How to determine if a food is good for diabetics

By Toma Latest Reply 2008-11-23 10:34:10 -0600
Started 2008-11-12 13:57:32 -0600

I got a question about pomegranates In my forum at The answer I gave was not so much in support or against that fruit but rather about how I look at foods to determine if I will add it to my diet. I thought it might be a good discussion for here.

The first thing I look at is the Glycemic index for a food. I do that with the data base at

The GI is a bit high at 67 for a 240 ml portion which is 40 grams of carbohydrate for a glycemic load of 26.8

Then I look at the nutrition break down of the food.

This is the nutrition breakdown for a raw pomegranate.

Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1 fruit

Calories per serving:
calories 104.72;Calories from fat 0.3

Total Fat 0.3
Saturated Fat 0.0
Trans Fat 0.00 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.10 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.07 g
Cholesterol 0.00 mg
Sodium 4.62 mg
Potassium 398.86 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.44 g
Net Carbohydrate 25.52 g
Dietary fiber 0.92 g
Sugars 25.52 g
Protien 1.46 g

Vitamin A 166.32 Vitamin C 9.39 mg
Calcium 4.62 mg Iron 0.46 mg

Actual values are used in this label instead of % of DRV
Total Protien 5.05%
Total Carbohydrate 91.35%
Total Fat 3.59%

This one is fairly high in potassium and it has a good amount of antioxidants. Pomegranate does rank well with these antioxidants.

Pomegranate may inhibit the chronic inflammation linked with a variety of health problems such as heart disease and arthritis, according to a study conducted by researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and published in the Journal of Inflammation.

"Consumption of pomegranate fruit extract may be of value in inhibiting inflammatory stimuli-induced cartilage breakdown and production of inflammatory mediators in arthritis," the researchers wrote.

Pomegranate is known to be high in antioxidants, including punicalagins and punicalins, and antioxidants are known to help reduce inflammation in the body.

While short-term inflammation is often a normal and healthy immune response, chronic inflammation is associated with a variety of health problems including arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and dementia. It is also associated with a variety of effects of aging, such as cognitive decline.

After looking at the data one has to form an opinion. There are some rather positive things for the pomegranate but also some cautions.

Pomegranate did not make my super foods list for diabetics for a couple of reasons. The PCF ratio is one of them. The protein, carbohydrate fat ratio for pomegranate is 5% protein, 91% carbohydrate and 4% fat. That to me is a concern. My PCF targets for each meal or snack I eat is 20-50-30. Then I look at the carbs. Of the 26.54 grams of carbs in a pomegranate (154.6 grams or 5.5 ounces) 25.61 grams are sugars. Then I look at what are those sugars. The highest sugar content is glucose (7.73 grams) followed by fructose at 7.26 grams and .62 grams of sucrose. This obviously does not account for all the sugars in a pomegranate, but enough for me to form an opinion. Glucose is very high glycemic. (Quick to raise blood glucose.) That is probably why pomegranate does not rank among the low glycemic foods.

A final test for a diabetic is to test blood sugars before eating a pomegranate. Eat the fruit then test blood glucose levels again at an interval of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours and 4 hours after eating it. If you see a quick spike followed by a fall below your normal then don’t add that food to your diet. If on the other hand you see a gentle rise and fall over the 4 hour period and you return to your pre meal test then it is a good food for you. If you decide to test the pomegranate I would be interested in your results.

18 replies

Toma 2008-11-23 10:34:10 -0600 Report

Gogi is a berry and berries in general are full of good nutrients, especially antioxidants. I am leary of goji simply because it is so highly hyped by the people selling it. It has been very expensive everywhere I have seen it and it is often sold in a MLM system. All three of these are red flags for me. Acai and wolfberry also get a lot of hype from those selling it and I place them in the same category.

