, including people who need to lower their blood sugar levels. If you eat honey, make sure it’s organic, raw, or pure honey that doesn’t contain added sugars.

11 Vitamin-Packed Superfoods for Diabetes

Beans

What makes a food “super”? When it comes to type 2 diabetes, it’s not just about foods that pack lots of nutrients. For a diabetes-friendly diet, you also need foods that will help keep your blood sugar (glucose) levels in check. There is no one single best food for type 2 diabetes. Instead, the best diet for type 2 diabetes is one that is based on whole foods and is rich in fiber, protein, and a moderate amount of healthy carbohydrates.

It’s true that people with type 2 diabetes need to watch their carb intake, but they don’t have to follow a fad low-carb diet. On the contrary, says Leah Kaufman, RD, CDCES, of Leah Kaufman Nutrition in New York City, the best diet for people with type 2 diabetes is “a well-balanced diet that has a healthy amount of carbs, protein, healthy fats, and vegetables per meal.”

While changing your diet won’t cure diabetes, it can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes complications, such as heart disease and neuropathy (nerve damage). Prioritizing a healthy eating plan is even more crucial now, as the novel coronavirus rages on in the United States and beyond. That’s because people with diabetes are among the groups at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keeping your blood glucose in check has never been more important, and food can play a big role in that effort. In fact, diet affects type 2 diabetes in several ways, including glucose regulation, heart health, weight maintenance, and mood.

How can you tell a good food from a bad one when it comes to managing diabetes? “Look for items that contain healthy fats and are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” says Sue McLaughlin, RD, CDCES, at Burgess Health Center in Onawa, Iowa. It’s also crucial to eat a wide variety of foods to make sure you’re getting a healthy mix of macronutrients, phytochemicals, and essential fatty acids.

Unsure where to start? Check out these 11 tips for adding more superfoods to your diabetes diet!

1. Swap Out Meat for Beans and Lentils for Less Fat and More Fiber

High in fiber and protein, beans are digested slowly in your body, making them great for managing blood glucose levels in a type 2 diabetes diet. Just ¼ cup of any type of beans will provide as much protein as 1 ounce (oz) of a meat protein equivalent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

No matter which type of bean you choose, you’ll also gain a significant amount of your daily fiber needs from a 1 cup serving. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, 1 cup of baked beans offers 10 grams (g) of fiber, while 1 cup of black beans has 15 g. Women need an average of 21 to 25 g of fiber per day, while men need between 30 and 38 g. According to an article published in the January-February 2017 issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, only about 5 percent of the U.S. population meets that threshold, and yet a high-fiber diet is associated with a reduced risk of various diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart disease, and even some cancers. (Just be sure to increase your intake of fiber slowly, and drink plenty of water, to reduce diarrhea, per the Mayo Clinic.)

Other legumes offer similar health benefits that are key in managing diabetes. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Canadian researchers found that eating beans, chickpeas, and lentils was associated with improved blood glucose control, reduced blood pressure, and lower cholesterol and triglyceride (fat found in the blood) levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Those qualities are important because people with diabetes are at a higher risk for heart problems than the general population, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

 

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What’s more, beans are good sources of magnesium and potassium. Diabetes is associated with magnesium deficiency, notes an article published in August 2015 in the World Journal of Diabetes, and potassium plays a role in further boosting heart health because it helps regulate blood pressure, notes the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

 

2. Eat Salmon for Omega-3 Fatty Acids

a salmon fillet with a sprig of rosemary

Many types of seafood are good for people with diabetes. According to the NIH, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by helping lower the blood fats called triglycerides. Just be sure to avoid or limit your consumption of fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish, swordfish, marlin, and king mackerel, as outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Eating fish twice a week, which is recommended by the American Heart Association, has other far-reaching benefits: A study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases found that fish may protect people with diabetes against kidney problems. Fish is considered a diabetes-friendly food as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Choose blackened or grilled fish over fried preparations.

 

3. Consider Tree Nuts for Other Sources of Healthy Fats

assorted nuts

Loaded with fiber and protein, nuts are filling and contain high levels of unsaturated fats, the kind that contribute to HDL, or “good” cholesterol, making them a boon to your heart health. But when it comes to stabilizing blood sugar, polyunsaturated fats in tree nuts — such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios — are especially beneficial. (As a side note, peanuts aren’t tree nuts; they’re legumes.)

In a review and meta-analysis published in July 2014 in BMJ Open, Canadian researchers looked at data from 12 clinical trials and found that eating two servings of tree nuts a day lowered and stabilized blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and unhealthy cholesterol levels (dyslipidemia), and stabilized metabolic syndrome.

“Plant-based healthy fats can improve lipid levels,” says Kaufman. She recommends adding foods rich in polyunsaturated fats to help reduce high cholesterol related to elevated blood glucose, but with a caveat. “Although healthy, these foods do have a higher amount of calories, so I would limit them to one serving per day,” Kaufman notes. The Cleveland Clinic defines one serving as 1 oz or 35 peanuts, 24 almonds, 14 walnut halves, or 18 cashews.

4. Grab a Handful of Fresh Blueberries for Disease-Fighting Antioxidants

Blueberries

While all berries contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, blueberries may be one of the most beneficial for people who have, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes. “Antioxidants,” says Kaufman, “are a broad term used to describe a food that can help protect the body from damage. Antioxidants can be found in the vitamins of the actual food, or even the coloring.” In general, the deeper the color, the higher the antioxidant content.

In an article published in the British Medical Journal, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that for every three servings of blueberries (as well as grapes and apples) eaten per week, people reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 26 percent compared with those who ate less than one serving per month. The authors based their conclusions on longitudinal studies of previous clinical trials conducted between 1984 and 2008, 1986 and 2008, and 1991 and 2009.

Fiber-rich berries also have the added benefit of satisfying your sweet tooth without any added sugars. Swapping out cookies for blueberries and other antioxidant-rich fruits will reduce blood sugar while keeping sugar cravings at bay. “Patients with diabetes should generally stay away from refined sugars and processed carbs to improve glucose control,” Kaufman says.

 

5. Have a Side of Broccoli to Increase Your Intake of Vitamins A and C

Broccoli

A review of clinical studies published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may help reduce the risk of cancer.

Loaded with antioxidants, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A and is high in vitamin C, two nutrients essential for anyone, regardless of a diabetes diagnosis. According to the USDA, 1 cup of cooked, previously frozen broccoli (without added fat) supplies 93.8 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A, or about 10 percent of the daily value (DV), and 73.4 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, or about 82 percent of the DV.

Plus, with 5.52 g of fiber (22 percent of the DV), broccoli is filling — which makes it a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight and control type 2 diabetes.

6. Indulge Your Potato Craving With Fiber-Rich Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

When it comes to foods for type 2 diabetes, not all potatoes are created equal. To keep your blood sugar levels in check, it’s best to reach for sweet potatoes, which are high in fiber (eat the skin for more fiber), as well as a host of other vitamins. According to the USDA, one boiled medium-size sweet potato (with no fat added during cooking) offers 3.75 g of fiber, or 15 percent of the DV.

“I typically recommend about one-half a plate of nonstarchy vegetables per meal and one-quarter a plate of fiber-rich starchy vegetables, such as sweet potato with skin on, to increase overall fiber intake,” says Kaufman, though it’s important to work with your healthcare team to figure out how much starchy vegetables is right for you. Other starchy vegetables you can eat in moderation include peas and corn.

