One of the most important markers for health is blood sugar levels. The more stable and within the healthy range your levels are, the less likely you are to get the negative side effects associated with low or high blood sugar levels. This is especially the case when looking at the long-term effects. This is why we recommend that people with any kind of blood sugar instability stick to low glycemic index fruits rather than those that spike blood sugar levels.
The glycemic index (GI) is a system of measuring specific foods on how they affect blood sugar levels. Specifically, how high they raise blood sugar levels. The scale goes from 0 to 100. Between 55 to 69 on the GI scale is moderate, anything below 55 is considered low and anything above 70 is considered high on the GI scale. Pure sugar is at 100.
High glycemic index foods raise blood sugar levels quickly and a lot. That’s why we say they “spike” blood sugar levels. On the other hand, foods low on the scale, such as low glycemic index fruits, will raise blood sugar levels more steadily and not too high. They don’t "spike" your blood sugar levels.
In general, when we talk about foods that raise blood sugar levels at all, we’re usually looking at foods that contain carbohydrates, such as rice, bread, pasta, fruits, and any kind of dessert.
We want to pay attention to fruits in this article because they have a special relationship with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) and AFS recovery, as we'll discuss in more detail later.
AFS is a condition where your adrenal glands dysregulate due to chronic stress. Its symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, mild depression, low libido, PMS, infertility, hair loss, dry skin, dizziness, issues with blood pressure, heart palpitations, lowered immunity, food and drug sensitivities, hypoglycemia, and salt and sugar craving.
The adrenal glands are part of the Hormone Circuit of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. Your NEM is your body’s global response to stress, and it’s composed of six circuits that work together: The Hormone, Bioenergetics, the Cardionomic, the Neuroaffect, the Inflammation, and the Detoxification Circuits.
And although your adrenals are your NEM’s first line of defense against stress, all the components of all six circuits are affected by chronic stress. And one of the biggest causes of physiological chronic stress is an unhealthy diet, especially one that causes spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
What happens when you eat a high glycemic index food is that it will raise your blood sugar levels very high very quickly. Your pancreas, which is part of your Bioenergetics Circuit, will then release a lot of insulin to transport that glucose from your blood into your cells. Usually, this flood of insulin is overkill, and will then make your blood sugar levels crash. This creates a state of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia can make you feel dizzy, shaky, irritable, light-headed, nervous, sweaty, and weak. Your body will then make you crave sugar in order to remedy that low. But, once again, if you overdo it with the sugary food, your blood sugar will spike, starting the cycle all over again.
This cycle is one of the most damaging and stressful things you can do to your body. And, unfortunately, if you’re eating a Standard American Diet, you’re likely stuck in it without even realizing it. It is especially harmful to your NEM’s Bioenergetics Circuit.
Your Bioenergetics Circuit is composed of your pancreas, liver, and thyroid. We already mentioned the main role of the pancreas. The liver is your detoxification powerhouse, and your thyroid plays a key role in your metabolism and your body’s energy production. The function of the circuit as a whole is to fuel your cells with the right amount of energy at the right time.
Dysregulation of your Bioenergetics circuit can lead to hypoglycemia, AFS, hypothyroidism, leaky gut, sleep disturbances, metabolic derangement, and even diabetes. So it is truly of utmost importance that you try your best to avoid the blood sugar spikes and crashes cycle in order to preserve this circuit as much as possible.
This means sticking to a blood sugar stabilizing diet that includes healthy low glycemic index fruits. It also means ensuring that you eat at regular intervals, especially when you’re recovering from AFS, so that you keep your blood sugar levels as stable as possible.
It’s easy to check online for the glycemic index of whatever food you’re about to buy. Then you can compare it to the scale we mentioned earlier. So, for example, you’d want to avoid buying foods that have GIs of over 70.
Here’s a list of other low glycemic index fruits:
Fruits with a moderate GI index include:
In general, dried fruits have a higher sugar concentration than fresh fruits, so we suggest you eat those in moderation, if at all. Many fruits climb higher on the GI index as they ripen, which you may have noticed yourself. Bananas get sweeter as they brown and soften, so eating them when they’re still a little starchy and yellow may lessen their blood sugar spiking effects. You can also still enjoy a high GI fruit once in a while if the rest of your diet is healthy and stable.
If you’re diabetic, you may already have spotted a problem with the glycemic index. Especially with some of the so-called high GI fruits, like watermelon. It’s supposed to spike your blood sugar levels, but in reality, it doesn’t do so nearly as much as some of the so-called low GI fruits, like apples, or a moderate one, like bananas.
