In general, people with diabetes avoid eating pineapple as part of their regular diet. Being such sweet fruit, its contribution of carbohydrates and natural sugars can raise blood glucose and interrupt the good management of the disease. But is it really necessary to avoid pineapple at all costs, or is there a safe way to include it in a diabetic diet?
Keep reading below to learn about the pros and cons of pineapple, as well as some general tips for including it in your diet.
Can a Diabetic Eat Pineapple?
Many people with diabetes believe that they cannot eat fruits due to their high sugar content, however, it is not necessary to take this idea to the extreme. While fruits should not be the main source of carbohydrates in the diet, diabetics do not have to give them up completely.
After all, fruits are an incredible source of vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. Eliminating them from your diet can deprive you of essential compounds and micronutrients that the body needs to function properly.
Now, not all fruits are the same. Some are sweeter than others, which means that they can have a greater impact on your glucose levels. Precisely, pineapple, also known as pineapple, is one of the fruits that stands out the most for its natural sweetness.
So is pineapple good or bad for diabetics? How much sugar does pineapple have?
In general, people with diabetes can eat pineapple, but it is very important to do so in moderation. Analyzing the nutritional information of this fruit we see that 1 cup (165 grams) of natural pineapple, cut into cubes, contains approximately 21.6 grams of carbohydrates, of which 16.3 grams correspond to sugar ( sucrose, fructose, glucose ) and only 2.3 grams correspond to fiber.
These values indicate that, when eating pineapple, people with diabetes should limit the size of the portion to keep their blood glucose levels under control.
What is the glycemic index (GI) of pineapple? What about your glycemic load(GL)?
Pineapple is considered a Medium-High glycemic index food. Medium GI foods don’t spike blood sugar as fast as high GI foods, but they still have a significant impact.
The glycemic index of natural pineapple is 59, although, in reality, this value can vary in the range of 52 to 66 depending on the variety, the growing area, and the concentration of natural sugars. Some sources claim that your score may be even higher, reaching the high glycemic index range (70 or more).
The 3 main factors that affect the glycemic index of pineapple are:
- The Maturity (the more mature fruit is, the higher its GI)
- The mode of consumption (for example, if you eat natural pineapple, in juice, canned, etc.)
- The presence of added sugars (the addition of sugar triggers the GI in any pineapple preparation)
In addition, it is important to consider your glycemic load, a measure that takes into account both the serving size and the glycemic index of the food. Returning to the 1 cup portion of pineapple, we see that its glycemic load is 6; even if it is a low glycemic load (less than 10), it is important for a diabetic to control portion sizes to prevent possible spikes in blood glucose.
Comparing pineapple with other fruits
Knowing the approximate glycemic index of the most common fruits can help you compare and make better decisions …
- Watermelon: 72
- Melon: 65
- Pineapple: 59
- Grapes: 59
- Handle: 55
- Banana: 48
- Orange: 45
- Apple: 36
Note: It should be noted that the dietary fiber content present in several of these fruits helps counteract their effect on blood glucose levels.
How to eat pineapple so that the sugar does not rise?
Although pineapple is not one of the best fruits for those with diabetes, it is possible to eat it safely and occasionally. The 3 most important recommendations to keep in mind are:
- Eat very small portions to stay on the safe side (about 1 thin slice / 56 grams).
- Combine it with a source of good protein or fat.
- Avoid pineapple recipes that contain added sugar (juices, colada, desserts).
The best option will always be to consume fresh or frozen fruit, with all the fiber and without additives. Accompany it with a handful of nuts, almonds, seeds, or Greek yogurt to avoid spikes in blood glucose.
Canned or processed pineapple usually has added sugar, especially when the fruit is in syrup. If that’s the only option available, go for canned in water and avoid syrups.
If you want a serving of pineapple for dessert, make sure to do it after eating low-glycemic foods, for example:
- Rice whole
- Lean proteins
- Healthy fats
It is also recommended to keep track of glucose levels after eating pineapple. This will help you understand how your body responds and identify the most appropriate serving size.
Note: In case you suspect that pineapple triggers your blood sugar levels, it is best to suspend its consumption. Work with your doctor or nutritionist to determine if a pineapple is a safe food to include in your diet.
Does pineapple have benefits for diabetics?
Yes like many other fruits, pineapple is rich in vitamins, essential minerals, enzymes, and beneficial compounds for health; this includes micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, manganese, copper, potassium, and magnesium.
In general, these are the main health benefits of pineapple for diabetics … and non-diabetics:
- Fiber: Promotes healthier digestive health, helps keep you feeling full longer, and slows sugar absorption, reducing blood sugar spikes.
- Vitamin C: Is a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen immune system function and prevent the development of chronic conditions, such as heart disease and some types of cancer.
- Manganese: An essential nutrient that promotes good bone health and wound healing, helps regulate blood glucose, and fights free radical damage eleven.
- Bromelain: It is a unique digestive enzyme found in pineapple, which has not only been associated with the improvement of digestive processes (digestion of proteins) and weight loss but also with the relief of osteoarthritis and other inflammatory processes, as well as with cancer treatment.
Are there contraindications?
Although pineapple is a safe food for most people, there are certain contraindications and warnings to be aware of for instance:
- Hypersensitivity to compounds present in pineapple: Cross-reactions with bee venom, olive pollen, celery, cypress pollen, bromelain, and papain have been reported.
- Allergic reactions: Consuming pineapple can cause allergic reactions in some people, especially if they are sensitive to bromelain. Symptoms may disappear in a few hours, but if not, the person should see a doctor immediately.
- Drug interactions: Bromelain has the ability to increase the absorption of certain antibiotics in the body and aggravate some of its adverse effects ( chest pain, nosebleeds, chills, fever, dizziness ). Cases of potentiation of amoxicillin and tetracycline have been documented. Also, bromelain can increase the risk of bleeding when combined with blood thinners.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Although it is considered a food suitable for pregnant women, more studies are still needed to evaluate the effect and safety of pineapple during pregnancy and lactation. Pineapple, especially the enzyme bromelain, is believed to induce uterine contractions and result in miscarriage; however, there is not enough evidence to confirm this theory. In the case of women with gestational diabetes, it is recommended to control the portion size very well when eating pineapple or drinking its juice, as this can increase blood glucose. It is also recommended to combine it with foods rich in protein, fat, and fiber to prevent sugar spikes in pregnant women. It is always necessary to consult the doctor about the most suitable diet in case of gestational diabetes.
Other precautions to consider:
- The green juice pineapple can cause severe vomiting.
- In some cases, ingestion of bromelain has been associated with adverse reactions (diarrhea, excessive menstrual flow, nausea, rash, and vomiting). The most severe cases can result in anaphylaxis.
- Eating large amounts of pineapple can cause bothersome symptoms, such as swelling of the mouth and cheeks.
Can I eat pineapple if I have gestational diabetes?
Women with gestational diabetes should make sure not only to maintain a diet suitable for diabetes but also for pregnancy. In the specific case of pineapple, there are certain doubts about whether its consumption is safe or not.
On the one hand, we have that pineapple is a fruit rich in natural sugars, the intake of which can cause spikes in blood glucose. And on the other hand, it is said that bromelain, an enzyme abundant in pineapple, can promote uterine contractions and induce labor if taken in large quantities.
While both concerns are true, moderate consumption of pineapple is considered safe in cases of gestational diabetes.
This fruit can continue to be part of a balanced diet, as long as the pregnant woman limits the portion size and keeps her blood sugar under control. It is recommended not to exceed the amount of 1 cup of pineapple per day.