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Is Jackfruit Good for Diabetes? Sugar, Glycemic Index, and Benefits
Diabetes

Is Jackfruit Good for Diabetes? Sugar, Glycemic Index, and Benefits

Wendy Lord, RD
Written by Wendy Lord, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 12, 2022
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5 min

How does consuming jackfruit affect your blood sugar levels? This article discusses the nutritional content and health benefits of including jackfruit in your diet when you have diabetes.

Is jackfruit good for diabetes
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Jackfruit is becoming popular throughout the world. It is commonly used by vegans as a meat substitute and has numerous health benefits. Since it is a fruit and contains natural sugars, where does it fit in the diabetic diet? 

The large fruit, endemic to South India, has a thick green skin, yellow flesh, a meaty texture, and a neutral flavor when it’s unripe, making it a great alternative to shredded meat or tofu in savory dishes. 

However, when it is ripe, jackfruit has a sweet taste, similar to other tropical fruit such as banana, mango, and pineapple. This is a sure sign that it contains sugars, and as someone with diabetes, you must be aware of its effect on your blood sugar levels. 

After reading this article, you will know what happens to your glucose levels when you eat raw jackfruit and how you can include it in your diet. We will examine the pros and cons of eating this versatile fruit to make an informed decision about when, how much, and how often you can enjoy jackfruit.   

Is Jackfruit Good for Diabetes?

Yes, jackfruit is good for diabetes as it is rich in fiber and protein. However, it is a mildly sweet fruit that contains a combination of carbohydrates and natural sugars, so it should not be eaten in large quantities.

As mentioned above, this fruit is rich in dietary fiber and contains some protein, both of which can reduce the effect of sugar and carbohydrates on your blood sugar levels. Therefore, you can consume jackfruit in small portions when you have diabetes.

Jackfruit and its seeds are also a good source of a variety of nutrients that can help control blood sugar levels and prevent some of the complications of diabetes. The fruit’s flesh is rich in beta-carotene, calcium riboflavin (vitamin B2), and phytonutrients such as lignans, isoflavones, and saponins. 

Does Jackfruit Raise Blood Sugar?

When you eat raw jackfruit, your blood sugar levels rise due to its natural sugars and carbohydrates. The sugar requires very little digestion and is released rapidly into the blood, which can impact your diabetes management.

While carbohydrates must undergo digestion to be broken down into simple sugars, they are also released into the blood as glucose. The result is a rise in blood sugar levels. 

When you eat small portions of jackfruit, the effect on your sugar level is moderate, but if you eat large quantities, your blood sugar will spike. Therefore, limit your jackfruit portions to half a cup of sliced fruit or 2.6oz (75g). It will provide 0.6oz (18g) of carbohydrates, the equivalent of a little more than one carbohydrate exchange.

Nutritional Value of Raw Jackfruit (100g)

The nutritional value of raw jackfruit per 100g is as follows:

CaloriesTotal CarbsProtein
95kcal23.2g1.72g
FiberSugarsFats
1.5g19.1g0.64g

Jackfruit and its seeds are also a source of a range of micronutrients, including:

  • Vitamins: beta-carotene, riboflavin, and vitamin C.
  • Minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Phytonutrients: carotenoids, flavonoids, sterols, and tannins.

Glycemic Index of Jackfruit

Raw jackfruit’s glycemic index (GI) ranges between 50–60, making it a low to medium GI food. The variation is due to ripeness and the part of the fruit eaten. The more ripe your jackfruit, the higher the glycemic index will be.

The protein and fiber content of jackfruit may be responsible for keeping the glycemic response to eating jackfruit moderately low. Intermediate GI foods have a moderate effect on your blood sugar levels and can be included in meals that contain plenty of vegetables, fruit, and a little healthy fat. 

If you are looking for a plant-based source of protein, it would be more beneficial to use beans, lentils, or chickpeas instead of jackfruit, as they have a significantly lower GI. They also have a higher protein and fiber content, making them a better meat substitute.

It should also be noted that raw jackfruit has a moderate glycemic load (GL). That means that although it contains a relatively high amount of sugar and carbohydrate, it is released slowly into the blood. 

What Are the Benefits of Jackfruit?

Jackfruit has numerous health benefits. For example, a research study showed that when people with diabetes eat jackfruit extract, it can improve glucose tolerance and decrease blood sugar levels.  

Another study examined the effects of jackfruit leaf extract on diabetic mice and found that it reduced their fasting blood sugar levels and enhanced long-term blood sugar control. The results were thought to be due to the flavonoids in the jackfruit, which are potent antioxidants. 

Research using jackfruit seed powder also demonstrated the sugar-balancing effects of this fruit. Taking a jackfruit seed supplement reduced overeating due to a high sugar diet and improved glucose tolerance and LDL cholesterol levels. 

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The antioxidants in jackfruit reduce chronic inflammation, which is the underlying cause of many chronic diseases. Vitamin C, carotenoids (commonly found in orange and yellow vegetables such as carrots), and flavones have been shown to help prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Although more research is required, jackfruit is thought to improve immunity, skin health, and heart health. 

FAQs

Is jackfruit high in sugar?

Yes, jackfruit is high in sugar. A half-cup portion contains 14g of sugar. However, because of the fiber and protein content, the sugar in jackfruit is absorbed relatively slowly into the blood, making it safe for people with diabetes to eat it in small portions. In addition, unlike ripe jackfruit, unripe jackfruit has a low sugar content.

Can jackfruit reverse diabetes?

Research doesn’t conclusively prove that jackfruit reverses diabetes. Most studies on jackfruit have been done on mice, so there is little evidence to prove that it would have the same effect on people.

How much jackfruit can a person with diabetes eat?

A person with diabetes can eat half a cup or 75g (2.6oz) of jackfruit. It provides about 18g of carbohydrates in the form of sugar and starch. The best time to eat the fruit is after a meal to prevent blood sugar spikes.

A Word From a Nutritionist

People with diabetes can safely enjoy jackfruit in their diet. It is a nutritious fruit with sugars, carbohydrates, protein, and a variety of micronutrients essential for good health and improved blood sugar control.

Some evidence shows that jackfruit leaf extract, powdered jackfruit seeds, and jackfruit flour can help lower fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels and the HbA1c in people with diabetes.

It must be noted that although blood sugar management may improve when people with diabetes consume jackfruit regularly, you must continue taking your diabetes medication. Any changes to your medication must be discussed with your doctor.

Because jackfruit has a medium glycemic index, it only has a moderate effect on blood sugar levels. When eaten in moderation, the yellow flesh of the jackfruit can be a tasty sweet treat for someone trying to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

 Conclusion

Jackfruit is good for diabetes when eaten in moderation. However, consuming jackfruit in large quantities can cause a spike in blood sugar levels due to its high sugar and carbohydrate content.

It is a useful meat substitute in a vegan or plant-based diet, but its protein content doesn’t compare to legumes such as kidney beans. When eaten as a fruit, the protein and fiber content of ripe jackfruit pods helps lower the fruit’s glycemic index, preventing a dramatic rise in blood sugar.

According to scientific research, jackfruit benefits blood sugar control. In the form of jackfruit powder, powdered jackfruit seeds, and jackfruit leaf extract, taken as a supplement or used in cooking, the fruit has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels.

Wendy Lord, RD
Written by
Wendy is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for writing about nutrition, health, and medicine. Her aim is to translate the medical jargon to make information accessible to everyone so that they can make informed decisions about their health.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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