Why is that?
It’s because the GI measuring system doesn’t account for serving size. It standardizes the index to 50 grams of carbohydrates. Meaning, the GI score is how much 50 g of this particular carbohydrate affects blood sugar levels. The problem with this is that different foods have different carb content and different typical serving sizes.
A more accurate measure, then, is the glycemic load (GL), which factors in how many grams of carbohydrates a food has in a typical serving size. With this scale, an average GL score is between 11 and 19, with anything below 11 being low and anything above 20 being high. Watermelon actually has a low glycemic load.
So, if you really want to make sure your blood sugar levels are as stable as possible, you may want to take into account the glycemic load. Low glycemic load fruits include limes, strawberries, apricots, grapefruits, lemons, cantaloupes, guavas, nectarines, watermelons, oranges, pears, plums, peaches, blueberries, apples, kiwis, mangoes, and cherries.
In most cases, however, both the GI and GL correspond, so it’s okay to focus only on low glycemic index fruits rather than constantly checking both values.
But there’s more you should take into account than a fruit’s glycemic index. And this is important to understand if your body is in a weak state or you’re going through adrenal fatigue recovery.
First of all, how much of your diet should be composed of fruits? We usually advise adrenal fatigue sufferers to divide their diet according to the following percentages:
Secondly, you’ll want to avoid fruits first thing in the morning, unless they are very low glycemic index fruits. That’s because it’s easier to get a blood sugar spike on an empty stomach, as there aren’t other foods in your stomach slowing down the digestion and sugar release.
Thirdly, you’ll want to be careful with fruits that have a high potassium concentration. That’s because people with AFS often experience electrolyte imbalance. Especially an imbalance between sodium and potassium. Fruits that are high in potassium include bananas, oranges, honeydews, cantaloupes, grapefruits, dates, prunes, apricots, and raisins.
And, finally, we recommend that you buy organic whenever possible. The pesticides sprayed on fruits and vegetables can sometimes be difficult to wash off completely, and so you’d be ingesting these chemicals. With AFS, you probably also have a slowed Detoxification Circuit and some kind of inflammation in your body. That’s why you may experience symptoms such as an increase in food and drug sensitivities. Your body’s toxic load is increasing, and you don’t want to add more to it.
Although taking into consideration all of these different factors, and only when talking about eating fruits, can seem overwhelming. But if you break it down into small steps, it’s actually not that hard to follow. For example, you can expand this and make it about eating a low glycemic index diet in general rather than only focusing on low glycemic index fruits.
This has the added advantage of really stabilizing blood sugar levels all day long and ensuring you don’t get into those vicious spikes and crash cycles. Benefits of following a low GI diet include:
A low GI diet will consist of swapping out any refined or simple carbs for complex carbs, such as whole grains and whole low glycemic index fruits. Most animal proteins are also low GI, as are most vegetables, especially leafy greens, and all kinds of fats and oils. A keto diet, for example, is very low GI because it is mainly made up of fats, protein, and very little carbohydrates. We don’t generally recommend going keto, but it’s one extreme example of a low GI diet.
Before making any drastic dietary changes, it’s better to consult a health professional experienced in adrenal fatigue and NEM dysregulation. That’s because big changes done too quickly, even if they’re healthy, can actually add more stress to your body. Your body needs time to adapt and allow your adrenals to rest. Adrenal fatigue and NEM recovery is a long process, and it may need adjustments along the way.
Cutting out certain foods, including certain high GI fruits, may mean you don’t get enough of certain vitamins and minerals. If that’s the case, your health consultant will take that into account when putting together your supplementation plan. So, make sure you follow their guidance on that as well.
After a while, you will get the hang of it all and be able to change things up on your own. So don’t feel like you have lost control completely. The goal here is to make changes that you can sustain for a long time so that you give yourself the time needed for a full recovery.
If you have questions about low glycemic index fruits, a low glycemic index diet in general, your Bioenergetics Circuit, or adrenal fatigue you can contact the Dr. Lam Coaching team. We can offer you a free** no-obligation phone consultation at +1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and what your options are. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.
The glycemic index is a helpful scale to use when you want to stabilize your blood sugar levels. Especially if you have adrenal fatigue, diabetes, or metabolic derangement. So don’t be afraid of fruits, there are low glycemic index fruits that you can enjoy and reap the benefits of.