The Benefits of Eating Fresh Apples and Pears for Diabetics

By MAYS Latest Reply 2013-01-27 13:55:04 -0600
Started 2013-01-25 05:37:22 -0600

For nutritional reasons, we're often advised to consume the skins of fruits.

However, it's less often that research provides strong evidence in support of this advice. Recent studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phenolic phytonutrients as the flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids. The skin of the pear has also been show to contain about half of the pear's total dietary fiber.

In recent studies measuring risk of type 2 diabetes in U.S. women, pears have earned very special recognition.

Researchers now know that certain flavonoids in food can improve insulin sensitivity, and of special interest in this area have been three groups of flavonoids (flavonols, flavan-3-ols, and anthocyanins). All pears contain flavonoids falling within the first two groups, and red-skinned pears contain anthocyanins as well. Intake of these flavonoid groups has been associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in both women and men.

However, a new analysis of the Nurses' Health Study has shown that among all fruits and vegetables analyzed for their flavonoid content, the combination of apples/pears showed the most consistent ability to lower risk of type 2 diabetes. We believe that this special recognition given to pears as a fruit that can help lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women is likely to be followed by future studies showing this same benefit for men.

Decreased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease

As a very good source of dietary fiber, pears might logically be expected to help protect us from development of type 2 diabetes (or DM2, which stands for "diabetes mellitus type 2) as well heart disease.

Adequate intake of dietary fiber is a long-established factor in reducing our risk of both diseases, and in the case of pears, this benefit may be even more pronounced due to the helpful combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber in this fruit. In addition to their fiber content, however, pears have other ways of helping to protect us against these diseases.

In the case of DM2, scientists now know that pear flavonols (including isorhamnetin, quercetin, and kaempferol), flavan-3-ols (especially epicatechin), and the anthocyanins (found in red-skinned varieties including Red Anjou, Red Bartlett, Comice, Seckel, and Starkrimson) all help improve insulin sensitivity. (More and more research attention is being given to mechanisms of action in this area, including regulation of the enzyme NADPH oxidase.)

In the case of heart disease, recent research has shown that pear fibers are able to bind together with bile acids in the intestine, lowering the pool of bile acids and decreasing the synthesis of cholesterol. In addition, the phytonutrients in pear may play a special role in these fiber-bile acid interactions.

The ability of pear fibers (and other fruit fibers) to bind bile acids has actually been compared to the cholesterol-lowering drug cholestyramine, with pears showing about 5% of the ability of the drug to accomplish this result. (Among commonly eaten fruits, only bananas and pineapples showed more bile acid-binding ability at 9% and 6%, respectively.)

15 replies

CaliKo 2013-01-27 13:55:04 -0600 Report

What great material to justify my pear addiction! I eat a small (usually) Bartlett pear every afternoon with peanut butter. Thanks Mays!

hevyn<3 2013-01-27 10:06:03 -0600 Report

My daughter loves apples. She would eat at least 4 daily if I let her. Pears too. Unfortunately the spiked cause me to minimize her intake. (She hates peanut butter and cheeses or I would add them to the snack )

Set apart
Set apart 2013-01-26 07:06:52 -0600 Report

Thanks Mays I eat both of these fruits usually in half portions, unless I can find small apples! Lately pears have been so yummy from the produce sections, didn't even know I was taking all the right steps, thanks!

MAYS 2013-01-26 08:39:09 -0600 Report

Set apart, How can you not be taking all of the right steps?..LoL.
You have been such a positive, productive member of this family, always there ready to help others and you words are a great source of motivation for others, my thanks are to you!

Type1Lou 2013-01-25 13:59:57 -0600 Report

My usual daily lunch is an apple, cored, cut in 12 slices and slathered with 2 tbsps of all-natural (only peanuts and salt) Peanut Butter. It's high fiber and very filling/satisfying. Depending on the size of the apple, it totals from 37 to 45 grams of carb. Since I've adopted this habit, I also find that the added fiber aids with regularity…(I'm trying to be delicate here.) My Mom who lived to nearly 98 years of age ate an apple a day. I also like pears but don't buy them as often. I love to dice pears over greens and sprinkle with toasted nuts and crumbled blue cheese for a yummy salad.

GabbyPA 2013-01-25 09:34:51 -0600 Report

I love both of these fruits and do try to eat them. I eat more apples than pears, but my husband likes the pears. So maybe I will add those more consistently to our diets.

manapua72 2013-01-25 05:43:16 -0600 Report

Since I've been on insulin I haven't been using my Vitamix blender .,,. I used to blend apples bananas and blueberries to make a shake , sometimes instead fox apples I used pears … Problem was it always shot my sugar up … Maybe I'll try again … Now that I'm in insulin and using pump …

Lentyl 2013-01-25 11:26:29 -0600 Report

Would eating some strong protien or adding protien powder to a shake help moderate the sugars?

MAYS 2013-01-25 11:53:06 -0600 Report

Doing so will slow down the absorbtion rate and the release of sugar into yoour blood stream (the fiber of the apple peel and the fiber of the pear and it's peel will also help to do so along with the protein powder).

GabbyPA 2013-01-25 09:33:59 -0600 Report

What I do (because I like the crunch) is eat my fruit not quite ripe. That helps with the sugar spikes and the runny chins. I don't know how it will work in your juicer, but I just eat mine whole.

MAYS 2013-01-25 09:17:16 -0600 Report

Why not give it a try again?
There are so many benefits to it, besides you did it before andi am sure that it tasted great!

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