Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience.
Fruits are one of the best food choices for people with diabetes. These are low in calorie, are free of cholesterol and are rich in vitamins and fibre.
But what if you don’t have the time to clean, peel, de-seed and cut fruits? You may want to reach out for a fruit juice, where fruits come in a ready-to-consume avatar. But wait! If you’re a diabetic (and even otherwise, actually), it is best if you would pause a bit before you go for that store-bought fruit juice.
The downside to fruit juice – calories
Most fruit juices contain a lot of carbohydrates and are higher in calories as compared to the whole fruit. They are often prepared using sweeteners like fructose that may cause a significant spike in your blood glucose levels. (1) Some juice packs state the product is 100% natural with no artificial flavouring or added sugar. But before you buy them, make sure to check the ingredients and confirm the absence of sugars, carbohydrates and corn syrup.
Fruit juice is low in fibre too
Fruit juices contain a much lesser amount of fibre as compared to the entire fruit. This is because the process of juicing destroys the fibres. In fact, juices that are highly processed may have no fibre at all. Fibre is good for diabetics because it tends to slow down the body’s absorption of sugar. This causes fewer spikes in blood glucose levels following a meal that’s rich in fibre. Something that is not good in its fibre content may not be such a great choice after all.
Why fruit is a better option for diabetics
Fruits are rich in fibre and more filling than fruit juice. This means that if you are a diabetic, snacking on a fruit can help you eat healthy and maintain your body weight too. Fibre also plays a role in maintaining cholesterol levels and reduces your risk of risk of cardiovascular complications. (2)
Fruit juice – whether sweetened or natural – makes its way down our throat very easily. So it’s also quite likely that you may end up unwittingly consuming more of it than you intended to. Eating whole fruit is different – you need time to chew, and so it is easier to control the portions you consume.
What the research shows
An 18-year study conducted on 71,346 women aged between 38 and 63 years found that consuming fruit was associated with lower risk of diabetes, whereas drinking fruit juice was associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes. (3)
A 2013 research paper in the British Medical Journal suggested that consuming entire fruits such as apples, grapes and blueberries is linked to a lower risk of diabetes while consuming fruit juices is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. (4)
Considering all these aspects, it may indeed be apt for people with diabetes to skip the fruit juice and go with the whole fruit, just the way nature intended.
- Diabetes.co.uk. What Fruit Juice Can People With Diabetes Drink? Available online at: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/juice-and-diabetes.html
- J.W. Anderson. Dietary Fiber and Diabetes. In: Spiller G.A., Kay R.M. (eds) Medical Aspects of Dietary Fiber. Topics in Gastroenterology. Springer. 1980: 193-221. DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-9176-4_11
- L.A. Bazzano, T.Y. Li, K.J. Joshipura, F.B. Hu. Intake of Fruit, Vegetables, and Fruit Juices and Risk of Diabetes in Women. Diabetes Care. 2008 Jul; 31(7): 1311–1317. doi: 10.2337/dc08-0080
- I. Muraki, F.Imamura, J.E. Manson, F.B. Hu, W.C. Willett, R.M. vanDam et al. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: Results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5001