Does pumpkin increase blood sugar? Is pumpkin good for people with diabetes? What are its nutritional values? Its glycemic index? What are its benefits for diabetics? How to make a simple and easy pumpkin soup? And finally, what is the right list of foods for diabetics?
I- Why do people have diabetes
Unfortunately, it is more and more frequent to see complicated or not cases of diabetes. The causes are multiple and depend on the classification since two types exist.
For type 1 diabetes, it is due to a defect in insulin production. Anyone whose pancreas is no longer able to meet the body’s need for this hormone suffers a reaction called “autoimmune”. Simply put, this reaction is the body’s production of an antibody that destroys its cells.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type. It follows insulin resistance in older or younger people, often with a family history of diabetes.
Obesity and overweight are two risk factors that considerably increase the risk of hyperglycemia, which is the increase in blood sugar levels.
II- Does pumpkin increase blood sugar?
1. Pumpkin and blood sugar
If you or a loved one suffers from diabetes, you are aware of the importance of a proper diet to prevent cardiovascular and neurological complications.
Eating habits should banish refined and starchy carbohydrates. On the other hand, good fats and lean proteins are a must for a balanced blood sugar level.
To meet these requirements, pumpkin is the key ingredient to introduce in the hypoglycemic diet. Due to its low glycemic load – which we will discuss later in this article – this vegetable can balance blood sugar levels and avoid the risk of sequelae.
2. Pumpkin and gestational diabetes
Also known as pregnancy diabetes, gestational diabetes results exclusively from carbohydrate intolerance during pregnancy and leads to mild to severe hyperglycemia.
As pumpkin is very beneficial for “normal” diabetes, it is also beneficial for gestational diabetes. In addition to its action on the regulation of glycemia, it also prevents the persistence of glycemic disorders after childbirth.
It also allows for better recovery in the post-delivery period.
3. Nutritional properties and glycemic index of pumpkin
Pumpkin is full of goodness, fiber, calcium, protein, iron, and vitamins C and A. Its nutritional properties support and strengthen the body when you are on a hypoglycemic diet. Moreover, the richness of pumpkin in fiber helps control blood sugar levels.
If we look at the glycemic index, pumpkin has a relatively high glycemic index.
However, we should be much more interested in the glycemic load, which allows us to know the number of carbohydrates in a portion of food, which the glycemic index cannot do.
For the pumpkin, the glycemic load is less than 10, which is very good.
By comparing the two parameters mentioned, we can be sure that the pumpkin has no negative impact on blood sugar levels and that, on the contrary, it maintains glycemic balance.
Nevertheless, it is enough to consume it moderately to avoid that the glycemic index increasing further at the risk of provoking a sugar peak in the blood.
4. Benefits of pumpkin for diabetics
Pumpkin is a real ally for diabetics. It strengthens the body’s immune function to protect organs and prevent oxidative cell damage.
It also protects the vision which is often affected by uncontrolled diabetes. The vitamin “A” in pumpkin strengthens the ocular structure and prevents cataracts.
On the one hand, pumpkin also strengthens gastrointestinal function and ensures the balance of blood sugar by regulating the absorption of glucose. It helps to avoid the glycemic peak by slowing down this process in a healthy way.
On the other hand, the richness of pumpkin in carotenoids contributes to the prevention of cardiovascular pathologies. Its low caloric content plays an important role in the fight against overweight.
Its richness in fiber facilitates digestion and metabolism. These factors combined allow to stabilize the state of the diabetics and to avoid the aggravation of it.
5. The scientific study
A Finnish study has demonstrated the effectiveness of carotenoids in preventing type 2 diabetes in men with a family history.
Although this preventive effect in women could not be demonstrated, they will still benefit from the safe effects (prevention of complications) that we discussed earlier in this article.
III- Can diabetics eat Pumpkin soup?
The answer is obviously yes.
Soup is a very good meal for diabetics, especially pumpkin soup. It is both nutritious and hypoglycemic. To make a good flavor then, provide the following ingredients:
- 500 g of pumpkin;
- pinch of nutmeg (powder)
- salt and pepper;
- 5 CL of fresh cream (5% MG);
- 1/2 L of water;
- 1 and 1/2 cloves of garlic;
- 1 leek.
Start by preparing your ingredients for cooking. The first step is to peel the leek and the pumpkin.
The whites of the leek should be sliced and the pumpkin diced. The garlic cloves must in turn be chopped.
The second step is cooking. Put your casserole on low heat with a little oil. Put the whites of the leek first.
Then, a few minutes later (3 to 5 minutes), put the diced pumpkin and the chopped garlic cloves with salt and pepper.
Now add the water and let the mixture boil. As soon as it starts to boil, close the pot and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.
Now you just have to add the fresh cream to mix the mixture. Finally, sprinkle with nutmeg for a touch of beauty. Your delight is now ready to be enjoyed!
IV- Can diabetics eat pumpkin pie?
The only condition for diabetics to be able to enjoy a pumpkin pie is that it must be without cane sugar.
And to give it that sweet taste that characterizes all pies, you can use instead of sugar another ingredient that is not harmful to diabetics, in small quantities like stevia.
Otherwise, all pies are compatible with diabetics if we take into account the condition of the low glycemic index of these ingredients and the glycemic load.
Here is a small recipe good for diabetics, which we have to friends:
Shortcrust pastry for the pie crust:
- 200 g flour
- 100 g butter, cold
- 1 egg yolk
- 5 g stevia powder
- 1 pinch of salt
For the pumpkin filling:
- 400 g pumpkin puree
- 100 g cream cheese
- 10 g stevia powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp. ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 clove plug
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Mix the Stevia Powder and salt and knead them with the egg yolks and cold butter.
Let the shortcrust pastry rest for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (traditional heat). Grease a 26 cm diameter baking pan and press the cold shortcrust pastry into it with your fingers to spread it out – the pastry should be evenly distributed on the bottom and the edges.
Prick the rolled-out dough with a fork and bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes.
Mix all pumpkin filling ingredients until smooth and pour into pan with pre-baked dough. Return filled pan to oven for 45 minutes.
Simple homemade pumpkin puree:
Core the pumpkin with a tablespoon then slice and place on the baking sheet.
Bake for 45 – 60 minutes in a hot oven (200 °C conventional ovens, 180 °C fan oven) on the middle rack.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh with a tablespoon, leaving only the skin.
Put the flesh in a large bowl and blend with a hand blender until pureed.
V- List of foods for diabetics
- Plain yogurt.
- Fish: be careful with fatty fish; a maximum consumption of 2 times per week is recommended.
- 2 eggs maximum / week.
- Semi-skimmed milk.
- 30 g maximum of cheese/day.
- Meat and poultry: ensure healthy diversification.
- White ham, derided and fat-free.
- Wholemeal rice, wholemeal bread, red beans, chickpeas, lentils, pasta.
- Cucumbers, cabbage, green beans, zucchini, leeks, pumpkin, salads, tomatoes. Be sure to keep the skin on and cook them lightly for a short time at a low temperature.
- All raw fruit should be cooked with the skin on (e.g. an apple without peeling it).
- Olive, sunflower, rapeseed, soy, and hazelnut oil.
- Drink coffee without sugar. The same goes for tea. Prefer tap water or mineral and spring water.
- Pure juice without sugar.