March 19, 2019
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Reema A. Patel, M.D. contributes to topics such as Diabetes.
Red raspberries may be just what the doctor wants you to eat more of if you are at risk for diabetes. According to a new study, people who ate the fruit needed less insulin to manage their blood glucose, but it wasn’t a cure-all.
The authors say that red raspberries could be beneficial for people who have prediabetes and insulin resistance. Prediabetes is a condition where you may either have high fasting blood sugars or impaired glucose tolerance.
A study published in Obesity assessed the effects of red raspberries in a group of people at-risk for diabetes who were overweight or obese and had prediabetes and insulin resistance. A metabolically healthy control group was also included in the study.
In the study, 32 adults who were between 20 and 60 years old ate breakfast on three separate days. There were three meals similar in calories and macronutrients, but they differed in the amount of red raspberries included: One meal didn’t include raspberries, the next included one cup of red raspberries and the other included two cups of red raspberries. The participants then had their blood tested over a 24-hour period after eating.
The people who ate the most amount of raspberries had lower glucose concentrations compared to those who did not eat the berries. The results show that as the amount of raspberries eaten increased, those at risk for diabetes needed less insulin to manage their blood glucose.
The authors contend that including certain fruits such as red raspberries can have glucose lowering benefits with indications of improvements in insulin responses.
Berries, in general, including raspberries, have a lower glycemic index compared to other fruits such as pears, grapes, peaches and watermelons, says Reema Patel, M.D., medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center, Affiliate at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center–Old Bridge. “This means that it is less likely to raise blood sugars compared to the other fruits,” Dr. Patel explained.
Berries are considered a superfood since they are also high in vitamin C, folic acid, fiber and phytochemicals.
Raspberries are also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food. A serving of two cups of raspberries has around 128 calories and has about 30 grams of carbohydrates. Over half of the carbohydrates consist of dietary fiber, which makes it a favorable snack option for patients with diabetes and prediabetes.
That said, how much a person should eat daily may depend on other health conditions, so the amount to eat should not be generalized. Talk to your doctor to see if and how much of the raspberries should be a part of your diet.
“Although the above study points that the addition of raspberries is favorable to a population who is at risk for diabetes, it does not provide much detail on the meals consumed in conjunction to the raspberries,” Dr. Patel says. “It also does not provide details on the patient’s exercise or activity levels, all of which are lifestyle factors that can significantly affect the results.”
Additionally, the age group used in the study was limited, so generalizing a recommendation based on the results cannot be made to all age groups, Dr. Patel adds.
Generally, patients who have prediabetes and diabetes are recommended to follow a healthy lifestyle. They should consume a diet low in carbohydrates and fat, and rich in protein. Moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes a week is also an important part of reducing blood sugars and insulin requirements and preventing development of diabetes.
Reema Patel, M.D., FACE, is medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center, Affiliate at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center–Old Bridge. She is board certified in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and Internal Medicine. To make an appointment, call 732-360-4070. To find an endocrinologist near you, click here.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.