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  • Is it Ok for a diabetic to eat dates, jaggery and honey?

    Are you a diabetic patient or is on the brim of becoming one? Are you in doubt about the diet pattern you need to follow? Are you confused about whether eating jaggery or honey should be totally avoided? Follow this thread to know the opinion of our experienced members in this regard.

    I recently did my routine tests and the report showed a bit high sugar level in the post-lunch blood test (not in the morning for the fasting test, and the urine tests were clear). The Endocrinologist advised me to avoid sugar altogether, said I am at the borderline and to avoid becoming a full-blown diabetes patient. When I enquired if jaggery can be taken as a substitute, he said definitely not, and I was surprised when he said to avoid honey as well. I don't take honey as such regularly; only when I develop a cough when I put it in warm milk. However, I do eat jaggery when I cook Karela vegetables for a meal and put in loads of jaggery to reduce its bitter taste.

    Some years ago I had enquired on behalf of somebody whether it is Ok for a diabetic to eat figs. So now I would like to know for myself why (since I forgot to ask the Doctor!), honey and jaggery is not recommended for diabetes patients. Also, what about dates (with or without seeds)?

    One more thing - on the day of the test, I did eat karela with jaggery for lunch (this did not occur to me till much later, so had not mentioned it to the Doctor), so could that be a possible reason why the test post-lunch showed a high figure?
  • Answers

    13 Answers found.
  • After taking meal, sugar test should be done atleast after 2 hours. As within 2 hours after lunch test results may come abnormal. I remember, once I was diagnosed with swine flu and took Star flu( steroid). Then almost after 10 days, a camp was conducting sugar test in our office campus. I took the test but I forgot to mention it to the phlenotomist that I had taken tea before 1 hr and also about steroid. That time my sugar came very high. I was surprised as I never had any problem of high sugar. Then i consulted my doctor he suggested repeat test. In repeat test it was normal. So, I suggest you to take a repeat test.
    As far as dates are concerned, you can consume them but in limited quantity. They contain high iron and antioxidants which are beneficial but also contain high calories so not eat too much.
    Both honey and juggery are also having high sugar content so can raise blood glucose level. So consume carefully.

  • If high sugar levels are noticed in fasting or post lunch sugar test then it is definitely a matter not to be neglected. Strictly speaking sugar is to be avoided in such cases but occasional sugar intake in little quantities can be indulged. Occasional means not more than once in a week. In such conditions generally doctors will advise for artificial sweeteners.

    In such conditions certain foods are recommended to be taken which help in keeping a tab on body sugar levels as well as blood pressure and of course they are otherwise also good for a life style required in diabetic conditions. Some of these foods are -

    1. Half steam cooked or roasted vegetables which are not only nutritive but a great source of fibre.
    2. Greens like spinach, kale, chard, Broccoli and other leafy vegetables which contain not inly vitamins and minerals but antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin also.
    3. Fruits like melon, berries etc having more water content.
    4. Whole grain high fibre foods in daily diet.
    5. Fatty fish which are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have major benefits for health of our heart.
    6. Cinnamon which is known for its blood sugar controlling potential.
    7. Eggs are also beneficial as they are a whole food.
    8. Chia Seeds are also a good food option for diabetic people as they are high in fibre and low in digestible carbs.
    9. Turmeric is a spice which have many health benefits including possible lowering of blood sugar, reducing heart ailments, lower inflammation, benefit in kidney health etc. It is also found by studies that turmeric gets good absorption in body if taken with a little of black peppers in the dish where turmeric is used.
    10. Yogurt and toned dairy products also help in diabetic conditions.
    11. Nuts of various types help in lowering blood sugar especially the low carb ones like Almonds, Brazil nuts, Hazelnuts, Macadamia,Pecans and Walnuts.
    12. Garlic is well known for its properties of reducing inflammation, blood sugar and LDL cholesterol. It has many other health benefits also.

    Knowledge is power.

  • Those who do not suffer from diabetes can replace sugar with honey and jaggery. Those who are suffering from diabetes or are at risk of suffering from it should avoid or at least limit the intake. Jaggery is high in sugar. If consumed by diabetic patients, it can cause a rise in blood sugar levels. Jaggery is obtained from the same source from where sugar originates. Thus, both of them are high in sugar content. Honey is no exception.

    Dates, on the other hand, are rich sources of natural sugars such as glucose, sucrose, and fructose. They are rich in other nutrients and fiber. Diabetics can consume dates provided they follow a healthy diet. Limit intake up to 3-4 dates.

    Here are a few benefits of eating dates-
    - They are rich in magnesium which regulates blood glucose level.
    - Zinc present in them improves the production of insulin.
    - Though they are high in sugar but also contain fiber in them. Thus, they fall into the category of low to medium glycemic index food. They do not cause an instant spike in blood sugar level which usually is seen on consuming foods that are of the high-glycemic index.
    - They also improve vision and prevent macular degeneration in diabetic individuals.

    If blood sugar was checked two hours after the meals, the report is correct. If it was taken early, you might want to repeat the test.