Another important consideration is the cooking process. When boiled, sweet potatoes are a low glycemic index (GI) food, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar as much as regular potatoes, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Baking, roasting, and frying are the worst ways to prepare sweet potatoes for people with type 2 diabetes, they found.

 

7. Incorporate Spinach and Kale Into Pastas and Salads

Spinach and Kale

According to a previous review, eating 1 ½ cup of dark leafy greens, including spinach and kale, each day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent. Though the reason is unclear, it may be that leafy greens have a protective effect because they contain antioxidants like vitamins A and C. A cup of fresh, cooked kale (without fat added) offers 879 mcg of vitamin A, or about 98 percent of the DV, and 52.9 mg of vitamin C, or about 58 percent of the DV, notes the USDA. Leafy greens are also low in calories and carbohydrates (the same serving of kale has 36 calories and only 7.3 g of carbs), which is ideal for folks with type 2 diabetes.

8. Savor Your Morning Bowl of Oatmeal for Blood Sugar Control

Oatmeal

Eating whole-grain oats may help you hit your target A1C and boost heart health. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in December 2015 in the journal Nutrients found that people with type 2 diabetes who ate oatmeal for breakfast had better postprandial glucose readings and lipid profiles than people who ate control breakfasts. Postprandial glucose readings measure glucose levels two hours after eating, and lipid profiles can help indicate heart health. It’s no mystery why oats are great in a diabetes diet — they’re another good source of fiber. The USDA notes that a ½ cup of cooked oats provides 4 g, or 15 percent of the DV, of fiber.

For the healthiest options of oatmeal, choose steel-cut or old-fashioned oats with no added salt, sugar, or preservatives. For a creamier texture, cook them in low-fat milk. Add toppings like berries, seeds, and nuts for a flavorful, filling breakfast.

 

9. Slice Open a Tomato for Heart-Healthy Lycopene

Tomatoes

Nothing beats biting into a ripe, juicy tomato — and luckily, folks with diabetes don’t have to give them up. In fact, tomatoes are ideal for a diabetes diet. “Foods such as blueberries and tomatoes with rich coloring can be higher in antioxidants and should be consumed regularly by those with diabetes,” says Kaufman.

This superfood may help lower blood pressure and LDL(“bad”) cholesterol, which may lessen the risk for heart disease. A report published in the British Journal of Nutrition from a 10-year study suggested that that lycopene, a key nutrient in tomatoes, may help reduce the risk of heart disease by 26 percent. Keep in mind that your body will be able to absorb more lycopene from cooked tomatoes than from raw ones.

10. Go Greek With Your Yogurt for More Protein and Other Nutrients

Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds and kiwi

Creamy and delicious, yogurt is a rich source of calcium, protein, and magnesium. It can also deliver valuable probiotics, which, according to a study published in April 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, can help reduce the risk of weight gain and obesity, as well as cardiovascular disease.

Opt for Greek yogurt; it’s slightly higher in protein than regular yogurt, which helps keep you fuller longer. According to the USDA, 1 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt offers 23 g of protein, while the same serving of nonfat plain yogurt contains 14 g of protein.

Read nutrition labels carefully and avoid any Greek yogurt products that have added sugars. Your best bet is to select plain, fat-free versions and add some sweetness with berries.

 

11. Get Your Monounsaturated Fats With Heart-Healthy Avocados

Avocados for Healthy Fats

Known for their heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados top the charts in terms of health benefits. According to a review published in the journal Critical Reviews of Food, Science, and Nutrition, avocados can help lower cholesterol, promote normal blood pressure, and reduce inflammation, thanks to their high fiber content, potassium, and lutein. One serving of avocado (a third of a medium-sized avocado, or 50 g) has 80 calories, 6 g of healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, according to California Avocados.

 

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Can You Eat Potatoes If You Have Diabetes?

Whether baked, mashed, fried, boiled, or steamed, potatoes are one of the most popular foods in the human diet.

They’re rich in potassium and B vitamins, and the skin is a great source of fiber.

However, if you have diabetes, you may have heard that you should limit or avoid potatoes.

In fact, there are many misconceptions about what people with diabetes should and shouldn’t eat. Many people assume that because potatoes are high in carbs, they’re off-limits if you have diabetes.

The truth is, people with diabetes can eat potatoes in many forms, but it’s important to understand the effect they have on blood sugar levels and the portion size that’s appropriate.

This article tells you everything you need to know about potatoes and diabetes.

Different types of potatoes

How do potatoes affect blood sugar levels?

Like any other carb-containing food, potatoes increase blood sugar levels.

When you eat them, your body breaks down the carbs into simple sugars that move into your bloodstream. This is what’s often called a spike in blood sugar levels (1).

The hormone insulin is then released into your blood to help transport the sugars into your cells so that they can be used for energy (1).

In people with diabetes, this process is not as effective. Instead of sugar moving out of the blood and into your cells, it remains in circulation, keeping blood sugar levels higher for longer.

Therefore, eating high-carb foods and/or large portions can be detrimental to people with diabetes.

In fact, poorly managed diabetes is linked to heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, amputation, and vision loss (23456).

Therefore, it’s usually recommended that people with diabetes limit their digestible carb intake. This can range from a very low carb intake of 20–50 grams per day to a moderate restriction of 100–150 grams per day (789).

The exact amount varies depending on your dietary preferences and medical goals (910).

SUMMARYPotatoes spike blood sugar levels as carbs are broken down into sugars and move into your bloodstream. In people with diabetes, the sugar isn’t cleared properly, leading to higher blood sugar levels and potential health complications.

 

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How many carbs are in potatoes?

Potatoes are a high carb food. However, the carb content can vary depending on the cooking method.

Here is the carb count of 1/2 cup (75–80 grams) of potatoes prepared in different ways (11):

  • Raw: 11.8 grams
  • Boiled: 15.7 grams
  • Baked: 13.1 grams
  • Microwaved: 18.2 grams
  • Oven-baked fries (10 steak-cut frozen): 17.8 grams
  • Deep-fried: 36.5 grams

Keep in mind that an average small potato (weighing 170 grams) contains about 30 grams of carbs and a large potato (weighing 369 grams) approximately 65 grams. Thus, you may eat more than double the number of carbs listed above in a single meal (12).

In comparison, a single piece of white bread contains about 14 grams of carbs, 1 small apple (weighing 149 grams) 20.6 grams, 1 cup (weighing 158 grams) of cooked rice 28 grams, and a 12-ounce (350-ml) can of cola 38.5 grams (13141516).

SUMMARYThe carb content of potatoes varies from 11.8 grams in 1/2 cup (75 grams) of diced raw potato to 36.5 grams in a similar serving size of french fries. However, the actual serving size of this popular root vegetable is often much larger than this.

Are potatoes high GI?

A low GI diet can be an effective way for people with diabetes to manage blood sugar levels (171819).

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much a food raises blood sugar compared with a control, such as 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of white bread (111).

Foods that have a GI greater than 70 are considered high GI, which means they raise blood sugar more quickly. On the other hand, foods with a GI of less than 55 are classed low (111).

In general, potatoes have a medium to high GI (20).

