High blood sugar levels damage cells. People who had mildly elevated blood sugar levels had their high blood sugar levels lowered by eating raisins three times per day (Presented at the American Diabetes Association's 72nd Annual Scientific Session. Jun 28, 2012). After 12 weeks, raisins lowered blood sugar levels after eating by 16 percent, and reduced HbA1c.
|Image from HealthyPalm|
HbA1c measures sugar stuck on cells, and therefore is a measure of the amount of cell damage caused by high blood sugar levels. Pre-packaged commercial snacks that did not contain raisins or other fruits or vegetables did not lower blood sugar levels after meals or HbA1c.
WHY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
You have two absorption systems in your body: your upper intestines and your colon. All carbohydrates are combinations of sugars. They can be:
- sugars as singles, doubles or more,
- starches as chains of thousands of sugars, and
- fiber that contains millions of sugars bound together.
Only single sugars can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Sugar is absorbed almost immediately from the upper intestines to cause a higher rise in blood sugar. It may take more than five hours before sugar reaches the colon, so absorption of sugar from the colon is delayed and therefore causes a much lower rise in blood sugar levels.
All molecules containing more than a single sugar pass to your colon where bacteria can ferment these sugar combinations to split them into single sugars that can be absorbed. Raisins contain sugar imbedded in dried skin that slows the process even more. They also contain fiber that cannot be absorbed in the upper intestines.
Fermentation in the colon can also cause chains of sugars called soluble fiber to be converted to short chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids enter your bloodstream and prevent the liver from making cholesterol, so soluble fiber in fruits and vegetables can lower blood cholesterol levels.