Are beets bad for diabetics? Are we sure that it does not cause complications for diabetics? How to consume it? How to make beetroot juice for diabetics? What is its glycemic index? What are the other benefits of beet? And finally, what are the foods to avoid in case of diabetes?
I- Brief Reminder on Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease caused by the bad assimilation of sugar brought by food.
It can be due to the bad use or the bad storage of sugar by the body. It manifests itself in the form of a high level of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia).
Also, there are 2 types of diabetes, type 1 which is contracted most often by children, adolescents, and young adults.
The latter affects the pancreas which no longer produces enough insulin. This means that excess glucose is no longer stored in the body’s cells (muscles, fatty tissue, and especially the liver).
There is also type 2 diabetes, which is much more frequent and most often affects people over 20 years old.
It is most often observed in overweight people. Its main cause is the excessive consumption of sugar which makes the body cells insulin resistant.
This means that they become resistant to insulin, which means that they can no longer store sugar. This gradually increases the level of glucose in the blood.
Following this insulin resistance, the body will initially try to adapt which will cause hyperactivity of the pancreas. The pancreas will start producing more insulin (hyperinsulinism).
II- Are Beets Bad for Diabetics?
The treatment of diabetes depends mainly on its type. For type 1 diabetes, medication is prescribed to regulate the insulin level in the body.
But for type 2 diabetes a very strict diet is recommended. This diet aims to control the sugar level in the blood.
Beet has long been a topic of discussion regarding diets for diabetes. But with new technologies, the concept or criterion of “glycemic load” has emerged.
This criterion describes the influence of food on the blood sugar level. The appearance of this criterion has made it possible to highlight that beet is a food that can be consumed by diabetics.
1. Is Beets Good for Diabetics
Beet is a food with a low glycemic load, so when consumed correctly, it does not negatively influence blood sugar levels.
Moreover, due to its composition, beet helps to improve the cardiovascular system. It allows the elimination of cholesterol plaques, the cleaning of blood vessels, and especially normalizing the blood pressure.
Due to its high fiber concentration, beet improves the functioning of the intestine. This contributes to the cleaning of the liver which can then store more sugar and thus reduce blood sugar levels.
In short, beet is an excellent vegetable to help the body return to normal functioning.
NB: beet is not recommended for people suffering from peptic ulcers and duodenum.
2. How Diabetics Can Consume Beetroot
Diabetes being very sensitive, the doses of beet (quantities) must be imperatively respected in order not to worsen your condition instead of improving it.
It is recommended to consume a maximum of 200 grams of beet juice or 70 grams of fresh beets.
The quantities can be doubled for boiled beet because it loses some of its properties.
Many recipes allow appreciating the virtues of beet.
Among these recipes we can mention:
a) Cabbage and Beet Salad for Diabetics
To prepare it you will need 150 grams of cabbage, a packet of beet, 10 grams of vegetable oil, salt, Xylitol, and lemon acid, then you must:
Thinly cut the cabbage.
Then salt it and squeeze the lemon juice on it.
Boil the beets and finely chop them.
Mix everything and season it with a mixture of diluted vegetable oil, citric acid, and Xylitol.
b) Another Recipe of Beetroot for Diabetics
For the preparation of this recipe, you will need 0,5 liter of beet broth, one beet, one cucumber, 2 potatoes, one egg, fresh cream, salt, lemon acid, and xylitol.
To prepare it you must:
Boil the beets.
Cook the potatoes with the cucumber in the oven.
Then mix it with the cream, the egg, the citric acid, and the xylitol.
Finally, add the cooled beet stock.
3. How to Make Beetroot Juice for Diabetics
It doesn’t get much easier than beet juice for people with diabetes.
The first thing to do is to clean your beets thoroughly to remove all the dirt. Then cut the roots and leaves.
After that, you have to remove the skin to get a soft juice. Otherwise, the juice will be more bitter with the skin on.
Finally, cut the beet into small cubes.
Then you just have to put them in a blender that will grind them in medium power.
And if your beet juice is too thick, add a little more water to dilute it.
Note that you can squeeze half a lemon into the juice to give it a slightly acidic taste.
4. Is Beetroot and Carrot for Diabetics
The carrot, according to a scientific study of 1981, has a glycemic index of 92 when cooked.
This has led to the fact that it is not recommended for diabetics for more than 30 years, especially when cooked. (New study in 2002)
This value of 92 for the GI is finally challenged by new studies that have measured it on a large population.
The new result is that carrots have a GI of 47 when cooked and can be eaten in moderation by diabetics.
But what is more interesting is that it has a glycemic index of 16 when raw.
This is a great opportunity for diabetics, to whom it can provide many essential nutrients for their bodies.
Carrot juice is very easy to prepare.
Take four carrots and two medium beets. Clean them and remove their skins. You can leave the carrot skins on.
Cut them into small pieces. Then put them in a blender at medium speed.
If your juice is too thick, add a little water to dilute it.
5. Are Canned Beets Good for Diabetics
Beets, despite preservation and unlike many other vegetables, retain almost the same proportions of nutrients as raw or fresh beets.
Unfortunately, pickled beets contain more sugar and sodium, and the proportions vary according to the brand and the preservation method.
In addition, there are not enough scientific studies to confirm or deny the healthiness of canned beets for different types of diabetes.
This leads us to advise diabetics to be cautious with this canned vegetable. And if you have a craving for it, try not to consume too much of it.
III- Beetroot and Gestational Diabetes
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), gestational diabetes or diabetes of pregnancy is diabetes that appeared or is detected for the first time during the period that the woman is pregnant.
The beet, due to its high concentration in fibers (cellulose and hemicelluloses), allows to slow down and regulate the assimilation of carbohydrates.
