How People With Diabetes Can Safely Enjoy This Tropical Fruit
To manage diabetes, physicians generally recommend a healthy, nutritious diet composed of whole foods. However, because diabetes makes the body less sensitive to insulin, foods that are high in sugar are frequently off-limits. So where does fruit fit into this equation? The answer is, people with diabetes can eat fruit – but there are certain precautions to take, too.
Because pineapple is higher along the glycemic index than some other fruits, people with diabetes may think they can’t eat the tropical fruit. However, with precautions, pineapple can be a nutritious addition to a diabetes-friendly diet. Thanks to high fiber content, vitamin C, and a number of other valuable nutrients, pineapple can help ensure you’re keeping your body healthy. Plus, pineapple can be the perfect alternative to candy or other sugary desserts when you’re craving something sweet. We dove into the benefits of pineapple, as well as the factors people with diabetes should keep in mind when eating it, below.
The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index (GI) measures the impact of a food on blood sugar levels. Foods are assigned a number from 0 to 100, where pure glucose represents a rating of 100, allowing them to be compared readily. Generally, low GI foods are scored below 55, medium GI foods are between 56 and 69, and high GI foods score 70 or above.
While these scores can vary by specific type of fruit (we grow MD2 pineapples, for example) and ripeness, fresh pineapple generally scores between 51 and 73 on the GI scale. This places it below other tropical fruits like papaya, but above less sweet alternatives like cherries and grapefruit. As a result, while pineapple can certainly be eaten in moderation, people with diabetes should exercise caution when enjoying the tropical fruit.
Benefits of Pineapple
Although pineapple is a medium-GI food, it also can provide a range of nutritional benefits. Notably, pineapple has more vitamin C per serving than most other fruits, including oranges and other citruses. It also contains bromelain, which can aid with digestion among other potential benefits, manganese, vitamin A, and more.
Fiber for Diabetes
Along with other nutrients, pineapple contains 2.3 grams of fiber per serving. For people with diabetes, fiber can be particularly beneficial. Soluble fiber, in particular, can slow digestion and prevent spikes in blood glucose levels. In fact, one study found that consuming 50 grams of fiber per day lowered the glucose levels of people with diabetes by 10% more than those who ate only 24 grams per day.
How to Eat Pineapple If You Have Diabetes
Because of its natural sugars, pineapple can impact blood glucose levels. However, pairing it with protein or a healthy fat, like yogurt, nut butters, or avocado, can help mitigate its effects. Of course, remember to also enjoy it in moderation – a serving of pineapple is 1 cup or about 165 grams chopped.
Keep in mind that canned fruits often contain added sugars or syrups. We like to can our own pineapple for complete control over the ingredients used. While you can juice pineapple at home, it’s generally recommended that people with diabetes enjoy the whole fruit: Juicing can remove the valuable fiber that is both healthy and plays a role in keeping blood glucose levels even.
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To learn more about pineapple and diabetes, explore the resources below.
- Healthline – Is It Safe to Eat Pineapple If You Have Diabetes?
- Medline Plus – Glycemic index and diabetes
- VeryWell Health – Can People With Diabetes Eat Pineapple?
- Medical News Today – Is pineapple good for diabetes?
- American Diabetes Association – Healthy Food Choices Made Easy: Fruit
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More information can be found via resources listed above.