As humans, we require tons of energy to get through a regular day. To ensure that we have enough energy having a healthy diet is essential. Part of a healthy diet is eating fruit. The question then comes up, what fruits should you eat? Now most dietitians will tell you to eat fruits low in sugar or maybe low glycemic fruits. But how can you tell what fruits are best to eat and what fruits to avoid? It’s not like they come with labels.
One of the main reasons for controlling the amount of sugar our bodies take is how the body reacts to it. When we eat, the body releases insulin to break down the nutrients and absorb them into the cells. Insulin also helps create body fat and stop the body from breaking down fat cells so that it can burn the sugar that is in the blood stream. Once the nutrients are absorbed, the insulin level in a human body returns to normal and waits for the next time we eat.
Keep in mind that the body requires a certain amount of sugar to maintain energy. It can’t survive without it. But when we overdose our systems with too much sugar we are giving it too much energy which it then starts storing as body fat, and you eventually begin to gain weight.
Now many people believe that because carbohydrates are broken down into sugar by the human body, it should be cut out entirely. That’s not true not all carbohydrates are bad, when you eat the right foods and the right carbohydrates you will be able to provide your body with the sugar it needs. This ensures longer gaps between meals and lets your body burn the fat that it has stored. This also helps you avoid overeating and gaining weight.
That’s why it is important to understand what fruits and food, in general, are good for you.
That’s where the glycemic index and glycemic load comes into play.
What is the glycemic index?
The glycemic index or glycemic load is a measurement of how foods with carbohydrates affect the blood sugar levels in a human body two hours after eating. Some foods are rated as high glycemic foods, and they dramatically raise the sugar levels in a body. Foods such as bread, bagels, white food and snack chips fall in that category. Low glycemic foods affect the blood sugar less; therefore, less insulin is released by the body. Bran, brown bread, lean meat, colorful fruits, leafy vegetables and a no white diet have low glycemic content.
Figuring out the glycemic load
To determine if a fruit is one of the low glycemic fruits, the glycemic load needs to be calculated. Which means taking the glycemic index number, divide by 100, and then multiply it by the grams of fruit carbs, not including the fiber.
The glycemic index uses a range from 0-100, where 100 means that the food is all sugar. Low glycemic food has an index of 55 or less. Foods that fall in the range of mid-50s to the mid-60s is average. Anything higher than 70 is considered high.
Which fruits are low glycemic fruits
Low glycemic fruits with their index numbers are listed below.
- Cherries – 22
- Grapefruit – 25
- Prunes – 29
- Apricots – 30
- Lime – 32
- Lemon – 32
- Apple – 38
- Plum – 39
- Blueberries – 40
- Strawberries – 40
- Oranges – 42
- Peach – 42
- Nectarines – 43
- Pear – 43
- Grapes – 46
- Mango – 51
- Banana – 52
- Kiwi – 58
- Cantaloupe – 65
- Pineapple – 66
Keep in mind that these glycemic index figures do not take portion size into consideration and are for general understanding. Using the formula for glycemic load, you can find out the exact glycemic index number for the fruit you eat.
What fruits should you consider eating
When considering what fruits are best to eat, consider fiber-rich fruits that are categorized as low glycemic fruits. They have lower carbohydrate content and are great in maintaining sugar and insulin levels in the body.
Still confused about which low glycemic fruits you should eat? Eat the lowest carb fruit possible as it will increase the chances of getting a lower number on the glycemic index when the glycemic load is calculated.
Here is a list of fruits that are low in carbohydrates:
Keep in mind that just because a fruit has a high glycemic index number does not mean it should be omitted from your diet. Fruits are full of fiber and have the healthiest carbohydrates that must be eaten. Finding a balance is key!
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This is very good info especially for diabetics who wonder which fruits to avoid due to high sugar content. Keep up the good work.