However, the GI alone isn’t the best representation of a food’s effect on blood sugar levels, as it doesn’t take into account portion size or cooking method. Instead, you can use the glycemic load (GL).

This is the GI multiplied by the actual number of carbs in a portion, divided by 100. A GL of less than 10 is low, while a GL greater than 20 is considered high. Generally, a low GI diet aims to keep the daily GL under 100 (11).

Potato variety and the GI and GL

Both the GI and GL can vary by potato variety and cooking method.

For example, a 1 cup (150 gram) serving of potato may be high, medium or low GL depending on the variety (1120):

  • High GL: Desiree (mashed), french fries
  • Medium GL: white, Russet Burbank, Pontiac, Desiree (boiled), Charlotte, potato crisps, instant mashed potato
  • Low GL: Carisma, Nicola

If you have diabetes, choosing varieties like Carisma and Nicola is a better option to slow the rise of blood sugar levels after eating potatoes.

How to lower the GI and GL of a potato

The way a potato is prepared also affects the GI and GL. This is because cooking changes the structure of the starches and thus how fast they’re absorbed into your bloodstream.

In general, the longer a potato is cooked the higher the GI. Therefore, boiling or baking for long periods tends to increase the GI.

Yet, cooling potatoes after cooking can increase the amount of resistant starch, which is a less digestible form of carbs. This helps lower the GI by 25–28% (2122).

This means that a side of potato salad may be slightly better than french fries or hot baked potatoes if you have diabetes. French fries also pack more calories and fat due to their cooking method.

Additionally, you can lower the GI and GL of a meal by leaving the skins on for extra fiber, adding lemon juice or vinegar, or eating mixed meals with protein and fats — as this helps slow the digestion of carbs and the rise in blood sugar levels (23).

For example, adding 4.2 ounces (120 grams) of cheese to a 10.2 ounce (290 gram) baked potato lowers the GL from 93 to 39 (24).

Keep in mind that this much cheese also contains 42 grams of fat and will add nearly 400 calories to the meal.

As such, it’s still necessary to consider the overall number of carbs and the quality of the diet, not just the GI or GL. If controlling weight is one of your goals, your total calorie intake is also important.

SUMMARYA low GI and GL diet can be beneficial for people with diabetes. Potatoes tend to have a medium to high GI and GL, but cooled cooked potatoes, as well as varieties like Carisma and Nicola, are lower and make a better choice for people with diabetes.

Risks of eating potatoes

Although it’s safe for most people with diabetes to eat potatoes, it’s important to consider the amount and types you consume.

Eating potatoes both increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and may have negative effects on people with existing diabetes.

One study in 70,773 people found that for every 3 servings per week of boiled, mashed, or baked potatoes, there was a 4% increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes — and for french fries, the risk increased to 19% (25).

Additionally, fried potatoes and potato chips contain high amounts of unhealthy fats that may increase blood pressure, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and lead to weight gain and obesity — all of which are associated with heart disease (26272829).

This is particularly dangerous for people with diabetes, who often already have an increased risk of heart disease (30).

Fried potatoes are also higher in calories, which can contribute to unwanted weight gain (272931).

People with type 2 diabetes are often encouraged to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight to help manage blood sugar and reduce the risk of complications (32).

Therefore, french fries, potato chips, and other potato dishes that use large amounts of fats are best avoided.

If you’re having trouble managing your blood sugar levels and diet, speak with a healthcare provider, dietitian, or diabetes educator.

SUMMARYEating unhealthy potato foods, such as chips and french fries, increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and complications, such as heart disease and obesity.

Good replacements for potatoes

Although you can eat potatoes if you have diabetes, you may still want to limit them or replace them with healthier options.

Look for high fiber, lower carb, and low GI and GL foods like the following (33):

  • Carrots and parsnips. Both are low GI and GL and have less than 10 grams of carbs per 2.8-ounce (80-gram) serving. They’re great boiled, steamed, or baked.
  • Cauliflower. This vegetable is an excellent alternative to potato either boiled, steamed, or roasted. It’s very low in carbs, making it a terrific option for people on a very low-carb diet.
  • Pumpkin and squash. These are low in carbs and have a low to medium GI and a low GL. They’re a particularly good replacement for baked and mashed potatoes.
  • Taro. This root is low in carbs and has a GL of just 4. Taro can be sliced thinly and baked with a little oil for a healthier alternative to potato chips.
  • Sweet potato. This veggie has a lower GI than some white potatoes and varies between a medium and high GL. These tubers are also a great source of vitamin A.
  • Legumes and lentils. Most foods in this category are high in carbs but have a low GL and are rich in fiber. However, you should be careful with serving sizes as they still increase blood sugar levels.

Another good way to avoid large portions of high-carb foods is to fill at least half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, and lettuce.

SUMMARYLower carb replacements for potato include carrots, pumpkin, squash, parsnip, and taro. High carb but lower GI and GL options include sweet potato, legumes, and lentils.

The bottom line

Potatoes are a versatile and delicious vegetable that can be enjoyed by everyone, including people with diabetes.

However, because of their high carb content, you should limit portion sizes, always eat the skin, and choose low GI varieties, such as Carisma and Nicola.

In addition, it’s best to stick with boiling, baking, or steaming and avoid fried potatoes or potato chips, which are high in calories and unhealthy fats.

If you’re struggling to make healthy choices to manage your diabetes, consult your healthcare provider, dietitian, or diabetes educator.

7 Health Benefits of Turmeric

Not familiar with turmeric? While you might not have a jar of the spice in your cupboard, it’s likely you are already acquainted. It’s what gives mustard and curry their vibrant coloring.

While a great addition to foods needing that golden hue, turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties that benefit your health.

Registered dietitian Nicole Hopsecger, RD, discusses turmeric’s many benefits and shares advice on how to incorporate turmeric into your daily life.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant, which is a perennial in the ginger family. Its major active ingredient is curcumin. “Curcumin gives turmeric that yellowish color,” Hopsecger says. “But beware: It stains easily. Try not to get it on your clothing!”

Turmeric’s treasure lies in curcumin’s benefits. Curcumin has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers are investigating whether it may help diseases in which inflammation plays a role — from arthritis to ulcerative colitis.

Turmeric health benefits

The spice, which is easy to add to smoothies and curries, shows promise when it comes to the following health benefits.

Lessens inflammation

For chronic conditions where inflammation starts to affect tissues in your body, taking turmeric may be beneficial.

In one study of patients with ulcerative colitis, those who took 2 grams of curcumin a day along with prescription medication were more likely to stay in remission than those who took the medicine alone.

“It won’t necessarily help during an active flare-up, but it may help prolong remission,” Hopsecger explains.

Improves memory

Another clinical trial showed that 90 milligrams of curcumin taken twice a day for 18 months helped improve memory performance in adults without dementia.

“Researchers thought that the reduction in brain inflammation and curcumin’s antioxidant properties led to less decline in neurocognition, which is the ability to think and reason,” Hopsecger says. “Curcumin may also have a role in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease — however, that’s an area where we need more research.”

Lessens pain

Turmeric has also deep roots in both Chinese traditional medicine and Ayurveda for treating arthritis. Research suggests that taking turmeric extract could potentially reduce pain from osteoarthritis, though further study is still needed.

