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Here we are again answering another misconception about diabetics and what they can or cannot eat. the reality of it is this, diabetics can eat anything as long as it is in moderation. You need to monitor your carbs and sugar loads when eating many foods, yet that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy food like everyone else. So can diabetics eat beets?

One word – Superfood… That’s right, beets are considered a superfood, due to their high content of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Beets are a vegetable that is completely edible from the greens to the roots. A world of benefits come from including beets in your meal plan, that have long-term effects on your overall health that make them a great option for diabetics. We are going to look at all they offer. Let’s jump in and dissect this “superfood” and all the health benefits they bring to the plate.

Beets Benefits & Side Effects

First, beets are a plant that is wholly used. The roots are not only edible, but they are also often used in medicine too. Some studies have shown that beets reduced inflammatory markers responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, as well as possibly a lower risk of heart disease, and diabetes. In studies done with animals, it was shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. Beetroot juice has been suggested to reduce muscle soreness in athletes after performing.

Beet has a long list of benefits when you start digging into it. With that being said, a lot of the benefits that are listed, are often alleged, or not scientifically backed. However, that does not mean they are not true, it just means there have not been enough studies done to confirm nor deny the benefits. What are some of the side effects of beets?

The only “real” side effect of beets that I could find while researching this amazing powerhouse was that it will turn your urine pink. I was able to find warnings about beet for pregnant women and-or mothers who are breastfeeding. These stated that using beet in larger medicinal amounts during pregnancy or breastfeeding has not been proven safe. Stick to food amounts. It was also noted that eating too many beets may irritate or worsen kidney disease. But how nutritional are beets?

Beet Nutrition Facts

Beets mainly consist of three different things; water, which makes up 87%, carbohydrates which are 8%, and fiber which is between 2-3%. The full nutritional value of a 3/4 cup serving or 100g of raw beet looks like this: Calories 43, Protein 1.6g, Fat 0.2g, Water 88%, Carbs 9.6g, Sugar is 6.8g, and they have 2.8g of fiber. Cooked or raw beets are pretty consistent when it comes to carbs, offering up between 8-10%.

Beets contain mostly simple sugars like glucose and fructose. These simple sugars make up 70-80% of carbs in both raw and cooked beets. One you should note though, is the fact that beets contain a little something called fructans. These are short-chained carbs that get classified as FODMAPs, which are resistant to digestion. For those of you with IBS or other digestive concerns, you may want to avoid beet altogether.

Beetroots also come loaded with many essential vitamins and minerals. You can expect to receive a healthy dose of Folate, which is vital for normal tissue growth and cell function. Beetroot also contains iron, manganese, potassium, and vitamin ‘C’. All of these are important for the daily operations within your body. Beetroots also contain several beneficial plant-based compounds that assist with the day-to-day of the body. I know what you are wondering – How does all this affect where it lands on the GI?

What Is The Glycemic Index For Beets?

glycemic index for beets

With all this detail about the health benefits of beets, you are thinking it is a great addition to your diet. Before you run out to your local grocer and stock up though, you need to know where it lands on the GI scale. Beetroots score 61 on the GI, which is considered medium. With that being said, the glycemic load of beetroot lands incredibly low at 5. Which begs the question, what is the difference between glycemic index and glycemic load?

The glycemic index is the scale used for rating carbohydrates. It ranks food based on how it raises blood sugar levels. The scale is rated from 0-100, with zero being the lowest effect that foods will have on blood sugar levels, (pure glucose is rated at 100). With beets landing at 65 they are relatively high on the scale. However, the glycemic load looks at the actual amount of carbohydrates in a particular food instead of relying solely on the GI.

What does this mean when it comes to eating beets as a diabetic though? Although beets have a GI rating of 65, they actually only have a Glycemic Load of 5 which is exceptionally low. Even though the GI is moderately high, due to the low glycemic load, beets may be an acceptable option for someone on a diet meant to maintain lower blood glucose levels.

Beets – Yay or Nay?

Beets provide a great source of nutrients, fiber, minerals, and several plant compounds. They are called a superfood due to their long list of benefits. These benefits include things like improved heart health and enhanced exercise capacity. These both are attributed to their inorganic nitrate content. Their sweet and delicious taste also makes them a hit for salads.

Despite the high rating on the glycemic index, they have a surprisingly low glycemic load rated at 5. This low rating on the glycemic load makes them a great option to add to your diet. Despite the high rating on the Gi, which tells you they will spike your blood sugar levels rapidly, it would take eight cups to have such an impact. Far more than you would eat in one sitting.

Say “yay” to beets and go enjoy the many health benefits they offer up to you.



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