Really? Diabetics Should Avoid Eating Fruit

Apr 15, 2013 1from California Dried Fruit Coalition

For most people, eating fruit goes along with a healthy diet. But for people with diabetes, it's a different story.

Should fruit be kept to a minimum or even avoided altogether because of its sugar content? Or do the fiber and other nutrients it contains minimize its effect on blood sugar? Because of a lack of research, and conflicting advice, there has not been a clear answer.

But a new study in Nutrition Journal should provide some guidance: It found that restricting fruit intake did not seem to benefit diabetics.

In the study, the first randomized trial to address the issue, researchers recruited 63 overweight men and women with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. All of the subjects were given medical care and nutrition advice, including suggestions to limit calories. But some were randomly assigned to limit their fruit intake, while a second group was instructed to eat at least two pieces of fruit daily. The goal was to see how this affected their levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, which provides an indication of blood sugar level over time.

The first group ended up consuming about 135 grams of fruit a day, roughly equivalent to a single orange or banana, while the second group consumed about 320 grams of fruit daily.

After 12 weeks, both groups had lost weight and had smaller waists, but those who ate more fruit had the greatest reductions. And there was no significant difference between the two groups when it came to their blood sugar measures.

"Considering the many possible beneficial effects of fruit," the authors wrote, "we recommend that fruit intake should not be restricted in Type 2 diabetic subjects."

Avoiding fruit may not prove beneficial for Type 2 diabetics, but more research is needed.

Dried Plums as a functional food for oral health

Jul 5, 2012 from California Dried Fruit Coalition

Christine D. Wu, M.S., Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry

College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

801 S. Paulina St. MC850

Although dental caries is a multi-factorial infectious disease dependent on diet, nutrition, microbial infection and host response, dental plaque bacteria have been implicated as the important etiologic agent in the formation of dental caries. Food particles and sugar (sucrose) trapped on the surfaces of teeth may serve as ready sources of fermentable carbohydrates by plaque bacteria, which promote acid production that leads to demineralization of enamel and eventually tooth decay.

Foods that are perceived as sticky, such as dried fruit, often are considered more cariogenic than those that do not stick to the teeth, but some research indicates no correlation between stickiness and retention of foods on teeth. The carbohydrate and phytochemical content of the food needs to be considered. Phytochemcials often have anti-microbial functions and research indicates that antioxidants and flavonoids can inhibit in vitro growth of selected oral pathogens.

An unpublished report to the California Dried Plum Board suggests that dried plums are a healthy alternative to the commonly consumed sugar-added snack foods and may benefit dental and oral health. Research undertaken on behalf of the dried plum industry at the College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago measured the effect of dried plum consumption on plaque pH compared to other common snack foods (e.g. other fruits, cookies). Results from this pilot study indicated that dried plums did not lower plaque pH to the critical level that would increase the risk of caries.

The main sugars in dried plums (prunes) are glucose and fructose. Only a trace amount of sucrose is found in dried plums. Sucrose is used as substrate by cariogenic bacteria to produce harmful acids and the sticky matrix material of dental plaque. In addition, the sweet-tasting sorbitol in dried plums is not metabolized by the cariogenic bacteria.