• Dr. Kate Ricciardi

Yes, fruit is good for you!

We have heard time and time again, oh I can't have sugar, so I can't eat fruit because I'm prediabetic or my blood sugar is too high or I have diabetes, and so on. Fruit is not the enemy!

Maybe you have never heard of glycemic index or someone just told you all sugar is bad?

Not everything is created equal...

Glycemic index (GI). What is it?

It is a ranking system for carbohydrates from 0-100 according to how they impact your blood sugars after eating. Food with a HIGHER glycemic index (GI) are absorbed more rapidly into the blood stream, therefore causing larger changes in blood sugar because more is happening in a short period of time. So, HIGH GI food = bigger spike in blood sugar.

LOWER glycemic index foods tend to cause smaller changes in blood sugar, less of a spike in blood sugar.

According to the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders and Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, "the glycemic index value of a food is determined by feeding 10 or more healthy people a portion of the food containing 50 grams of digestible (available) carbohydrate and then measuring the effect on their blood glucose levels over the next two hours.

For each person, the area under their two-hour blood glucose response (glucose AUC) for this food is then measured. On another occasion, the same 10 people consume an equal-carbohydrate portion of the sugar glucose (the reference food) and their two-hour blood glucose response is also measured. A GI value for the test food is then calculated for each person by dividing their glucose AUC for the test food by their glucose AUC for the reference food. The final GI value for the test food is the average GI value for the 10 people.

The GI of foods has important implications for the food industry. Terms such as complex carbohydrates and simple sugars are now recognised as having little nutritional or physiological significance. The WHO/FAO recommend that these terms be removed and replaced with the total carbohydrate content of the food and its GI value".

So how does one know what to eat then?

First, please don't fall into a marketing trap.

Foods containing little or no carbohydrate like meats, fish, eggs, and most vegetables cannot have a GI value. Basically, if it naturally doesn't have carbohydrates it won't have a glycemic index.

Second, Here is a great link for looking up individual foods http://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php

Third, if this still seems a little much, we, of course, recommend scheduling a nutrition education package to answer your individual questions regarding food choices, substitutions.

Here are some tips for reducing your glycemic index include...

Water. Make it your first choice to achieve fluid intake needs and maximize hydration. Reduce sugary drinks and reduce alcohol intake.

Grains. Choose breads with grains. Whole grains, grains in the title, sourdough or stoneground options.

Beans. Start adding in roasted, seasoned chickpeas/garbanzo beans are a great place to start! Dried/canned beans, lentils are low glycemic index and nutrient dense and provide protein and fiber. The key though, is to start slowly and gradually if it's not part of your usual intake. Otherwise you can overload your digestive system quite easily...

Fruit. Start adding in fruits, yogurt to your snack rotation to reduce cookies, crackers.

Speaking of fruit...

Pears have a Glycemic Index between 33-42. They have a high fiber content, 6g per 1 medium sized pear and are beneficial for Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.

Take a peek at this recipe below...

Baked Pears

Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash and halve 4 pears, scoop out seeds.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1 TBSP olive oil, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, dash of vanilla and fill pears with mixture.

Place on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes until tender and golden brown.

This is a great way to get in fruit, plant based protein and fiber to fill up for the morning. It's so easy to eat more than 1 this way!

#nationalnutritionmonth #nutrition #pears #registereddietitiannutritionist #RDN #breakfast #oats #cinnamon #nutmeg #plantbasedprotein #fiber #lowglycemicindex

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     Dr. Kate Ricciardi, DPT RDN CLT     919-797-9296       rdnutritionconsulting.com      info@rdnutritionconsulting.com

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