  • Jaggery and honey are never recommended for sugar patients. They are also having high sugar content. So don't go for these items, if your sugar levels are confirmed higher than the limits.
    I suggest you get your sugar levels tested once again from a good NABL accredited diagnostic laboratory for both pre and post-lunch samples and if they confirm that they are high then go as per the doctor's advice.
    Many doctors suggest dates to sugar patients also. But they also should be consumed in limits only and these days special sweets are coming made with Tadi Jaggery and dates which are organic and good for health. The product is available in main cities these days. But never go for sugarfree also which will have side effects. Don't consume sugar-free sweets and sugar-free ice creams also.

    always confident

  • A diabetic person should be able to identify the useful herbs to be included in his diet to maintain Insulin - level. There are so many ifs and buts while dealing with sugary fruits such as Dates, Jagggery, Honey etc. In terms of controlling the glycemic - index, one must adhere to healthy life - style, brisk - walk and intake of abundant oxidants to check the rise of sugar - level.
    There are a few tips to be followed for the prevention of excess sugar - level and following the same, there would not be abnormal surge.
    1) Gooseberry is an excellent herb in the regulation of Blood - sugar apart from Cholesterol lowering properties and other lipid profiles and keeping a benificial effects on heart and liver.
    All these benificial effects in controlling the Diabetes is due to presence of Chromium in Gooseberry followed with other elements such as VitaminC, Calcium, Magnesium, etc.
    2) You can have alpha lipoic acid pellets of appropriate strength to control the same.
    3) Half tea spoon of Neem and around 5 to 6 leaves if taken in both morning and evening would have benificial effects on the regulation of sugar - level. Presence of margossa in the Neem and Eugenol in Tulasi would maintain a healthy balance of blood sugar.
    4) Guduchi is an excellent herb for the diabetic people and its intake of one or two tablets each of 250gm would control Tridoshas of the body thus boosting immunity - system. It will purify the blood and control the blood sugar effectively.
    5) Cinnamon does have lot of antioxidants to arrest the spike of sugar.
    6) Apple Cider Vinegar if taken prior to meals would arrest the absorption of sugar in the blood stream since the Vinegar contains Acetic - acid which makes the blood stream acidic causing a less uptake of sugar.
    There are other herbs as well such Gymenema - Sylvester, Gudhal, Barberine - a herb of Chinese - origin all act in the improvement in the sugar level but you need to have a competent Vaidya for the appropriate doses.
    Now coming in terms of Jaggery, this containing a high sugar level should be avoided by the diabetic people and so is the case with honey because of sugary content.
    Dates if consumed in a minor amount say one or two would not harm the body because of presence of high antioxidants and lot of fibres provided the other parameters such as healthy intake of foods followed by Salads of Tomato, Cucumber, Onion is followed in each meal.
    A healthy sleep pattern is to be followed for the better control of glucose - level.

  • Honey, jaggery and grapes-------All three have very high sugar content. So, all these three are absolute no-no. Among the fruits, you can take guava, orange, any type of lemon, cucumber and blackberry without any hesitation. For other fruits, consult the nutritionist.

    You have to cut down the intake of carbohydrates also. If the Kidney Function Test (KFT) report is okay, then you can go on taking protein. Intake of green vegetables must be increased.

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  • Do you have any other health issues, such as thyroid? Do you suffer from high BP? Are you overweight? Do you have a history of diabetes running in the family? It is likely that the endocrinologist advised you on avoiding sugars because you fall in the 'high-risk' group and are susceptible to contracting the disease. Doctors don't usually advice precautions based on one test report. A second test is recommended after a gap of a few weeks, to ensure the readings weren't influenced by other factors. Certain medicines can react the way insulin works.

    Avoid sugars and high-carb starchy foods, as they spike the sugar levels in the body. I am no expert, so cannot advise you on the benefits of dates, but will recommend that you consult a dietician, for a proper food-chart, on foods to avoid, and, of course, on what to eat.

    Dates, with or without seeds, would have the same properties, isn't it? The seeds do not impact our health; we don't consume them, we discard them, in any case. It is just a marketing strategy, avoid both types, if needed. Jaggery is nothing but unrefined sugar.

    Bitter gourd is good for you, especially if you are at the risk of becoming a diabetic patient. I would advise you to use mango powder or raw mango, in the preparation, to counter the bitterness. I can share a few recipes if you want. Meanwhile, start having fenugreek water and consume apple cider vinegar.

    If your lunch of karela with jaggery resulted in a high blood sugar count, it is a sign that your body is not using/making insulin. My father-in-law's dietician allows him to have guavas and berries.

  • A diabetic patient should have foods that have a low glycemic index. For a diabetic patient, having dates is acceptable. It can be used as a substitute for sugar. However, jaggery is not at all recommended for diabetic patients as the glycemic index is high. This can increase their sugar levels. Also, jaggery is made from sugar cane hence it will have almost the same implications as sugar.

    Honey contains carbohydrates and will affect your blood sugar level, even though it has many medicinal and health benefits. Hence it is not advisable to take honey by diabetic patients. It is better to control your sweet tooth if you are diabetic as it is a deadly disease.

