As per the study published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, adding dried fruits such as dates, apricots, raisins and sultanas to your daily diet may not spike your blood sugar levels, as compared to starchy foods such as white bread. Experts compared the glycaemic response of four dried fruits -- dates, apricots, raisins and sultanas -- to white bread in a small group of healthy participants. John Sievenpiper from Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital said, "People often worry about sources of sugar, and fruits are one of them. But most fruits, in particular tender fruits, have a low glycaemic index and what we're showing here is dried fruits also have a lower glycaemic index, so they don't raise your blood sugar very much." He further added, "This study finds that people can use dried fruits as a low glycaemic index food source to replace higher glycaemic index foods. So, as a snack food, dried fruit is going to be preferred to a grain-based cracker or snack."
Researchers found that fruits had a lower glycaemic index and could lower the glycaemic response of white bread through displacement of half of the available carbohydrate. The glycaemic index is a way of explaining how different carbohydrates affect blood glucose and can help find out which foods are best for people with diabetes. Foods that are high on the glycaemic index (like potato, rice, white bread, breakfast cereals) are known to increase blood glucose and insulin levels. Whereas, the carbs in low glycaemic index foods (like pasta, beans, lentils and certain whole grains such as barley and oats) are broken down more slowly, and cause more moderate increase in blood glucose and insulin.
The study also suggested that there's potential for food manufacturers to develop low glycaemic index foods with reformulations that include dried fruits. "However, longer and larger randomised trials will be needed to confirm whether dried fruits can contribute to sustainable improvements in glycaemic control, and whether other dried fruits have a similar glycaemic index," Sievenpiper stated.
What Is Glycaemic Index (GI)?
The glycaemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbs with low GI value (55 or less) are digested, absorbed and metabolised slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood glucose. Carbohydrates with a GI higher than 70 cause marked fluctuations in the blood glucose levels. The foods are ranked on a scale from 0 to 100 as per the extent to which they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating.