- A dietitian recommends blueberries for diabetics or those at risk for diabetes
- Blueberries have fewer calories and are less likely to cause sugar spikes than other fruits
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Dieticians have advised diabetes patients to choose blueberries instead of other fruits.
A diet expert specialising in diabetes care has said the little blue snacks are preferable because they carry the lowest risk of inducing a potentially dangerous sugar spike.
Some 30million Americans have type 2 diabetes – whereby the body fails to produce sufficient amounts of the hormone insulin, which helps convert sugars in food into energy.
The disease causes glucose to build up in the bloodstream, leading to blood sugar spikes which, over time, results in a host of serious complications like infected wounds and heart problems.
Jocelyne Loran, a diabetes dietitian at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, revealed why she recommends one cup of blueberries to her patients with diabetes or who are at risk for the condition.
Blueberries are rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, manganese, and contain no added sugar
Firstly, they can ward off blood sugar spikes due to their high fiber content, which slows the release of fruit sugars into the bloodstream, she told Eating Well.
One cup of blueberries contains around 3.6 grams of fiber, compared to a banana, which contains 3.1 grams.
An apple contains slightly more fiber – but the blueberries have 4grams less fruit sugar.
What’s more, Loran says, the risk of weight gain is very low with bigger portions, unlike some other fruits – because of the very low calorie count.
One cup contains just 84 calories, whereas one cup of a banana has roughly 105.
Pioneering studies have found that eating a very low calorie diet, resulting in significant weight loss, can in fact put the disease into remission.
Blueberries are also loaded with nutrients that support several aspects of health. These include fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese. Manganese is a trace mineral that helps the body form connective tissue and bones and aids blood clotting.
A 2023 review in the journal Food Production, Processing and Nutrition suggested that the plant compound polyphenols in blueberries can improve blood sugar, slashing diabetes risk.
Ms Loran suggests that fresh, frozen, or canned blueberries are all nutritionally equal. However, canned varieties are more likely to have syrup, which contains added sugar.
‘Look for those canned in light syrup and rinse the berries in a colander under water before consuming … to decrease the added sugar content,’ Ms Loran said.