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No summer road trip on north Indian highways are complete without sighting roadside vendors satiating people’s thirsty throats with a glass of freshly juiced sugarcanes! Oh yes, ganne ka juice with that hint of fresh mint and masala, is a mood in itself. And who doesn’t want to make the most of it? While returning from a recent trip to the hills, I halted the car for a quick glass of sugarcane juice. It’s not just refreshing, but gives an instant energy boost too! My mother chimed in, “Me too!” But I was wary. Why? Well, she has diabetes.
For that moment, we let her have half a glass of the sugarcane juice. But when your family members or people around you suffer from a chronic disease such as diabetes, it’s best to be cautious about what they eat and drink.
Well, for as long as I’ve heard, sugarcane juice has multiple benefits! Even Kareena Kapoor’s nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar highly recommends sugarcane juice.
Addressing a question on whether diabetics can have sugarcane juice, she once wrote in an Instagram post: “Yes, they can safely have it. It is rich in fibre, micronutrients and antioxidants. It helps with constipation and stomach ailments too. Instead of a full glass, they can have half a glass!”
So, we did it right!
So, once we came back, I checked with an expert bout the likely side effects of sugarcane juice for diabetics.
Well-known diabetologist Dr Pramod Tripathi told Health Shots that typically, a glass of sugarcane juice contains close to 30 gram or 6 teaspoons of sugar! No wonder then that he says that as a thumb rule, experts do not recommend ganne ka ras for patients with sugar problems.
Sugarcane juice has a rather high load of sugar, which is almost equivalent to consuming a meal. For an uncontrolled diabetic, it would be definitely inadvisable to frequently consume sugarcane juice. If one still craves for it once in a while, Dr Tripathi recommends that people can consume it once a week or so, but don’t have any accompanying meals.
As far as a controlled diabetic with sugars in a normal range is concerned, the expert says, “There is no harm in consuming around 200 ml of sugarcane juice.”
According to Dr Tripathi, here’s what you must know about this natural sweet beverage.
* Unprocessed sugarcane juice has a fairly rich mix of flavonoids, polyphenols, phytochemicals, flavonoids, minerals, fibre and electrolytes. This composition can help improve insulin sensitivity.
* Since it is about 70 percent water and contains a lot of electrolytes, it is also a good re-hydrator and restorer of energy levels.
* While it is true that sugarcane juice has a low glycemic index number, its glycemic load is disproportionately high. That means, it can raise your blood sugar dangerously high. The bottom line is that sugarcane juice contains a whopping 50 grams of sugar per 1 cup serving (240 ml). This makes it not just unadvisable, but downright dangerous for diabetics to consume!
The ideal time for a diabetic to consume sugarcane juice would be when they are in a hypoglycemic state, which means when sugar levels are low, or when sugar levels are well controlled through diet, exercise, and stress management through a healthy lifestyle change.
Getting into the technical side, Dr Tripathi, Founder of Freedom from Diabetes, explained, “If one has HbA1C reading of less than 6, and free from all diabetes medicines, including insulin, we recommend the participant undergo the Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT). This test requires the participant to ingest 75 grams of glucose, after which their Blood Sugar Level (BSL) is measured after intervals of 1, 2 and 3 hours. If participants’ BSL readings return to normal, they have successfully passed the GTT. In such cases, consumption of sugarcane juice is considered okay.”
Also, read: My mom soaked her feet in karela juice for 10 days, and it helped in managing her diabetes
Mornings are the best time to have the juice. If one has a small glass, say about 100 ml of sugarcane juice, just before exercise in the morning, the extra calories will be utilized during the activity, helping blood sugar levels to normalize faster.
Also, read: This 67-year-old uses miracle millets to reverse diabetes
Well, my mother has been keeping a regular check on her diabetes levels, as well as exercising diet control and indulging in physical exercise. Her blood sugar levels some hours after her mid-highway indulgence did not raise a health alarm. But like the expert also explained, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Also, whether you are diabetic or not, what you should also be careful about is using clean, disposable glasses, and preferably give the ice a miss! And do yourself and your tummy a little favour: At least stop by at hygienic-looking stall!
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