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Question:

From San Juan Capistrano, California, USA:

My 6 year old son has had diabetes for 2 years. We count carbohydrates and have excellent control of his blood sugar level. However, my wife believes that carbohydrates derived from fruit juice or refined sugar "burn up" faster than carbohydrates from milk or bread. I believe that all carbohydrates burn up at an equal rate, but that those from fruit or refined sugar get in the system faster and hence leave faster - but only perhaps 1/2 hour or so sooner. Who is correct?

Answer:

You both have the right idea. Actually, fruit juice enters the blood stream faster than the fruit it comes from and depending on what else the refined sugar is mixed with, refined sugar may or may not have a "fast" entry into the blood stream. I think that the concept that one burns up faster than the other is better thought of as entry into the blood stream. In general, we see that fruits, juices and hard candies raise the blood sugar about the same amount in a little less time than other carbohydrates such as starch, as long as the amounts of carbohydrate are equal, because they do not need to be broken down by the body as much as the starch to be converted to glucose. The length of time they remain in the blood stream is shorter for the simple carbohydrates than it is for the starch and varies with the individual.

In practice, we notice if there is a long time between meals and fruits or juices are used alone as snacks, sometimes the blood sugar level goes too low before the next meal. This is often preventable by adding protein or a starch to the snack.

JM

Original posting 3 Mar 1998
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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