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Are Pineapples good For Diabetics? by Shu Golda.
Pineapples are members of the bromeliad family. They are the only bromeliad that produces edible fruit according to the Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products.

They are tropical fruits that are rich in vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants. Pineapples may help boost the immune system, build strong bones, and aid indigestion. And, despite their sweetness, pineapples are low in calories. According to San Diego-based nutritionist Laura Flore, Pineapples contain high amounts of vitamin C, and manganese which is important for antioxidant defenses, pineapples also contain high amounts of thiamin, a B vitamin that is involved in energy production.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, despite all its sweetness, one cup of pineapple chunks contains only 74 calories. Pineapples are also fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium. Not surprisingly, they do contain sugar, with about 14 grams per cup.

Are pineapples good for diabetics? 

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that results in a permanently increased blood glucose level. Lifestyle changes, including dietary control, are essential in the regulation of blood sugar levels in diabetes. As such, a diabetic diet should contain foods that are not eligible to cause quick rises in blood glucose levels and has the potential to naturally control blood sugar. Fruits are a major aspect of the planning of diabetic diets.

Fruits are extremely healthy. With the variety of nutrients in fruits, it is advisable to eat fruits daily. But diabetics are advised to eat fruits in moderation because they contain natural sugar. While some fruits are healthy for diabetics, it is advised to avoid a few.

Even though pineapples offer amazing health benefits such as the enzymes known as bromelain which can help boost digestion, helps boost immunity and suppress inflammation as well as contains antioxidants that can help combat oxidative stress, they are not a good choice for diabetics. Pineapple is a fruit with medium GI (Glycemic index); meanwhile, only fruits with a low GI are considered best for diabetics.

Pineapples and GI.

Some factors affect the glycemic index of pineapples such as:

The extent to which the fruit has ripened. The riper the fruit, the higher its GI

How the fruit is prepared and consumed; whole or frozen fruits have a lower score than fruit juices.

Storage conditions; whether it is raw or canned. Canned pineapples contain more sugar which increases their GI score.

In case you are not convinced about incorporating pineapples in your diet, you can replace them with low GI fruits such as apples, berries, or avocados.

According to Pavithra N Raj, Chief Dietician at Columbia Asia Hospital, Pineapple is a powerhouse of nutrition. It is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin B12 (thiamine), iron, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in magnesium and potassium. It also contains the enzyme bromelain which aids digestion and acts as a diuretic. Pineapple is rich in fiber which can keep you full for longer and slow down the absorption of sugar but a medium GI score makes it not-so-good for blood sugar levels.

Carb counting for pineapple.

Carbohydrates potentially raise blood glucose levels; thus it is important for diabetics to count their carbohydrate intake daily. A steady consumption of carbohydrates though the day will prevent glucose spikes or hypoglycemia. Most people take between 45-60g of carbohydrates in a meal and 15-20g of carbohydrates in snacks. This quantity strictly depends on the calorie goals per day.

Carbohydrate intake depends on factors such as personal blood sugar levels, medications, and levels of exercise. Your diabetes counselor or dietician will help you with your choice of carbs and carbohydrate counting.

A thin slice of Pineapple makes up 2 ounces and 7.4g of carbohydrate

Thick slice consists of 3 ounces with 11g carb.

Half a cup of pineapple weighs 4 ounces with 15g of carbohydrate.

Can pineapple cause weight gain?

Pineapples are an acceptable part of any weight loss diet as long as they are consumed in moderation and as part of an otherwise balanced and healthy diet. Eating a diet rich in fiber has been shown to reduce belly fat that accumulates around waistlines and puts you at an increased risk of several chronic health issues. Pineapple curbs your appetite and helps you control your eating habits. However, an excess of anything is bad for your health.

Due to the presence of fructose which can increase your calorie and sugar level in the blood, it is recommended to consume any fruit in moderation.

How does pineapple affect digestive health?

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Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which is found in the juice of the fresh fruit. The enzyme has several functions such as preventing muscle problems, preventing inflammation, and burns.

Bromelain facilitates digestion, it is used for the treatment of certain digestive diseases. Some studies have shown that bromelain helps with digestion after pancreatic surgery. Bromelain also aids the healing of gastric ulcers. The studies also depict that consuming bromelain when taking antibiotics can make the medications more effective.

Bromelain has also been found to inhibit blood platelet aggregation or adhesion thereby minimizing the risks of some CVD such as arterial thrombosis and embolism in diabetes type 2 patients (Heinicke & Gortner, 1957).

How should diabetics consume pineapple?

Pineapple is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which is especially good for diabetics. Studies show that fiber-rich food can help lower blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, regulate bowels, and aid weight management by inducing satiety and decreasing absorption of macronutrients. Although it is advisable for diabetics to avoid pineapple as much as possible if you want to eat pineapple pair it with foods that have a low GI score such as Legumes, whole wheat bread, Barley, whole grain rice, Rolled or steel-cut oatmeal.

Raw or frozen pineapple has less of an impact on blood glucose levels than pineapple juice or canned pineapple, which contains added sugars. Diabetics should avoid drinking fruit juices because to prepare one glass of juice you need more fruit which means more sugar. 

Diabetics can eat pineapples as part of their diet. It should however be in moderation or in combination with other fruits. A portion of pineapple can also be eaten with proteins. This is because pineapple has a medium glycemic index which can lead to blood glucose spikes. Pineapples should also be eaten as whole fruits or frozen fruits and not as fruit juices or canned juices. The whole fruit has less effect on blood sugar levels than juices. Thus balancing food intake when making dietary choices will help prevent blood sugar spikes, weight gain, and improvement of diabetes control. Seek advice from your health care provider before adding pineapples into your diet.

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