Nothing feels more reviving than a glass of cool sugarcane juice on a hot, muggy day. However, if you have diabetes and your blood sugar levels are excessively high (more than 126 mg/dL or 7 mmol/L or higher on two different tests, according to the World Health Organization), you need to be careful about your food. Even simple rehydrating beverages like sugarcane juice might cause an increase in blood sugar levels.
Is juice from sugarcane healthy?
According to Dr. Paula Goel, consultant paediatrician, adolescent doctor, and founder of Fayth Clinic, a glass of sugarcane juice (240ml) has 180 calories, 30 grammes of sugar, and is also abundant in nutritional fibre. “The percentages of water, sucrose, and fibre in sugarcane juice are between 70 and 75 percent, respectively. It contains a variety of phytochemicals, such as policosanols, plant sterols, and phenolic compounds. Antioxidants, cholesterol-lowering abilities, and other possible health advantages are all possessed by these phytochemicals. According to Dr. Goel, it also contains a wealth of nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, and a number of amino acids.
Additionally, sugarcane juice “boosts immunity, enhances skin health, and aids in reducing inflammation,” she continued. Juice from sugarcane has diuretic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
How does sugarcane juice relate to a surge in blood sugar?
Despite these advantages, “those with diabetes should not consume it freely as it is high in natural sugar or sucrose.” “Diabetics should exercise extreme caution when ingesting sugarcane juice since there is a considerable likelihood that their blood sugar will spike before dropping afterward. According to Dr. Goel, sucrose levels in sugarcane are higher than those in fructose, which is primarily present in fruits and does not immediately elevate blood sugar levels.
According to Dr. Smita Naram, co-founder of Ayushakti and an expert in Ayurveda, diabetes patients have insulin resistance, which means that even though the body produces insulin, the cells in the muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to it and are unable to readily absorb glucose from the blood. “As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin to aid glucose absorption into the cells, which causes them to become overworked as a result of sugar surges and eventually results in insulin insufficiency,” she continued. Even if you are taking medication for diabetes, the immediate sugar surge may make it difficult to maintain blood sugar stability. Insulin-dependent patients will need higher doses (even if the source of the sugar is natural), Dr. Naram said.
“Finally, that high dose causes life-threatening hypoglycemia. Even if fasting sugar is managed, they will still need extra sugar to handle that, and as a result, their HBA1C will be high.
Her advice is to alter your diet in a way that keeps your HBA1C level consistent, which is a test that determines how much blood sugar is connected to your haemoglobin. Dr. Naram said, “Diabetics must avoid all high-sugar foods, whether they are made of natural or white sugar, and concentrate on vegetables, a protein-rich diet with few complex carbohydrates, which releases sugar gradually and prevents a sugar rush in our system.
However, Dr. Rohini Patil, MBBS, nutritionist and CEO of Nutracy Lifestyle, pointed out that while other foods high in refined sugar and carbs, such rice, can be balanced with proteins, ingesting only sugarcane juice may be detrimental. As a result, Dr. Patil advised that those with fasting blood sugar levels above 140 mg/dL should completely avoid it, while those with blood sugar levels below 140 mg/dL can consume it in moderation.
Although sugar cane has a 43 glycemic index, “which is not very high,” just a limited amount may be advised to be given due to its other health advantages, including its capacity to enhance gut health as a natural laxative, according to Dr. Goel.
Dr. Patil lists certain considerations when consuming sugarcane juice.
Before eating, add some lemon or ginger juice. Instead of eating it on an empty stomach, pair it with a protein-rich snack such dry fruit, almonds, or seeds.
Limit your fluid intake to 200 ml.