    If you are keen on using a sweetener, try using Stevia. We have bought it online for my grandfather who is a diabetic patient for ages. Its anti-diabetic properties help in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Unlike artificial sweeteners, Stevia is a natural sweetener. This noncaloric substitute is quite popular and is extracted from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana. But be careful as studies says that Stevia can lower the blood pressure levels. Hence make sure you take it only if you do not have any BP issues or else get your BP checked while taking Stevia.

    "Do not give up, things might not favour you always"

  • I am a sugar patient. So I can tell you that easting jaggery is not at all good for diabetic patients. Initially, I thought jaggery is not that much danger as White sugar. The main problem with jaggery is, fist of all it is refined sugar, so it will give all problems of white sugar for diabetic patients. Also, the real jaggery colour is dark. For marketing strategy they add some chemical for getting the yellow colour to Jaggery, even the manufacturers are saying that if they try to sell the jaggery with dark colour most of the customers will not buy it. So they are forcing to add this chemicals and additives like calcium hydroxide, sodium hydrosulphite (hydrose), sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate (safolite), ortho-phosphoric acid, seashells, baking soda, oil (castor/coconut), and orange-red powder (artificial food colouring) while making the jaggery. These chemicals also not good for health as well as for diabetic patients.
    So it is better to avoid jaggery if you are diabetic. I noticed that my sugar level are increasing after using Jaggery.

    Honey also not a portion of good food for diabetic patients. But many have the feeling that honey is a natural sugar and diabetic patients can use that. There are two opinions on that so it is better to consult a doctor or dietician for getting a clear picture on that.
    In my opinion, you can have 2-3 dates in a day which not harmful to diabetic patients. But should not increase the intake as it again will affect badly.
    You can have a cup of Amla(Gooseberry) Juice daily to control the diabetics. It is a good thing for diabetic patients.


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  • Many thanks for the invaluable advice given to my query. Since my sister was the one who realized about the jaggery later and did suggest that I do the test again to check the sugar, I will be doing so next week when there will be a one month gap between the previous test and the next one. As of now, I am continuing to take my daily cup of coffee in the morning and tea in the evening with sugar as usual, as I don't want to cheat on the test and will know if that amount of sugar is still a problem. However, I have stopped eating biscuits and jaggery.

    Regarding other health issues about which a query was made - yes, I have Hypothyroidism but I am not overweight. My cholesterol was also a little high, so have stopped eating snacks like sev puris, sev etc and deep-fried stuff as advised by the Dr.

    I will give an update here once the test is done and the second report comes in. I will also submit separate queries on cholesterol as well as other diabetes-related aspects later if any come to mind.

    When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell

  • To be precise to the answer for the question asked, I can say you that its not only Sugar what you intake or sweet things what you intake is considered to increase your Blood Sugar Level but its what ever we eat. You need to ensure you take proper diet as per your height, weight and activities you do in day to day life.And yes you should avoid taking anything in loads whether its direct sugar, jaggery or honey.

    Ensure you don't take any tension and do some physical activity like walking , jogging or yoga on everyday basis which burns the calorie you intake and also ensures that your pancreas work to produce enough insulin.

    Take more of fiber rich foods which ensures you don't hungry often and try to avoid junk foods or processed foods. Specially, the one which is made of Maida since they release sugar quickly into our system.

    Try to avoid taking more of Carbohydrates and ensure you instead include more of Vegetables cooked with less oil and Fruits are must with limited quantities. Many say to avoid fruits but you need to include them everyday basis with limited quantity.

    You can surely include some amount of Jaggery, Honey and consume few dates but you need to compensate with right amount of physical activity and by adjusting your calorie intake for the day

    Also keep regular check on your sugar level. Please get the fasting and postprandial sugar test done along with Hb1Ac test which gives average of 3 months of sugar blood sugar level and gives you clear picture about your control. Get the results verified by a good Diabetologist and ensure you follow if any prescriptions provided in future and not ignore if any medications required as Diabetes leads to many kind of issues and as always said Precaution is better than cure is true infact

  • Diabetic patients can eat anything but with a limit. The frequency should be with long gap.
    The can eat their regular intake divided by two.
    2. Regular intake of prescribed medicine is also a must.
    3.Must keep his or her mind free from any kind of stress
    If the three 'must's followed by one, he/she need not worry about the intake of this and that. But the quantum should be LESS

  • An update: The second test showed the sugar was under control. Perhaps the jaggery in the meal on the day of the first day was an issue. However, I have been taking necessary precautions and avoiding biscuits altogether since I did realize that these do contain a good amount of sugar and the Dr. had advised to avoid them since they are also made from maida which is not good for health. I will continue to eat a few dates now and then and dry figs as usual.

    To be on the safe side, I am planning to do the test in the first quarter of next year, prior to my next eye checkup, and include the Hb1Ac test (this was mentioned in a response here and was also recommended by a Diabetologist for a relative of mine).

    Thanks again to everyone for their advice.

    When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell

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