“But I wouldn’t rely on a curcumin supplement alone,” Hopsecger notes. “Medical management should come first.”

Fights free radicals

Turmeric has antioxidant properties and one study shows that it may protect your body from free radicals by neutralizing them.

Another study suggests that turmeric’s antioxidant effects may also stimulate the action of other antioxidants.

Lowers risk of heart disease

With its ability to help reduce inflammation and oxidation, turmeric could lower the risk of heart disease.

Studies show that turmeric may help reverse the heart disease process. In healthy middle-aged and older adults who took curcumin supplements for 12 weeks, resistance artery endothelial production — which plays a significant role in high blood pressure — was increased.

Another study followed 121 people who had coronary artery bypass surgery. A few days before and after the surgery, the group that took 4 grams of curcumin a day saw a 65% decreased risk of having a heart attack in the hospital.

Turmeric also may be helpful when used along with medication for managing cholesterol levels. Research shows that curcumin is safe and may protect those at risk for heart disease by lowering certain levels of cholesterol, though more study is needed to look at how much and what type is effective.

Helps fight depression

If you have depression, the protein known as a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is reduced and your hippocampus, which helps with learning and memory, starts to shrink. A study shows that curcumin can boost BDNF levels and may reverse changes.

Another study shows that curcumin was just as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in lessening symptoms of depression. Curcumin may also increase levels of serotonin and dopamine — which are chemicals in your brain that regulate mood and other body functions

Helps prevent cancer

Curcumin may affect cancer growth and development according to a few studies.

One study, which focused on colorectal cancer, saw a 40% reduction of the number of lesions in the colon in men.

Nutritional value

While doctors commonly recommend taking 500 milligrams twice daily with food, the dose that’s right for you depends on your overall health. More isn’t always better, so talk to your doctor.

“It’s safe to take up to 8 grams per day, but my recommendation would be somewhere on the lighter side: 500 to 1,000 milligrams a day for the general population,” says Hopsecger.

For optimal absorption, try taking with heart-healthy fats like oils, avocado, nuts and seeds, she adds.

While the risk of side effects is low and drug interactions are unlikely, stop taking turmeric if you notice ill effects. Turmeric may cause bloating, and there is a theoretical concern that it may interact with blood-clotting medications. Also avoid it if you have gallbladder disease.

Always talk to your doctor before starting a dietary supplement, since they could potentially interact with other medications you’re taking. Turmeric can help supplement your conventional care, but it’s not a substitute for medicine.

“No dietary supplement can replace medications or even a well-rounded diet,” Hopsecger cautions. “If your diet is poor, taking a curcumin supplement isn’t going to do anything miraculous.”

How to use turmeric

You can take turmeric as a supplement or use it as a spice.

“Curcumin is more potent in a supplement because they’ve extracted it from the turmeric,” Hopsecger says. “If you are buying turmeric in the store, it does have some antioxidant properties. While using it as a spice may not have a significant impact, it is a great way to season food without salt.”

Not ready to commit to a supplement? While cooking with turmeric doesn’t give you as big of a health boost, you can still benefit by adding it to:

  • Smoothies.
  • Golden milk.
  • Soups.
  • Scrambled eggs.
  • Muffins.
  • Rice.
  • Roasted veggies.

“It’s one of the main ingredients in a curry sauce — it’s potent, pungent, bitter and very earthy,” says Hopsecger. “I always think of that curry smell as being what turmeric tastes like. You can buy the spice ground these days from many supermarkets and spice stores, or you can buy the fresh root and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can then peel, and chop or grate to use in your recipes.”

10 Health Benefits of Grapes

When you think of vitamin C, you may tend to think of oranges as a good source.

But did you know that grapes are also an excellent way to get vitamin C? With other nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin K and potassium, these little globes are jam-packed with tons of goodness.

“Grapes are fantastic because not only are they affordable, but they’re versatile,” says registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, RD. “They can be used in a lot of different dishes and situations.”

DiMarino talks with us about the health benefits of grapes and how to incorporate them into your meals.

Benefits of eating grapes

Grapes are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They’re also full of water, which can help keep you hydrated. Here’s how eating grapes can benefit your health.

Helps your immune system

Since grapes are a great source of vitamin C, they may help your immune system fight against bacterial and viral infections like yeast infections.

“If we have a strong immune system, our body’s better able to fight against and prevent any sudden, short-term illness,” says DiMarino.

Prevents cancer

Full of antioxidants, grapes may help fight off free radicals, which are molecules that can damage cells and may lead to cancer.

“So antioxidants go out and reduce what we call oxidative stress to help reduce the risk of cancer,” says DiMarino.

Grapes also boast the antioxidant called resveratrol, which may protect against cancer by reducing inflammation and blocking the growth of cancer cells. Grapes also contain catechins, quercetin and anthocyanins, other antioxidants which may be a powerful combination against cancer.

Lowers blood pressure

“Grapes are very low in sodium,” says DiMarino. “They fit well into a low-sodium diet plan helping to reduce blood pressure.”

DiMarino says that grapes are also high in potassium, which can help balance out blood pressure too. If you have a low intake of potassium, you may have an increased risk of high blood pressure.

Protects against heart disease

Resveratrol may not only help prevent cancer. It has also been shown to help protect against heart disease.

A study also shows that those whose diets had more potassium than sodium were less likely to die from heart disease than individuals who didn’t have as much potassium in their diets.

Reduces high cholesterol

You’ll find plenty of fiber in grapes, making them a good option to help lower high cholesterol.

“I always explain it almost like a street sweeper. It gets in your bloodstream and carries all that cholesterol out of the body into the liver where it gets processed,” DiMarino says.

In a study of people with high cholesterol, those who ate three cups of red grapes a day for eight weeks had lower total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Protects against diabetes

Grapes have a low glycemic index number, meaning they won’t raise your blood sugar.

In fact, studies show that nutrients in grapes may decrease blood sugar levels and may increase insulin sensitivity, which may help your body use glucose.

Helps maintain brain health

It’s all about resveratrol, which benefits the body in many ways. The powerful antioxidant helps reduce oxidative stress, which can have a positive effect on your brain.

“Think about Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, those can be signs of oxidative stress,” says DiMarino. “Resveratrol may help reduce the chances of those diseases from happening.”

Though a study shows the potential of the antioxidant when it comes to preventing cognitive disorders, there’s still needs to be research on humans to truly understand if it’s beneficial.

Improves bone health

Thanks to vitamin K and minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium, eating grapes may help you maintain strong bones.

While all those nutrients are important for bone health, more studies are needed to fully understand how grapes may help bone health.

Slows down aging

Yes, you read that right. If you’re looking to fight Father Time, grapes may help keep you youthful.

Resveratrol (yes, that powerful antioxidant again) stimulates the SirT1 gene, which has been linked to a longer lifespan by affecting cell structure and protecting cells.

“It helps protect certain genes which leads to healthy aging and longevity,” says DiMarino.

Improves sleep

Having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep? Grapes may help you catch some ZZZs.

“Grapes do have a degree of melatonin in them,” says DiMarino. “So they’re a great evening snack. They don’t have a lot of calories and they can potentially help you fall asleep.”

What kind of grapes should you eat?

There’s a lot of options out there — ranging in color from green, white, purple and red and coming with fun names like cotton candy and moon drops. So which ones should you eat?

