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Can People With Diabetes Include Pineapple In Their Diet?

Fruits play a key role in our daily diet. They are packed with many bioactive compounds that help prevent numerous diseases from diabetes to heart diseases and from cancer to skin problems.

However, when it comes to diabetes, not all fruits are considered healthy as some may increase glucose levels instead of lowering them and cause complications related to diabetes.

One such healthy fruit is pineapple. There are many ongoing debates about the association between pineapple and diabetes. Some say that the fruit benefits diabetics in many ways while others consider it not to be included in a diabetes diet.

In this article, we will discuss the link between the two: diabetes and pineapple. Take a look.

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Nutrients In Pineapple

Pineapple contains a vital enzyme bromelain which has a multitude of functions in our body. Bromelain is usually a mixture of different thiol endopeptidases and components like glucosidase, cellulase, peoxidase, phosphatase, escharase and many other protease inhibitors, those that bind proteases and inhibit the reproduction of diseases like HIV. [1]

According to the USDA, 100 g of pineapple contains 86 g of water and 209 kJ of energy. It also contains: [2]

  • 1.4 g of fibre
  • 13 mg of calcium
  • 47.8 mg of vitamin C
  • 0.54 g of protein
  • 0.29 mg of iron
  • 109 mg of potassium
  • 12 mg of magnesium
  • 8 mg of phosphorus
  • 1 mg of sodium
  • 0.9 mg of manganese
  • 0.1 mcg of selenium
  • 18 mcg of folate
  • 5.5 mg of choline

Nutrients like zinc, copper, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin A, vitamin E and beta-carotene.

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Reasons Why Pineapple Could Be A Healthy Choice For Diabetics

1. Vitamin C

Pineapple is loaded with vitamin C whose content often, varies depending on the cultivation and environmental conditions in which it is grown. Vitamin C has many roles in the body, including its anti-diabetic effect. This vital nutrient is a great antioxidant that may help reduce plasma glucose levels and protect the health of the insulin-producing beta cells from harmful free radicals, thus helping in diabetes management. [3]

Pineapple also contains bromelain which has anti-diabetic and glucose-lowering properties.

2. Glycemic index (GI)

The glycemic index of pineapple is anywhere between 51-73, which is low compared to papaya (86), but high compared to chico (57) and mango (59). [4] Its GI varies as per its ripeness, preparation and environment in which it is grown.

Pineapple falls among foods that have moderate to high levels of GI and thus, they are suggested to be consumed in a moderate amount or to be paired with protein or healthy fat foods such as nuts. This is because pairing it with proteins and fats prevent the overeating of the fruit and thus, may help maintain the glucose levels and keep a person full for longer.

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3. Carbohydrates

According to the CDC, people with diabetes should focus on getting half of their calories from carbs. Meaning, if the recommended daily calories for diabetics is 1800 calories, they should get around 900 calories from carbs, probably by dividing their meals to four times a day and taking around 225 carbs at every meal. [5]

As pineapple contains 13 g of carbohydrates per 100 gm, diabetics can consume a thick slice of pineapple with every meal. Avoid consuming pineapple whole at one meal while not eating in the next meal. This is because though pineapple has moderate carbs, they have high GI which may increase glucose levels if consumed whole at once. [6]

4. Fibre

Pineapple is rich in fibre, though not as much compared to other diabetic-best fruits like guava and jamun, but in amounts that can help maintain glucose levels to a certain extent. However, as pineapple is also high in carbs and GI, it is suggested to consume pineapple in moderation as it may cause adverse effects, instead of providing benefits.

Also, avoid juicing the fruit or consuming canned pineapple as processing helps break down the fibre and increases the sugar content.

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How To Include Pineapple In Diabetic Diet

  • Prefer consuming raw pineapple instead of ripe ones.
  • Try to avoid processed pineapple food items such as canned pineapple or pineapple syrup.
  • Frozen pineapple is also the best option for diabetics.
  • Avoid juicing pineapple. If necessary.
  • Pair pineapple with protein or healthy fat foods like cereals, meats or nuts.
  • Pair pineapple as a dessert with low GI foods such as oats and brown rice.
  • Pineapple can also be paired with other low GI fruits like apple, guava and berries.

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To Conclude

Pineapple is a tasty and nutritious fruit and can be included in a diabetes diet. However, if you are a diabetic and really a fan of this superfood who often ends up eating it more, you should try to reduce its intake. It is better to consult a medical expert and know the amount and best ways you can include pineapple in your diet.

Does pineapple lower blood sugar?

The fibre, bromelain and vitamin C in pineapple can help lower blood glucose to a certain extent in diabetics. However, the fruit is also high in carbs and glycemic index, which is why experts suggest consuming it in moderate amounts or pairing it with protein or healthy fat foods.

How much pineapple can a diabetic have?

According to the USDA, pineapple has 13 g of carbs per 100 g. It also has a glycemic index of 51-73 that falls under moderate to high levels. This is why, experts suggest consuming pineapple a thin slice or a bit less than a half-cup with every meal to maintain glucose levels in the body.

Why is pineapple good for diabetics?

Pineapple is good for diabetics due to many of its qualities. It is high in fibre that prevents sudden spike of glucose when consumed; high in bromelain enzyme that has anti-diabetic properties; high in vitamin C which is a potent antioxidant, and tasteful that helps satisfy people with a sweet tooth.