I am not saying there is necessarily anything wrong with the berries just that I think there are other less expensive alternatives such as blueberries and other nutrient powerhouses that are far less expensive, more readily available and also very healthy choices. If you do not mind paying the high prices for goji, acai or wolfberry they probably have benefits. The question I would ask is are you getting good cost / benefit ratio.

I have been able to reverse my diabetes, arthritis, GERD and a few other conditions by becoming very aware of what I eat and carefully select the foods but they are all common foods available in most grocery stores. Yes in some cases the good foods are more expensive than problematic foods. Still, I have not needed to rely on the very exotic extremely high priced fad of the day.

teddy bear - 17161
teddy bear - 17161 2008-11-23 07:44:52 -0600 Report

since you are on the topic of fruits how does himayalan goji juice stack up for health
they also have another product called gochi juice
the juice is made from dried goji berries harvested and grown in the himalayan mountains
it contains lycium barbarium and the producers have high claims of its effectiveness in lowering blood sugar levels
what is your opinion?

Jh862 2008-11-22 18:08:11 -0600 Report

My mom told me she was told by her Dr. not to eat poms because of meds she is taking (not sure which since she uses insulin, Lipitor, Prilosec and 2 blood pressure meds). They supposedly have the same effects as grapefruits on the medicines.

I personally haven't eaten one whole - only as a mix in juice or tea.

GabbyPA 2008-11-16 11:32:03 -0600 Report

Ok, the results are in, and I learned a couple of things.

I did the Pomegranet test this morning. It was my only food when I got up. No water, no coffee, no vitamins. Just one whole pomegranet

Before eating: 219
30min after: 235 (+16)
1 hour after: 248 (+29)
1 1/2 hour after: 226 (+7)

So yep, it boosts me a bit, but not as much as I thought it would. So I am not afraid to eat one now.

What surprised me is that I peaked at 1 hour, not now all my 2 hour after meal readings are not accurate for my high. That was a big surprise. So I ate something else and tested in the same way...same results.

So from now on, I will be doing my after meal testing 1 hour after instead of two. I won't like those numbers I bet. Dang!

Toma 2008-11-16 12:47:44 -0600 Report


Different foods will peak at different times. It is because of several factors such as stomach emptying, how quickly a food is converted to glucose etc. What this test told you is the pomegranate caused a moderate rise in blood glucose but quicker than other foods. Another example would be what happens with pizza. Because pizza is so high in fats the peak will be later but probably much higher than the pomegranate. It even has a name, the "pizza effect."

Other foods such as the mucilinous foods we talked about (chia, okra, psyllium, etc.) will show less of a rise and peak later. They should also be showing a down trend toward normal readings.

Your starting reading is already pretty high. I would suggest only eating foods that are going to get that number down into the < 140 after meals and < 100 pre meal, continue for two weeks. >200 mg/dl is too high.

GabbyPA 2008-11-16 15:14:19 -0600 Report

I am still struggling to get below 200 anytime in my day. I had a few really good weeks where I was in the mid 100's, but now, I am lucky to get anything in the 160 range. The only thing that has really changed is the loss of many of my supplements and my chia seeds. Other than that, my meals have been pretty much the same as before.
What buggs me too is that I check after my exercise and then when I check before my breakfast, I am on the rise still with my dawn phenomenon. I thought exercise was supposed to help my numbers go down? I have been poking myself all day today after each meal and I am finding all kinds of things out. I will post it in "Exsercise #3" here if you want to see all the nubers today. What a roller coaster is has been!

GabbyPA 2008-11-12 15:23:35 -0600 Report

I just happen to have one in my frige right now....I might have to conduct that experiment. I ate half of one the other day and noticed that it did raise my levels a good bit. That bummed me out, because I do like them, and they are a fussy food, so they take me a long time to eat and thus slow me down...oh the games I play! LOL

2008-11-13 11:20:36 -0600 Report

Keep playing those games Gabby, you are doing good!! LOL

Goddess 2008-11-13 11:26:09 -0600 Report

You are a real food tester. You should be a professional one.

