MANILA — There are so many misconceptions about diabetes, and probably the most common misconception is that all sugars, including those from fruits, are easily converted to glucose.
But not all the sugars from fruits are easily converted to glucose, and learning the truth about diabetes, and the recommended diet restrictions, will help manage and control the disease effectively.
According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), the general belief is that fruits contain natural and complex sugars which are perceived to be beneficial to the body.
The FNRI said that other sugars present in fruits are different from simple sugars, like glucose.
Some fruits contain more fructose than glucose, and may have fructo-oligo-saccharides or other complex carbohydrates that are said to be safe for diabetics.
It is a general knowledge that fruits are important sources of energy and other dietary essentials like vitamins, minerals, and fibers.
Fruits are very nutritious since they contain good amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin B complex.
The FNRI said these vitamins protect the eyesight, keep the skin smooth and clean, prevent the occurrence of some bleeding gums and easily-bruised skin, and increase body resistance against infection.
Fruits are also good sources of fiber.
Fibers can be water-insoluble or water-soluble, and generally, dietary fibers help the colon by speeding up elimination of waste, sugar, and fat from the body.
Fiber can be found in wheat, rice bran, whole wheat bread, fruits and vegetables. Other sources of fiber include the plant cell wall structural component and the woody structure in plants.
This developed after the FNRI conducted a study on some commonly consumed fruits in the Philippines to determine their glycemic response and glycemic index (GI).
It said that the glycemic index (GI) is a classification of food based on the blood glucose response of a food relative to a standard glucose solution or a starchy food, like white bread.
The FNRI said that GI has been proposed as a therapeutic principle for diabetes mellitus by slowing down carbohydrate absorption.
Glycemic index is classified as low (<55), medium (56-70), and high (>70).
Low-GI foods have been noted to have reduced postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses and improve the overall blood glucose and lipid concentration in non-diabetics and diabetic patients.
The FNRI disclosed that at least nine commonly consumed fruits were included in the study.
Among the most commonly consumed fruits tested include Watermelon (pakwan), Cantaloupe (melon), Jackfruit (langka), Chinese Pears (peras), Banana (lakatan), Mango (manggang kalabaw), Papaya (papaya), Fuji Apple (mansanas), and Pineapple (pinya).
According to the FNRI, results of the study showed that despite equal carbohydrates portions of the fruits tested, they differed in their glycemic indices (GIs).
The slow release of glucose was also observed in all fruits.
As a result, a diabetic person should not worry about what kind of fruits to eat, FNRI says.