Eating whole fruits — including the fructose that makes them sweet — does not raise blood sugar, an endocrinologist has said.
”Fiber (in fruits) reduces the rate of absorption of sugars in your intestine and so your blood glucose and your blood fructose don’t spike, which then makes your insulin no to spike either,” Dr. Robert Lustig said in an interview following his talk on metabolic syndrome during the forum, “Fats and Sugars: Friends or Foes”, held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati on Wednesday.
Lustig said eating the fiber in fruit would actually protect one from diabetes and other diseases associated with the overconsumption of sweets.
On the other hand, drinking juice extracted from fruits and throwing out the fiber would increase blood sugar, he warned, noting that this could cause diabetes the same way soda does.
The fructose in fruits is not an added sugar if the entire fruit is eaten, he explained.
”But once you take the fiber away, then it might as well be added sugar and it’s just like soda,” he pointed out.
During the forum, Lustig emphasized that health care starts with one’s diet.
“You can’t solve health care until you solve health. And you can’t solve health until you solve diet,” he said, adding that consuming too much sugar causes Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart disease, and tooth decay.
Fructose in sugar, he said, is not easily broken down by the body and is deposited in the liver, turning into triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that increases one’s risk of heart disease.
Lustig cautioned against the consumption of processed food — cakes, candies, sodas top name a few — as they are high in sugar or salt but low in fiber.
Sugar, he said, is also lurking in barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, hamburger buns, pretzels, and the like, which cannot be offset by the consumption of fiber and can thus damage the body.
The forum was organized by the Philippine Center for Diabetes Education Foundation. (LSJ/PNA)