This is why beet is suitable for all types of diabetes, provided that the prescribed doses are respected.
IV- Beetroot and Diabetes Type 2
Type 2 diabetes affects mostly older people. The pancreas still secretes insulin, but either not enough or it acts with less efficiency to regulate the sugar level in the blood.
This means that every time a diabetic eats a portion of food with a high glycemic level, the pancreas is asked to produce much more insulin. This exhausts it enormously and can lead to various diseases of this essential organ.
Fortunately, as we have just seen above, beet has a fairly reasonable glycemic rate and has long-release sugars. This is good for type 2 diabetics.
In summary, beet can be consumed by type 2 diabetics and of course in moderation like anything else.
V- Glycemic Index of Beetroot
The glycemic index is a value between 0 and 100 that represents the number of carbohydrates contained in the food that passes into the blood.
Beet’s is relatively low (GI = 64), so it is an excellent fruit for diabetics.
VI- How Beetroots are good for Diabetics?
1. Reducing Insuline Resistance
Many studies are done on this subject. The results may seem contradictory.
Some have suggested that regular consumption of beets may decrease insulin resistance in the cells of the human body.
For them, they found that metabolites found in large quantities in beets can reduce insulin resistance, especially in the case of obese people.
Not to mention the nitrate content of beets, which is very beneficial to the body.
2. Lower Insulin and Blood Sugar
Beet as we have just seen throughout this article has many positive effects on diabetes.
And one of them, according to a recent scientific study, is its ability to regulate the level of glucose in the blood and thus induces a decrease in the production of insulin, which is very much related to the level of sugar in the blood.
So drinking beet juice regularly will help the body to have a relatively normal blood sugar level.
3. Lowering Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a disease characterized by too much blood pressure in the arteries.
This unusually high pressure is exerted on the walls of the arteries by the overflow of blood from the heart.
This pressure exhausts the blood vessels and leads in the long run to more serious diseases.
There is no known cause for its appearance.
This disease of hypertension is very common in diabetics.
A recent scientific study concluded that taking beet juice regularly has the effect of lowering blood pressure and increasing the elasticity of blood vessels.
This effect is according to researchers is due to the high concentration of nitrates in beet and which is responsible for regulating the speed and flow of blood in the arteries.
4. Lower Risk of Chronic Disease
It is important to know that free radicals are the main factors and responsible for the aging of the human body, which leads to a multitude of chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
And one of the ways to fight these free radicals is to consume natural products rich in antioxidants.
And this is where beet comes in, as it is a vegetable that is very rich in antioxidants and other essential nutrients for the health of the human body.
Thus, eating beet or drinking its natural juice regularly is recommended by several scientific studies which have concluded that this vegetable fights against all kinds of chronic diseases.
5. Lower risk of Diabetics complications
Diabetes is a disease that is often the cause of other diseases such as heart, kidney, vision, arteries, and even neurological problems.
We can easily deduce that taking care of his diabetes will protect us from other adjacent diseases.
And as we have just seen, beets are excellent for regulating blood sugar levels, in addition to being rich in various nutrients and antioxidants. These are little soldiers that the human body makes act to reduce the risk of many diseases.
6. Reduce Nerve Damage
Among the diseases caused by diabetes is nerve damage.
A recent study suggests that taking beet juice, which is rich in an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, may reduce the risk of having this nerve disease.
No other studies have been conducted, to my knowledge, on this subject so far.
7. Improving Exercise Performance
Indeed, sport has a beneficial effect on the management of diabetes.
Exercise affects blood circulation by improving the health of the blood vessels and by encouraging the muscles to consume the glucose in the blood.
Not to mention the role of exercise in reducing weight, which is a critical need for people with diabetes.
This brings us back to the usefulness of beets for sports performance.
Scientific research has suggested that taking beet juice before a sports session can help improve the muscles’ ability to consume oxygen, which drastically helps to increase physical performance.
So by implication, beet, which is already very good for diabetes, is also used to do sports without straining the muscles too much. This is still very useful to live in good harmony with his diabetes.
VII- Other Beetroots Benefits
The benefits of beet are obviously not limited to diabetes; it can also be effective against many other diseases. Among these diseases we can mention:
Reduction of cancer risks: betanin, which is the pigment that gives beet its characteristic color, has many other virtues. Studies have shown that it reduces the risk of skin, breast, and lung cancer.
Good for the eyes: indeed, beet consumed regularly helps to avoid many problems related to the eyes. Due to the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin contained in these leaves, beet reduces the risk of cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, and macular degeneration.
Improved sports performance: due to its high concentration of nitrates, beet has beneficial effects on sports performance. Indeed, nitrate reduces the oxygen cost during physical efforts.
A detoxifier: due to the presence of betacyanins it allows the elimination of toxins from the body.
Moreover, it allows preserving the liver by cleaning your body, which saves the overloads to your liver. If you have digestion problems, beet is perfect for you.
VI- Foods to Avoid in Case of Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that should not be taken lightly because the slightest deviation in diet can cause serious complications.
That is why it is important to know the list of foods to avoid in case of diabetes. These foods include
Ultra-processed foods: these are foods made in the food industry. They are for example industrial breakfast cereals, cornflakes, chocolate powders, chocolate bars, etc…
Refined foods: these are foods that are processed to increase their amount of time. Among these foods are white flour, refined cereals (wheat, rice, barley, etc…), refined or hydrogenated oils.
Foods that are sweet and easy to digest: are fruit juices, sodas, flavored sweetened drinks, alcohol, fruit eaten outside of meals, etc…
A study to examine diabetes self-management
Functional properties of beetroot (Beta vulgaris) in management of cardio-metabolic diseases