Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fruit and Pre-Diabetes

Question:  I was diagnosed as having pre-diabetes earlier this year.  Since then I have completely changed my eating habits and become a vegetarian.  I’ve lost weight but want to lose more.  Can you tell me which fruits have a high sugar content?  I am wondering about apples, raisins, bananas, and strawberries.  I already know I need to avoid orange juice. Thanks for your help!

Answer:  Congratulations on making positive changes to your eating habits.  Sugar is one form of carbohydrate.  All carbohydrate breaks down into glucose when digested.  Instead of focusing on sugar content of foods, I encourage my patients to look at total carbohydrate content. 

All fruit is carbohydrate and will have an effect on blood sugars.  The amount of carbohydrate really depends more on portion than the type of fruit.  To give you an idea, a small 4 oz. apple, 1 cup berries, and 1/2 large banana all have  ~15g carb.  Even juice can be included in a healthy meal plan as long as you are careful with the portion.  4 oz. (1/2 cup) of orange juice has ~15g carb.

Be cautious with larger pieces of fruit.  Some apples may weigh close to 16 oz. and contain up to 60g carb. Weigh and measure your fruits if you question the portion and carb content of what you are consuming.

Fruit shrinks when dried.  We tend to consume more of it since it is smaller in size than fresh fruit.  Be cautious with dried fruits, including raisins, as 1/4 cup contains ~30g carb.

Remember, it is still recommended to aim for the recommended 2-3 servings per day of fruits since they provide us with lots of healthy antioxidants and phytochemicals.  Just be more cautious of the portion you are consuming and what other carbs you are consuming at each particular meal or snack.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Prediabetes and weight loss

Question:  I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes and was prescribed medication.  I have been following a diet to lose weight but unfortunately in the past few weeks, I have actually gained a few pounds.  When I was eating whatever I wanted without the medication, I stayed the same weight.  In the past, I have exercised at least 3 days a week but after a year of doing this I only lost about 10 pounds.  Do you have any suggestions?

Answer:  10# in the past year is 10# in the right direction - don't be too hard on yourself!  It is possible that the medication you were started on may have weight gain as a side effect even if it is helping to lower your blood sugar - check with your doctor or the pharmacist to see if this may be the case.  It may also be helpful to consult a registered dietitian and/or a personal trainer to help you to achieve better results with weight loss if that is what you are hoping for.