“What’s most important is that you choose an option closest to its natural form,” says DiMarino. “So instead of drinking grape juice or eating raisins, the original, unprocessed grape is where you’ll get the most nutrition.”

A serving of grapes is about a cup. Consider adding them to smoothies and salads like chicken salad. Try freezing them too for a sweet treat.

“You can definitely reap the benefits by having grapes two to three times a week,” says DiMarino. “They’re available year-round and can be a great snack.”

21 Natural Remedies for Upset Stomach

Fresh basil on a board

Everyone experiences an upset stomach and indigestion, or dyspepsia, from time to time after eating or drinking. The condition is usually no cause for concern, and it is often possible to treat the symptoms using home remedies.

Common symptoms of an upset stomach and indigestion include:

  • heartburn, or acid reflux
  • nausea
  • bloating
  • gas
  • belching, sometimes bringing up bitter or foul-tasting fluid or food
  • farting
  • bad-smelling or sour breath
  • hiccupping or coughing

This article looks at 21 of the most popular home remedies for an upset stomach and indigestion. We also explain when to see a doctor.

Twenty-one home remedies

Some of the most popular home remedies for an upset stomach and indigestion include:

1. Drinking water

The body needs water to digest and absorb nutrients from foods and beverages efficiently. Being dehydrated makes digestion more difficult and less effective, which increases the likelihood of an upset stomach.

In general, the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) recommend that:

  • women should have around 2.7 liters (l), or 91 ounces (oz), of water a day
  • men should have about 3.7 l, or 125 oz, of water a day

Around 20 percent of this will come from food, with the rest coming from beverages. For most people, a good figure to aim for is approximately 8 or more cups of water a day. Younger children require slightly less water than adults.

For those with digestive issues, it is imperative to stay hydrated. Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration very quickly so people with these symptoms should keep drinking water.

2. Avoiding lying down

When the body is horizontal, the acid in the stomach is more likely to travel backward and move upward, which can cause heartburn.

People with an upset stomach should avoid lying down or going to bed for at least a few hours until it passes. Someone who needs to lie down should prop up their head, neck, and upper chest with pillows, ideally at a 30-degree angle.

3. Ginger

Ginger is a common natural remedy for an upset stomach and indigestion.

Ginger contains chemicals called gingerols and shogaols that can help speed up stomach contractions. This may move foods that are causing indigestion through the stomach more quickly.

The chemicals in ginger may also help to reduce nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

People with an upset stomach could try adding ginger to their food or drinking it as a tea. Some all-natural ginger ales may also contain enough ginger to settle an upset stomach.

4. Mint

In addition to sweetening the breath, the menthol in mint may help with the following:

  • preventing vomiting and diarrhea
  • reducing muscle spasms in the intestines
  • relieving pain

Researchers have found that mint is a traditional treatment for indigestion, gas, and diarrhea in Iran, Pakistan, and India.

Raw and cooked mint leaves are both suitable for consumption. Traditionally, people often boil mint leaves with cardamom to make a tea. It is also possible to powder or juice mint leaves and mix them with other teas, beverages, or foods.

Sucking on mint candies might be another way to help reduce the pain and discomfort of heartburn.

5. Taking a warm bath or using a heating bag

Heat may relax tense muscles and ease indigestion, so taking a warm bath may help to ease the symptoms of an upset stomach. It could also be beneficial to apply a heated bag or pad to the stomach for 20 minutes or until it goes cool.

6. BRAT diet

Doctors may recommend the BRAT diet to people with diarrhea.

BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These foods are all starchy, so they can help bind foods together to make stools firmer. This may decrease the number of stools a person passes and help ease their diarrhea.

As these foods are bland, they do not contain substances that irritate the stomach, throat, or intestines. Therefore, this diet can soothe the tissue irritation resulting from the acids in vomit.

Many of the foods in the BRAT diet are also high in nutrients such as potassium and magnesium and can replace those lost through diarrhea and vomiting.

7. Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol

Smoking can irritate the throat, increasing the likelihood of an upset stomach. If the person has vomited, smoking can further irritate the tender tissue already sore from stomach acids.

As a toxin, alcohol is difficult to digest and can cause damage to the liver and stomach lining.

People with an upset stomach should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol until they are feeling better.

8. Avoiding difficult-to-digest foods

Some foods are harder to digest than others, which increases the risk of an upset stomach. Anyone with an upset stomach should avoid foods that are:

  • fried or fatty
  • rich or creamy
  • salty or heavily preserved

9. Lime or lemon juice, baking soda, and water

Some studies suggest that mixing lime or lemon juice in water with a pinch of baking soda can help to relieve a variety of digestive complaints.

This mixture produces carbonic acid, which may help to reduce gas and indigestion. It may also improve liver secretion and intestinal mobility. The acidity and other nutrients in lime or lemon juice can help to digest and absorb fats and alcohol while neutralizing bile acids and reducing acidity in the stomach.

Most traditional recipes recommend mixing the following quantities:

  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) of baking soda
  • 8 oz of clean water

10. Cinnamon

cinnamon sticks and power are a home remedy for upset stomach

Cinnamon contains several antioxidants that may help ease digestion and reduce the risk of irritation and damage in the digestive tract. Some of the antioxidants in cinnamon include:

  • eugenol
  • cinnamaldehyde
  • linalool
  • camphor

Other substances in cinnamon may help to reduce gas, bloating, cramping, and belching. They may also help to neutralize stomach acidity to reduce heartburn and indigestion.

People with an upset stomach could try adding 1 tsp of good-quality cinnamon powder, or an inch of cinnamon stick, to their meals. Alternatively, they could try mixing the cinnamon with boiling water to make a tea. Doing this two or three times daily may help to relieve indigestion.

11. Cloves

Cloves contain substances that may help to reduce gas in the stomach and increase gastric secretions. This can speed up slow digestion, which may reduce pressure and cramping. Cloves may also help to reduce nausea and vomiting.

A person with an upset stomach could try mixing 1 or 2 tsps of ground or powdered cloves with 1 tsp of honey once a day before bedtime. For nausea and heartburn, they could combine the cloves with 8 oz of boiling water instead to make a clove tea, which they should drink slowly once or twice daily.

12. Cumin

Cumin seeds contain active ingredients that may help by:

  • reducing indigestion and excess stomach acids
  • decreasing gas
  • reducing intestinal inflammation
  • acting as an antimicrobial

A person with an upset stomach could try mixing 1 or 2 tsps of ground or powdered cumin into their meals. Alternatively, they could add a few teaspoons of cumin seeds or powder to boiling water to make a tea.

Some traditional medical systems suggest chewing a pinch or two of raw cumin seeds or powder to ease heartburn.

13. Figs

Figs contain substances that can act as laxatives to ease constipation and encourage healthy bowel movements. Figs also contain compounds that may help to ease indigestion.

A person with an upset stomach could try eating whole fig fruits a few times a day until their symptoms improve. Alternatively, they could try brewing 1 or 2 tsps of fig leaves to make a tea instead.

However, if people are also experiencing diarrhea, they should avoid consuming figs.

