Eating a certain fruit 30 minutes before meals could lower blood sugar

Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks

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Diabetes is a serious, life-altering condition. Regardless of what type of diabetes you have it causes blood sugar levels to become too high. Therefore, keeping blood sugar levels stable is key for those living with it.

One way to achieve this is through what you eat, with many health experts advocating for diets rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy carbs, while cutting back on things such as sugar and processed meat.

The popular saying goes “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” – and there could be some truth in that when it comes to diabetes.

That is because one study, published in Nutrients journal in 2019, found that eating apples 30 minutes before a meal of white rice saw blood sugar levels reduced by around half.

As part of the research, 18 young women consumed test meals in a randomised order on 14 separate mornings.

They either ate just rice, apple and rice at the same time (referred to as A+R), an apple 30 minutes prior to rice (PA + R) or a sugar solution with the same sugar content as an apple prior to rice (PSS+R).

It said: “Compared with rice reference, the PA+R achieved a 50 percent reduction of the iAUC0-120, a 51.4 percent reduction of the average peak value, and a 52.6 percent reduction of glycemic excursion in 240 minutes, while the PSS+R showed 29.7 percent and 31.6 percent reduction of peak value and glycemic excursion, respectively.”

Therefore, the meal with the apple consumed first was considered the most effective for lowering blood sugar.

It concluded: “In this study, we achieved a halved postprandial glycemic excursion of a rice meal with an apple preload consumed 30 minutes prior to the meal.

“As a fruit, apple is particularly suitable to be used as preload food because it is well accepted, easy to carry, available all year round worldwide, and can be consumed either as a refreshing food between meals or as an ingredient of a salad appetiser.

“In conclusion, the present study found that compared with rice control, apple preload of 15 grams available carbohydrate remarkably lowered the acute postprandial glycemic responses without a negative effect on satiety.

“The sugar component can partly explain the glycemic suppressing effect of apple preload.

“Given the clinical importance of minimising the glycemic excursion on decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and its associated complications, the metabolic potential of fruit preload prior to a high glycemic index meal deserves to be tested in pre-diabetes and diabetic patients in the hope of developing a new easy and practical dietary approach to postprandial blood glucose management.”

Other studies have also championed the consumption of apples for reducing blood sugar.

One meta-analysis of existing papers, published in Nutrition Journal in 2004, said: “Of the papers reviewed, apples were most consistently associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetes when compared to other fruits and vegetables and other sources of flavonoids.

“Apple consumption was also positively associated with increased lung function and increased weight loss.”

However, another paper from the British Medical Journal in 2003, warned of consuming fruit in juice form if you are diabetic.

It said: “Our findings suggest the presence of heterogeneity in the associations between individual fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes.

“Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk.” also warns that three portions of fruit juice per week could raise your risk of diabetes by eight percent.

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
  • Itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • Blurred vision.

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