Monthly Archives: May 2015

Can a high fibre diet REALLY help prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

all branI’ve read 3 separate reports today of new research into the effects of a high fibre diet on the likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Without exception the three reports all claim that the research has shown that high fibre can prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Yet dig a small way beneath the headlines and it’s clear that’s not quite what the research actually found.

Two of the 3 reports state that when weight was taken out of the equation, high fibre actually had NO direct impact at all on Type 2 diabetes or its prevention, thus revealing the illusion within their own headlines:

“When BMI was accounted for, total fibre intake did not have this beneficial association with reduced diabetes risk.” – www.diabetes.co.uk

“The researchers said that when a person’s body-mass index (BMI) — an estimate of body fat based on height and weight — was accounted for, the benefits of a high-fiber diet in warding off diabetes disappeared.” – www.webmd.com

So it’s slightly curious that the other report makes no mention of this fact, and dramatically expands on the claims in favour of high fibre diets stating:

“High fibre intake found to lower chance of Type 2 by nearly a fifth” – Daily Mail

The reality of these findings is that some types of fibre – but not all – MAY help people to lose weight, and weight loss in turn MAY help prevent a person developing Type 2 Diabetes. It’s a tentative link  and no certain cause and effect has been established. It certainly has not been established that high fibre has any direct impact on your likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes, though I can imagine many breakfast cereal manufacturers would very much like you to think this!

I have absolutely nothing against appropriate amounts of fibre in anyone’s diet, but I am left wondering why the findings of this particular study are being apparently overblown. Is this really about vested interests in selling us more high fibre cereal, as a backlash against the recent vilification of the role of carbohydrates in the burgeoning so-called diabetes epidemic?  I’m sure time will tell!

Fruitful information for diabetes

Fruit juices – even fresh pressed juices – contain too much sugar. But you know that already right? There has been enough of coverage in recent months, comparing juices with other sugary drinks, and showing that even a fresh fruit juice can contain as much sugar as some regular soda drinks.

Advice has emerged to suggest that whilst it’s necessary to avoid juices, it’s OK to eat whole fruits. How often do you see advice for diabetics along the lines of “eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables”? It always jumps out at me that maybe we are still playing down the effects of fruit – because at the end of the day fruit contains sugar. It may be OK (ish) for non-diabetics, but I am concerned that diabetics are still being advised to eat sugary foods – and “plenty” of them.

I was especially worried to read a Twitter post just this morning advising diabetics to eat a vegan diet with unlimited amounts of fruit. Whoa there!

I have nothing at all against veganism if that’s your bag – the RebalanceDiabetes programme caters for most dietary preferences! But “unlimited” quantities of fruit makes me break out into a cold sweat! Not all fruits were born equal! Whilst you can certainly enjoy some fruits on a regular basis, others are so high in sugars that you might even want to avoid them most of the time.

So I thought it might be time to get to know a bit more about different fruits, and how they stack up in terms of sugar content. To make it easy I’ve ranked fruits in categories – lowest, moderate, high and very high sugars:

Limes, lemons, rhubarb (officially a vegetable, and containing less than 1% sugar), raspberries, blackberries are perhaps unsurprisingly among the lowest. They are not sharp without good reason! But it does mean you can enjoy these on a daily basis – just watch your portion sizes!

Slide1

Blueberries, strawberries, melons, nectarines and peaches, apples, grapefruits & apricots contain moderate amounts of sugar, and fit in well with a low carbohydrate eating plan.

Next come oranges, pears, pineapple and plums. These fruits have relatively higher levels of sugar, and perhaps need to be eaten less frequently.

Finally, cherries, grapes (over 20% sugar), figs, bananas, mangoes, and pomegranates can be considered to be among the highest.

Slide2

The highest of all are, predictably, dried fruits, including dates, raisins, apricots and prunes. As these contain whopping amounts of sugar – up to 70% or even more – these are the ones to strictly limit!

Armed with this information, you can hopefully make wiser fruit choices? Happy eating!