14. Aloe juice

The substances in aloe juice may provide relief by:

  • reducing excess stomach acid
  • encouraging healthy bowel movements and toxin removal
  • improving protein digestion
  • promoting the balance of digestive bacteria
  • reducing inflammation

In one study, researchers found that people who drank 10 milliliters (ml) of aloe juice daily for 4 weeks found relief from the following symptoms of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD):

  • heartburn
  • flatulence and belching
  • nausea and vomiting
  • acid and food regurgitation

15. Yarrow

Yarrow flowers contain flavonoids, polyphenols, lactones, tannins, and resins that may help to reduce the amount of acid that the stomach produces. They do this by acting on the main digestive nerve, called the vagus nerve. A reduction in stomach acid levels can reduce the likelihood of heartburn and indigestion.

A person with an upset stomach could try eating young yarrow leaves raw in a salad or cooked in a meal. It is also possible to make yarrow tea by adding 1 or 2 tsps of dried or ground yarrow leaves or flowers to boiling water.

16. Basil

Basil contains substances that may reduce gas, increase appetite, relieve cramping, and improve overall digestion. Basil also contains eugenol, which may help to reduce the quantity of acid in the stomach.

Basil also contains high levels of linoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

A person with an upset stomach could try adding 1 or 2 tsps of dried basil leaves, or a couple of fresh basil leaves, to meals until their symptoms lessen. For more immediate results, they could mix half a teaspoon of dried basil, or a few fresh leaves, with boiled water to make a tea.

17. Licorice

Licorice root contains substances that may help to reduce gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining, as well as inflammation relating to peptic ulcers.

Someone with an upset stomach could try drinking licorice root tea several times a day until their symptoms improve. Licorice root teas are widely available online, but it is also possible to make them at home by mixing 1 or 2 tsps of licorice root powder with boiling water.

18. Spearmint

Like mint, spearmint is a common remedy for many digestive complaints, including:

  • nausea
  • stomach and intestinal spasms
  • gastrointestinal infections
  • diarrhea

Most people find that the easiest way to consume spearmint is to drink prepared herbal teas in which spearmint is the primary ingredient. There are many such teas available online.

It is usually safe to drink spearmint teas several times daily until symptoms improve. Sucking on spearmint candies may also help to reduce heartburn.

19. Rice

Plain rice is useful for people with many types of stomach complaints. It can help by:

  • adding bulk to stool
  • absorbing fluids that may contain toxins
  • easing pain and cramps, because of its high levels of magnesium and potassium

Someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea could try slowly eating half a cup of plain, well-cooked rice. It is best to wait until at least a few hours after the last episode of vomiting. The person may continue to do this for 24–48 hours until diarrhea stops.

Rice is also part of the BRAT diet that doctors often recommend.

20. Coconut water

Coconut water contains high levels of potassium and magnesium. These nutrients help to reduce pain, muscle spasms, and cramps.

Coconut water is also useful for rehydrating and is a better option than most sports drinks as it is also low in calories, sugar, and acidity.

Slowly sipping on up to 2 glasses of coconut water every 4–6 hours could ease upset stomach symptoms.

21. Bananas

Bananas contain vitamin B6, potassium, and folate. These nutrients can help to ease cramps, pains, and muscle spasms. Bananas can also help by adding bulk to loose stools, which can alleviate diarrhea.

An upset stomach and indigestion should not usually cause concern. For most people, symptoms should go away within a few hours. As older adults and children can become dehydrated much more quickly, they should seek medical attention for vomiting and diarrhea that lasts for more than a day.

People with severe, frequent, or persistent stomach problems should talk to a doctor. It is also best to seek medical attention if the following symptoms are present:

  • continual or uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
  • chronic constipation
  • fever
  • bloody stool or vomit
  • inability to pass gas
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • arm pain
  • unintentional weight loss
  • a lump in the abdomen or stomach
  • difficulty swallowing
  • history of iron-deficiency anemia or associated conditions
  • pain when urinating

4 Fantastic Foods You Can Eat in Bigger Portions

When the food on your plate or in your bowl doesn’t match a proper, healthy serving size, you may have “portion distortion.”

But food lovers, rejoice: Portion distortion goes both ways. Registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, explains that there are some foods people tend to overeat, but there are certain foods people eat in too-small portions, too.

The four foods below come with plentiful health benefits — and you can probably eat more of them than you think.

  1. Berries: Berries contain an amazing amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals — all in a tiny, power-packed package. These sweet or tart treats come with an extra benefit: You can snack on them by the handful. Berries often come in pint-sized containers. Because a proper portion is one cup, you can eat half a container at a time. Enjoy, and eat up.
  2. Green leafy vegetables: If you want to improve the ratios on your dinner plate, add more vegetables, which people tend to under-eat, and smaller portions of proteins such as meat, which people tend to overdo. Whether you’re munching on asparagus for its antioxidants, fiber and folate or digging into a plate of Brussels sprouts for their cancer-fighting properties, a good rule of thumb is ½ cup of cooked or one cup of raw vegetables. But if you want more than that, you can. Americans eat way too few leafy greens to begin with.
  3. Walnuts: Walnuts are the only nut that contains Omega 3 fatty acids. A good snack portion of walnuts is ¼ cup, which contains 11 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat may help improve lipids in the blood and lower the risk of heart disease. In addition to containing this beneficial fat, walnuts are a good source of fiber and vitamin B6.
  4. Starchy vegetables: Starchy vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. They include white potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and a variety of winter squashes, green peas and corn. When eaten in moderation, they provide a rich source of vitamin B-6 and potassium. Generally, ½ cup is a good — and filling — serving size for starchy vegetables. A baked potato is the exception; keep your portion to about the size of a computer mouse.

Is Pineapple Good for Diabetes?

Fruit contains carbohydrates and so can raise blood glucose levels. However, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) say that people with diabetes benefit from including fruit in their diets.

Fruits are an excellent source of nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

This article discusses how pineapple and other fruits can affect diabetes and how best to incorporate pineapple into a dietary plan.

Pineapple and diabetes

sliced pineapple on chopping board
Raw pineapple has a medium GI score, so people should eat it in moderation.

Most fruits have a low glycemic index (GI) scores, meaning that they impact blood sugar levels less than other foods.

These scores tend to be low because fruit contains fructose and fiber, which help the body digest carbohydrates more slowly, leading to more stable blood sugar levels over time.

Pineapples, however, have a medium GI score, which means that they can have more of an effect on blood glucose than other fruits.

General GI categories are as follows:

  • Low-GI foods have scores under 55.
  • Medium-GI foods have scores between 56 and 69.
  • High-GI foods have scores of 70 or above.

Raw pineapple has a score of 66, making it a medium-GI food.

Eat pineapple in moderation, and pair it with protein or healthful fat — such as from nuts, seeds, nut butter, or avocado — to limit the fruit’s effects on blood sugar levels.

Other medium-GI fruits include melons and some dried fruits, such as dates, raisins, and sweetened cranberries.

Like other foods, the GI of pineapple can vary, depending on what a person eats with it. When someone couples fibrous carbohydrates with proteins and healthful fats, it will deter overeating, help them feel full for longer, and reduce any spike in blood sugar.

Other factors that affect the GI of pineapple include:

  • ripeness, with a more ripe fruit having a higher GI score
  • preparation, because fruit juice has a higher score than raw fruit, for example
  • whether it is canned or raw, as canned pineapple with added sugar has a higher score

Pineapple is a good source of vitamin C and manganese. It also contains fiber, vitamin A, and B vitamins, as well as a compound called bromelain, which has many reported health benefits. These factors make pineapple a healthful addition to a diabetes-friendly diet.

How to eat pineapple

The most healthful options are raw or frozen pineapple.

Canned, cupped, or processed pineapple often contains added sugar, especially when the fruit is in syrup. If canned pineapple is the only option available, try to find it canned in water, rather than syrup.

Choose raw or frozen pineapple over pineapple juice or dried pineapple, which generally contain added sugar and so can cause spikes in blood glucose levels.

To limit the impact on blood sugar levels, eat pineapple in moderation and pair it with protein or healthful fat to minimize the total GI value of the meal.

Try pineapple as a dessert after eating low-GI foods, such as:

  • brown rice
  • barley
  • whole-grain bread
  • whole-grain pasta
  • beans
  • rolled oats
  • lean proteins
  • healthful fats

The simplest way to prepare the fruit is to serve it raw, as a side dish or dessert. Or, try grilling it and including it with the main meal, as in many Asian and island cuisines.

Diabetes and other fruits

senior man selecting strawberry from small plate
A person with diabetes can include strawberries in a healthful diet.

People with diabetes can incorporate a wide variety of fruits into their meal plans and reap the many health benefits. Each fruit contains its own vitamin and nutrient profile.

The ADA estimate that:

  • About half a cup of frozen or canned fruit contains 15 grams (g) of carbohydrates.
  • Keeping this in mind, a serving of berries or melon tends to be between three-quarters of a cup and 1 cup.
  • Fruit juices contain roughly 15 g of carbohydrates per third- or half-cup, depending on the juice.

Doctors recommend that people eat whole fruits, rather than juice, because a piece of fruit tends to be more filling and have a lower GI score. Whole fruits are also more healthful sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

A list of common fruits that can be part of a healthful diet include:

  • bananas
  • oranges
  • papayas
  • avocados
  • plums
  • blackberries
  • nectarines
  • watermelons
  • grapefruits
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • peaches

Summary

For people with diabetes looking to incorporate fruit into their dietary plan, pineapples can be a good choice. However, since they can cause small spikes in blood sugar, eat them in moderation.

Raw or frozen pineapple has less of an impact on blood glucose levels than pineapple juice or canned pineapple, which contain added sugars.

Try eating pineapple with foods that are high in fiber, protein, or healthful fats, or foods with low GI scores.

Fruits make a good alternative to candy and other sweet foods, which have high GI scores and little nutritional value. Fruits contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and people with diabetes can include them in a balanced, healthful diet.

7 Best Weight loss Books in 2021

a woman reading a book

Losing weight can be a roller coaster of emotions. There are days when your pants fit a little looser and you feel like celebrating, and then others when you feel defeated after you step on the scale and see the number hasn’t budged.

“Losing weight is hard, plain and simple,” says Amy Cirbus, a licensed therapist at Talkspace who is based in the New York City area. “The elation of success, when we reach a point we’re proud of achieving, is a powerful high. The sting of disappointment, shame, anger, and doubt creep in when expectations aren’t met.”

Generally, this comes when life gets in the way of your best-laid weight loss plans. Cirbus says things can start out great — you establish an eating and exercise plan and commit to letting go of problematic old habits in favor of forming positive new ones. And then something happens that throws you off course — maybe you can’t resist a slice of cake at a friend’s birthday party, or work interferes with your gym time. “We’re left to work through the disappointment and frustrations of falling off the wagon in order to get back on,” Cirbus says. “It becomes a mental game as much as a physical one.”

It’s completely normal to take these setbacks personally. “When we cheat on a diet, we mistake the behavior with the person and absorb the failure,” Cirbus says. “The day we decided to eat all the cake at the party becomes a hangover of sugar and regret, and can make us feel horrible about ourselves.”

It helps to know that setbacks are part of the process. “Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint,” Cirbus says. She says to picture your weight loss journey as a graph, where the individual day may not have been so great, but overall your progress is trending in the right direction.

If you need help along the way, pick up one of these seven inspiring books that depict what the weight loss journey is really like.

1. Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

In this powerful memoir, which earned a lot of buzz in 2018, Kiese Laymon tells his story of growing up in Mississippi and how he learned to lean on food to cope with life. The book deals with more than just weight issues — it chronicles Laymon’s complicated relationship with his mother, his history with sexual violence and gambling, and the difficulties he’s experienced being black in America.

Click to check the price in Amazon

2. The Elephant in the Room, by Tommy Tomlinson

The Elephant in the Room by Tommy Tomlinson

When the journalist Tommy Tomlinson was approaching his 50th birthday, he weighed 460 pounds (lb) and was at risk for the negative health issues that come with being overweight, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. He explains that the weight didn’t creep up on him. In this vividly written memoir, Tomlinson details his lifelong battle with his weight, which he partially attributes to being born into a family that loves Southern food and considers rich fare a luxury. He also describes what it’s like to go through life every day as an obese man (researching restaurant seating in advance and fearing tumbles on the subway, for instance) and how he’s attempted to move the needle by counting his calorie intake with a food journal.

Click to check the price in Amazon

 

3. Walking With Peety: The Dog Who Saved My Life, by Eric O’Grey with Mark Dagostino

Walking With Peety: The Dog Who Saved My Life by Eric O'Grey with Mark Dagostino

Picture this: Eric O’Grey is 150 lb overweight and dealing with type 2 diabetes and depression. He goes to see a new doctor who leaves him with an unconventional prescription: a shelter dog, Peety, who’s also overweight. This uplifting read tells the story of how the pair became friends and turned their lives around together. Both of them lost weight (150 lb for O’Grey, which was enough to put type 2 diabetes in remission), and O’Grey regained control of his life and found love and happiness.

Click to check the price in Amazon

4. It Was Me All Along, by Andie Mitchell

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

This New York Times bestseller tells the story of a young girl from Boston who found comfort in sweets and junk food. Andie Mitchell’s awakening came when she stepped on the scale at age 20 and was shocked by the number she saw. The story that ensues is partially about weight loss (she ends up losing about half of her body weight by seeking balance and eating in moderation) and also about self-acceptance and how Mitchell learns to love herself.

5. Always Too Much and Never Enough: A Memoir, by Jasmin Singer

Always Too Much and Never Enough: A Memoir by Jasmin Singer

Jasmin Singer is an animal rights advocate who adopted a vegan diet, which she learned did not automatically make her thin. In her poignant memoir, Singer touches on how she successfully lost 100 pounds (cutting out processed foods and incorporating juice fasts are two tactics that helped), the ways in which heavy people are brought down by society, and how unpacking her destructive relationship with food helped her rebuild her self-esteem.

Click to check the price in Amazon

6. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, by Roxane Gay

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

In this popular memoir from the celebrated New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay, the writer dives into her past and reveals how the violence she experienced as a 12-year-old girl made her rely on food as a way to protect her body. Gay details how the societal shame of being overweight has infiltrated aspects of her life as a 6-foot-3 bisexual adult with obesity. The story will pull you in with its wonderful writing, and while Gay herself doesn’t view her story as inspiring, it may push you to rethink your relationship with food and your own body and how necessary it is to do the work to make sure that relationship is a positive one.

