23rd August 2019

Getting to the Core of Diabetes

We’re a nation with a real sweet tooth. Sweets, sugary snacks and chocolates may make the occasional treat, but for many, sugar intake should be something we keep an eye on, particularly when diabetes[1]  is on the rise.


Here, we get to the core health benefits of British apples. So put away the chocolate bars and hide the biscuit tin and read on to discover proof that an apple a day really is a great snacking choice.


The deal with diabetes

Diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high. It’s estimated that almost 4 million people in the UK have a form of the condition, yet 1 in 4 of those are undiagnosed[1].

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2; both affect the way the body regulates blood sugar. The main difference between the two is that people with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin, whereas type 2 sufferers don’t respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often don’t produce enough insulin.

A healthy diet and active lifestyle are important when managing type 2 diabetes, but eating certain foods, such as apples, can not only help manage the symptoms, but also reduce the risk of developing the disease.


Slower sugar absorption

People living with diabetes need to keep tabs on their carbohydrate intake to ensure their blood sugar levels stay stable throughout the day. Although apples may seem high in sugar due to their naturally sweet taste, eating a whole apple results in a much smaller rise in blood sugar than drinking apple juice, as the sugars are released more slowly[2]. This is because the fibre found in whole apples (1.2g per 100g) helps to slow down the digestion and absorption of sugar, meaning sugar enters the bloodstream slowly and doesn’t rapidly raise blood sugar levels[3],[4].


 Full of fibre

A recent analysis by the World Health Organisation found consuming 30g of dietary fibre every day could reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. Fibrous foods keep you fuller for longer, slowing the rate that you digest your food, whilst stabilising blood sugar levels. Snacking on an apple a day is the perfect way to ensure diabetics are fuelling their fibre intake, and maintaining blood sugar levels. Find out more about fibre here.

The power of polyphenols

There is evidence to suggest that polyphenols can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Polyphenols are plant-powered antioxidants, which have been increasingly associated with health benefits including improving digestion, gut health, and insulin resistance. Polyphenols in apples, which are mainly found in the peel, slow down the digestion of carbs and stimulate your pancreas to release insulin. This helps the cells in your body absorb sugar more easily to lower overall blood sugar levels.


Spreading your daily fruit intake throughout the day is key to keep blood sugar levels more stable. It’s easy to incorporate British apples into your daily snacking routine. They can be chopped up for a deskside snack, munched on the go, or packed whole in your lunchbox, making for the perfect, healthy snack to enjoy year-round.


Check out some tasty British apple desk-friendly snack ideas by clicking here.

[1] https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-prevalence.html

[2] Haber GB, Heaton KW, Murphy D, Burroughs LF. Depletion and disruption of dietary fibre. Effects on satiety, plasma-glucose, and serum-insulin. Lancet.1977 Oct 1;2(8040):679-82.

[3] Muraki I, Imamura F, Manson JE, Hu FB, Willett WC, van Dam RM, Sun Q. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ. 2013 Aug 28;347:f5001. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5001. Erratum in: BMJ. 2013;347:f6935.

[4] Guo XF, Yang B, Tang J, Jiang JJ, Li D. Apple and pear consumption and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Food Funct. 2017 Mar 22;8(3):927-934. doi: 10.1039/c6fo01378c.