Diabetes: The drink that can ‘accentuate’ blood sugar mismanagement – ‘best avoided’

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Fruit is a vital part of a healthy balanced diet, including if you have diabetes. Fruit is packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals. But if you consume too much, it can quickly become bad for diabetics. Fruit juice in particular can “accentuate the issue” of mismanaging your blood sugar levels, explained Doctor Tariq Mahmood, Medical Director of the healthcare company Concepto.

Mr Mahmood explained: “The sugars in fruits aren’t the type of sugars that need overzealous monitoring – as opposed to the sugars found in the likes of sweets and fizzy drinks.

“However, a person with diabetes needs to be mindful of the amount of carbohydrates they consume – even from fruits. This has the biggest impact on their blood glucose levels.”

A reasonable portion of fruit to eat is the amount that fits in an adult’s hand, but many binge eat larger portions – under the impression that it’s healthy, explains Mahmood.

Fruit juices and smoothies can be especially tempting to overconsume because they’re easy to digest.

“Additionally, most juices and smoothies sold in supermarkets contain the same amount of free sugars found in sugary treats like chocolate and cake,” he adds.

Failing to regulate your blood glucose levels as a diabetic can be catastrophic – leading to a diabetic coma.

This is a scary state where you’re alive but can’t respond to stimuli such as sights or sounds.

Orange juice is known to be especially bad for diabetics. That’s because it has a high glycemic index.

This is a measure of how quickly foods and drink affects blood sugar levels. The higher the score, the more quickly it affects the levels.

“Orange juice places between 66 and 76 out of 100 – which is a very high number and means orange juice is best avoided by people with diabetes under most circumstances,” adds Mamood.

Food and drink with a low glycemic index are preferable. If you’re looking to consume fruit juice, it is recommended to buy no-added sugar instead.

Georgia Berry, a registered dietician, said: “It’s better to choose carbohydrate foods that are full of fibre. If you do want to satisfy the carbohydrate craving choose a no-added-sugar drink.”

Mahmood added: “If you decide to make your own orange juice at home, consider that a medium orange has 15.4(g) total carbohydrates and a diabetic should aim to allow up to a quarter of their daily calorie count to come from carbohydrates.

“My advice for diabetics to enjoy orange juice healthily is to look at packaging before buying a drink to check the amount of carbohydrates and sugars.

“You can also make your own juice at home, which allows you to control the amount of sugar used as well as the amount of oranges used (thus controlling the amount of carbohydrates).”

Symptoms of high blood pressure usually come before a diabetes coma comes on. These include increased thirst, frequent urination, and blurred vision.

Other symptoms of high blood sugar include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain.

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