7. The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl, by Shauna Reid

The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid

Looking for a lighthearted and hilarious read? This one is for you. Scotland-based Shauna Reid started a blog — The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl — to document her journey from a 351-lb 23-year-old to a slimmed-down version of herself half that size. The book weaves in other plotlines, including Reid’s travels, work issues, and dating life, as it tells the story of how she overcame obstacles in a way many readers looking to lose weight will find relatable.

Click to check the price in Amazon

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

15 Diet Tips for People with Type 2 Diabetes

 

If you have Type 2 diabetes, your doctors have likely advised you to watch your sugar levels and carb intake. But there are other ways to keep your blood glucose, or sugar, levels in check as well.

Some 90-95 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States are Type II. In fact, statistics say that 1 in 8 Americans are diagnosed with it. It’s time to get this disease under control.

1

Reduce Your Portion Sizes

Ah, a simple pro-tip! It is crucial to reduce your portion sizes in order to keep your blood levels at a happy balance. Think about it this way: If you eat too much at once (particularly a dish high in carbs) your blood sugar may spike which will put you in a hyperglycemic state. Not ideal! Conversely, if you eat too little, your body may go into a hypoglycemic state, which means you don’t have enough blood sugar. So where’s the happy medium? Make sure to eat three solid meals per day with lunch and dinner looking something like this: ½ of the plate should include non-starchy vegetables and fruit, ¼ grains, and ¼ protein. For breakfast, kickstart the day with a bowl of oatmeal and a ¼ cup of berries for a boost in antioxidants.

2

Limit Your Protein Intake

When you have Type 2 diabetes, it’s very important to moderate your consumption of protein because you want to reduce the risk of developing a particular microvascular issue called nephropathy. Nephropathy is scientific lingo for kidney damage or kidney disease, and a diet that’s moderate to low in protein helps avoid the onset of these issues. A diet low in protein doesn’t stress the kidneys nearly as much as one that’s high in protein does. Stick to one 3-4 ounce serving of meat per day at most to promote the longevity of your kidneys!

3

Reduce Sugar Intake

This is pretty obvious, but it’s essential to at least mention. We’re not going to tell you to eat a certain number of grams of sugar per day because, honestly, that’s a bit unrealistic. However, something that is realistic is the fact that you can control how much added sugar you put into your body. Limit yourself to a maximum of one sugary treat a day—two or three squares of dark chocolate would absolutely suffice. This way you still get to quench that sweet tooth without over-indulging and causing your blood sugar levels to skyrocket!

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes
4

Start Counting Carbs

Low carb this, low carb that. Are you sick of hearing it? Well, think about it this way, you can count carbs by calculating carb choices. One serving of carbs, or one carb choice, is equivalent to 15 grams carbs. Women should aim to have 3-4 carb choices for lunch and for dinner, which is somewhere between 45-60 grams of carbs per meal. Men, on the other hand, should have 4-5 carb choices per lunch and dinner, which yields 60-75 grams of carbs. For breakfast and snacks, stick to 1-2 choices per meal. You’re probably wondering how you even go about counting carbs, and lucky for you numbers 8 and 9 in this article will help you do just that! Keep reading for some helpful tools.

5

Monitor Your Blood Glucose

Acquiring a blood glucose meter, a lancet device with lancets, and test strips are key to making sure your blood glucose levels are at a stable range. For example, before meals your blood glucose levels should be 95 mg/dL or lower. One hour after eating, your levels should be at 130 mg/dL or lower and two hours after eating your levels should be at 120 mg/dL or lower. A good time to check your blood sugar would be when you have an a heightened feeling of thirst, headache, difficulty paying attention, or feel weak and fatigued. However, you’ll want to get an idea on where your body’s levels are at specific times throughout the day, so you know what to expect when you prick your finger. For five days, try taking your blood glucose levels three times a day at either one of the following times: before breakfast, before lunch/dinner, two hours after a meal, before intense exercise, when you are not feeling well, and before bed. Make sure to record in a journal so you can have these numbers for reference!

6

Learn About Glycemic Index

This is super important! Glycemic index is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100 based on the impact they have on blood sugar levels. Foods that are low in glycemic index are the ones you want to have comprising a majority of your diet! Fill up on non-starchy veggies like broccoli, kale, spinach, and just about any leafy green or fruit you can think of and limit your intake of things like potatoes, meat, and dairy products. Make sure to steer clear of high glycemic index foods like white breads, white rice, and soda.

7

Exercise

Whether you prefer aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, swimming and biking or anaerobic exercises like lifting and interval circuits, both will help you manage your Type 2 diabetes. Why? When your muscles require glucose (blood sugar), they contract and push that glucose out of your blood and into your cells. As a result, this helps balance your blood glucose levels. So slip on a pair of sneakers and hit the trail or gym!

8

Download This App

Of course there’s an app to help you monitor your blood glucose levels! Sugar Sense is an awesome app that you can download for free on your smartphone that will help you keep track of your blood glucose levels, carb count, monitor your weight, and more. Download ASAP for immediate relief!

9

Visit This Website

Cronometer is another excellent online tool that enables you to record meals, log exercise and biometrics, and more. Sign up for free!

10

Join a Support Group

No scientific study is needed to stress how vital it is to talk to other people who are also enduring similar struggles. Hop online and see what groups you can join in your area, you may even meet new friends, workout buddies and dinner pals who understand what you’re going through. You are strong and you deserve to have people to vent to and bounce ideas off!

11

Reduce Stress

Did you know that stress can actually elevate your blood glucose levels? Keep your mind quiet and free of stress by taking a break at work and going for a walk and engaging in some deep breathing. Your health is your number one priority, updating that excel sheet or balancing that checkbook can wait!

12

Practice Yoga

This goes hand-in-hand with reducing stress. Inhaling positive energy and exhaling negative energy including, worries, stress, and feelings of sadness and fueling that breath through movement is incredibly beneficial to the mind and body.

13

Do Not Eat Fast Food

Drop that McDonald’s breakfast McMuffin because you’re on the one-way road to better health! In a 15-year study consisting of 3,000 adults, it was found that those who ate fast food more than twice a week developed insulin resistance at twice the rate than those who didn’t consume fast food. And for those with diabetes, eating highly processed, refined food can increase the risk of developing those dangerous complications previously mentioned.

14

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Contrary to popular belief, these fake sweeteners, called non-nutritive sweeteners or NNS, are not healthy for people with diabetes to consume. According to a study conducted by Harvard’s School of Public Health, consuming artificially sweetened drinks contributed to a 47 percent increase in BMI. The study finished in 2013 after monitoring 3,682 individuals for 7-8 years. So why would this happen if these sweeteners do not even contain regular table sugar (sucrose) which is thought to be the one of the leading causes of visceral fat, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes? The answer is quite simple, artificial sweeteners are anywhere from 180-20,000 times sweeter than table sugar. Frequent consumption can cause an alteration in your taste buds, which makes vegetables and even fruits taste more bitter than they actually are. This causes you to neglect those foods and go after foods that satisfy that desire for sweetness. Yikes!

15

Shed a Few Pounds

With all of these factors, it’s no doubt that you will lose a couple of pounds. Shedding just 10-15 pounds can significantly help balance your blood glucose levels, so get off the couch and get cracking because there’s no time to waste.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes