However, at the same time some fruits do also contain a lot of sugar and can therefore cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels much like any other sweet treat. And what goes up has to crash back down again! This spike and crash can leave you with some nasty symptoms such as headaches, sluggishness, hunger pangs, energy slumps, irritability weight gain etc.
So how can these sugar spikes with seamingly healthy fruits be avoided?
The GI of a food measures the effects it has on the blood sugar levels. It estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate in a food raises a person’s blood glucose levels once the food has been consumed. This is worked out relative to the consumption of glucose, which is 100.
In order to avoid the nasty symptoms associated with excess sugars you need to try to make low GI food choices, foods that are ideally under 50 on the glycemic index, Anything above 70 is considered high GI.
Most whole fruits are classed as low to medium GI as long as they are in their whole, original form. However fruit juices, smoothies and fruit flavoured products are not low gi and are usually packed with added sugars which sends them up the GI scale. Even pure fruit juices are higher GI due to the fibre that is removed when the fruit is juiced.
Not all whole fruits are the same though, for example tropical fruits tend to have a much higher GI than you might expect, in fact you may be surprised to know that Watermelon has a GI of 72 which is higher than many fruit based foods with added sugar!
Here is my guide on the Higher and Lower GI’s of fruits and which ones are best if you are looking to keep your blood sugar levels and weight in check:
VERY Low GI – The best choices
Cherries (22) , Grapefruit (25)
Low GI – Great choices
Raspberries (less than 40), Apples (38), Oranges (45), Pears (38), Strawberries (40)
Medium to High GI
Banana (54), Kiwi (53), Pineapple (66)
High GI – Over 70
Watermelon (72), also dates and raisons
Finally, try to add protein such as natural yogurt to your low GI fruit. This can further prevent the sugar surges, helps you to preserve muscle mass, helps you to burn fat and will really minimise those hunger pangs!