Fructose is found in blood sugar and can be directly absorbed by the body.(Shutterstock)
Fructose is found in blood sugar and can be directly absorbed by the body.(Shutterstock)

Are you diabetic? Dieticians tell you how much fruit should be eaten daily

Diabetics are often told to avoid fructose or fruit sugar. Experts tell you how much of it is good for the body and what happens when there is an excess of it.
By Soma Das | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUN 19, 2018 08:57 AM IST

Fructose is a type of fruit sugar present in honey, fruits, vegetables and sugarcane, which gives ready energy to the body. Much like glucose, fructose can be directly absorbed by the body. Other forms of sugar include sucrose (table sugar) as well as glucose (or dextrose) and galactose.

Certain fruits may also have a higher glycaemic index, such as banana, chickoo, mangoes, custard apple or watermelon. Consumption of such fruits might need to be restricted by diabetics to control blood sugar levels. “A fig, for example, has 22 grams of fructose. Fructose is also available in apple (5.9 gms), pear (9.8 gms) and strawberry (2.4 gms). You can also make fructose from corn, commonly used now in colas and deserts,” says nutritionist and physiologist Ritesh Bawri.

When you consume fructose, the metabolism of the sugar is different from regular glucose. “Fructose, when absorbed, is taken up by the active transport system at a slower rate than glucose. Fructose also does not require the presence of insulin to enter the cell. This is because fructose breaks down rapidly into Fructose-1 phosphate bypassing the need for metabolism,” says Bawri.

People suffering from Type II diabetes can use fructose to lower their insulin level. (Shutterstock)
People suffering from Type II diabetes can use fructose to lower their insulin level. (Shutterstock)

But do diabetics need to completely give up fructose? Experts say no. “Fructose under the guidance of a doctor or nutritionist is safe for diabetics, as they can monitor the dosage or quantity required. Depending on how controlled or uncontrolled your blood sugar levels are, the doctor may recommend a certain amount of fructose intake,” says nutritionist and food consultant Anjali Peswani.

People suffering from Type II diabetes can even use fructose to lower their insulin level and at ensure they get the dietary requirements of carbohydrates. “Consuming fructose would help people suffering from Type II diabetes in lowering their postprandial (after lunch) sugar levels,” says Bawri.

Peswani adds that fruits that can be consumed by most diabetics are apple, papaya, pear, guava, musk melon, dragon fruit, peach and oranges

What happens if you consume fructose in excess? “It will spike blood glucose levels and can lead to increase in blood pressure or increased thirst, which are other symptoms of increased blood sugar levels,” says Peswani.

A high fructose diet can also increase the LDL or bad cholesterol in human beings, especially men. “The best approach to food is to have a balanced diet that gives you carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins. More importantly, you should eat them in the quantities you need,” says Bawri.

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