GabbyPA 2008-11-13 20:44:52 -0600 Report

Either unfortunately or fortunately, I will try anything at least once. Twice if I am not sure. LOL I guess I always believe I would not know if I would like it until I try it.
Caribou and oxtail...yes!
Octopus and Okra...nope! LOL

Toma 2008-11-14 17:13:09 -0600 Report

Hi Gabby,

Your comment on okra started me thinking and searching the internet. I was already aware of several foods that help control blood glucose. Many of these foods have a specific type of fiber known as mucilage. Okra is one of the foods particularly high in mucilage. while I was searching I found this about okra and thought I would pass it on. I am always looking for foods that will help me optimize my diet for better glucose control. It is a bonus when I happen to like the food. My family is from the south so okra is a food I grew up with.

1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood
sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the
intestinal tract.
2. Okra's mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins
dumped into it by the filtering liver.
3. Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative
qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools.
This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran,
which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage
soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its
slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in
bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health
problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body.
Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side
effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of
most unlike the OTC drugs.
4. Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria
(probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
5. Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and
suffering from depression.
6. Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It
helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a
temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
7. Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel.
8. Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma
9. Okra is good for summer heat treatment. Okra is a supreme
vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from
10. Okra is good for constipation.
11. Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol
12. Okra is good for asthma. Okra's vitamin C is an antioxidant and
anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms
13. Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
14. Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion,
especially colorectal cancer.
15. Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
16. Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of
17. Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
18. Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful
skin. We understand the reason why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to
eat okra.

GabbyPA 2008-11-14 19:30:18 -0600 Report

Okay, you win...the exact thing I don't like about it is what makes it good for us....the slime!! LOL
After seeing all of this, I might have to find some ways to sneak it in my diet. Is it just as good raw as it is cooked? Maybe it will be less slimy that way.

Toma 2008-11-15 12:46:45 -0600 Report

LOL Gabby,
I think okra is an acquired taste. I grew up with it so I never had a problem when I found out it was good for me. There are many southern dishes that have it as a main ingredient where the mucilage becomes part of the sauce such as Okra Soup, Curried Okra, Okra and Shrimp and Chicken and Okra Gumbo.

Okra is a mucilaginous plant as such it gives off a slippery/sticky substance when cut. This substance gives okra it's thickening properties. This is why it is so useful in soups and stews. However, when used raw or as a vegetable it shouldn't be cut into too small pieces, as the more it is cut, the stickier it becomes.

Okra is used raw, pickled or cooked on it's own and compliments tomatoes, onions, eggplant, corn and peppers. Many people prefer to eat Okra fried or breaded as this reduces it's slipperyness. I am not sure if frying it is the best idea since it is usually breaded when fried and frying produces free radicals when the oil is heated to high temps. Many of the traditional recipes need to be modified to make them diabetic friendly.

I just added a chicken, shrimp, okra gumbo to the recipe section.

Chicken and Okra Gumbo is easy to make and well worth the effort.

GabbyPA 2008-11-15 14:41:15 -0600 Report

I bought some today at the farmers market. I ate some raw, and it was okay, but like you said, don't cut it up. I just ate a pod straight. I will check out your recipes, and see if there is something I can use there. I do like it in jumbalia...but the rest of the family is less willing to try.

Pauline B
Pauline B 2008-11-22 17:38:28 -0600 Report

Some of staff at Alaska Psychiatric Institute (state mental hospital) were from the south, so when I went to Seattle for a long weekend I looked for Okra to take back to them so they could prepare real Chicken Gumbo soup. They were so appreciative of the effort. I never devloped the taste for Okra, but do like the Greens they fixed for New Year's day.

Jh862 2008-11-22 18:12:13 -0600 Report

I love okra - love the slime and the vinegar is good too! I've tried it boiled and fried (not so good version) and like the boiled best. Love it in veggy soup - it doesn't get slimy in soup as it does by itself.

I've never tried okra raw. Was it bitter tasting?

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