Citrus Fruits For Diabetes


Citrus fruits for diabetes. They offer great value to manage healthy body and enjoy a long life .Citrus fruits are an excellent source of various nutrients including vitamin C , energy, and antioxidants. The digestion process is also well regulated by the presence of pectin fibers in citrus fruits. These fruits also contain a lot of fructose, making them an ideal form for diabetes management.

Enjoy citrus fruits as part of your diabetes meal plan

Options for fresh fruits are limited for those who live in northern states. Luckily, citrus fruits are in season and not too high in carbohydrates.

Various citrus fruits.

Fresh fruits are a delicious part of any meal and also make healthy snacks. Farmers’ markets in Michigan are overflowing with a bounty of fruits in the summer but as winter approaches options diminish. Luckily, citrus fruits from warmer climates come into season as snow flurries begin in northern states.

Citrus fruits have a moderate amount of carbohydrate and are high in vitamin C.

  • Medium orange = 18 grams of carbohydrates
  • Half grapefruit = 13 grams of carbohydrates
  • Medium tangerine = 13 grams of carbohydrates
  • Medium clementine = 9 grams of carbohydrates
  • Medium lime = 7 grams of carbohydrates
  • Medium lemon = 4 grams of carbohydrates

Besides being tasty, citrus fruits are good for health and the American Cancer Association states that “Many studies have linked intake of foods rich in vitamin C to a lower risk of cancer.” They explain that while this is true for studies of whole foods, “the few studies in which vitamin C has been given as a supplement have not shown a reduced risk for cancer.”

If you have diabetes, it is important to balance the amount of carbohydrates you eat throughout the day. Eating a whole fruit is generally better than drinking fruit juice. This is because the whole fruit contains fiber which delays digestion. This will help you feel full and will not spike blood sugar levels as quickly as drinking fruit juice can. So enjoy a citrus fruit as a snack between meals or try this recipe from The Food Advisor from the American Diabetes Association website. Try adding some grilled chicken breast to make this salad more of a meal. 

Winter Salad with Citrus

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 8



  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup grapefruit sections
  • 1 cup orange sections
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts


  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Can you eat fruit with diabetes? What are the best and worst options?

Eating fruit can be a delicious way to satisfy hunger and meet daily nutritional needs. However, most fruits contain sugar. This has raised questions about whether fruits are suitable for people who have diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association reports that any fruit is fine for a person with diabetes, so long as that person is not allergic to that type of fruit.

In fact, studies such as one from 2017 have found that a higher fruit intake is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

However, not all fruits are equally healthy. Fresh or frozen fruits, or fruits packed in their own juice, are better than processed fruits straight from a can or jar, such as applesauce and canned fruit. This is because fruits in cans, jars, or plastic cups may contain added sugar. And added sugar can cause a person’s blood sugar to spike.

This article recommends which fruits to eat and avoid for a person with diabetes. It also explores the relationship between fruit and blood sugar.

List of fruits for diabetes

fruits for diabetes on heart shaped platter

Fruits and the glycemic index

For a person with diabetes, one way to select safe and suitable fruits and other high-carbohydrate foods is to check their values on the glycemic index (GI).

The GI is a rating of foods on a scale from 1 to 100. The score indicates how quickly the food may raise blood sugar levels. The body absorbs high GI foods faster than medium or low GI foods, for example.

Foods with a lower GI score are better for helping to control blood sugar levels.

The following table shows low and medium GI fruits:

Fruits to avoid

A person with diabetes should not avoid fruit in general, since it is an important part of a balanced diet. Some research shows, for example, that eating fruit may actually help prevent diabetes.

However, a person with diabetes can make smart choices about which fruits they eat.

High sugar fruits

Although fruits that score highly on the GI are safe for people with diabetes, a person should monitor their intake. Most fruits do not score highly, but those that do include:

  • very ripe bananas
  • dried dates
  • watermelons
  • pineapples

High carb fruits

Some people with diabetes follow a low carb diet to reduce the impact of carbohydrates on their blood sugar levels.

It is worth noting that high carb fruits still may have fewer carbohydrates than other, less nutrient-dense snacks. For example, one large banana contains about 30 grams (g) of carbohydrates, while a chocolate muffin contains around 55 g.

A person should, therefore, focus on limiting their intake of other high-carb foods before cutting out fruits.

How much fruit should I eat?

Most guidelines recommend that adults and children eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This is still true for people with diabetes.

Other guidelines recommend making sure that half of the plate at each meal contains fruits, vegetables, or both.

For a person with diabetes, half of each meal should be nonstarchy vegetables, rather than fruit. The remaining half should be sources of protein and high fiber starches, such as beans or whole grains. Many experts also recommend including healthy fat at each meal to encourage a feeling of fullness and enhance absorption of antioxidants and vitamins.

One serving is a medium-sized fruit, or a serving the size of a baseball. The serving size of smaller fruits, such as berries, is 1 cup.

For processed fruits, such as applesauce and fruit juice, the serving size is half a cup. And for dried fruits such as raisins and cherries, it is 2 tablespoons.

As with vegetables, focusing on variety can be a great way to absorb the right nutrients and enjoy a range of flavors.

Benefits for diabetes

Eating enough fiber plays an important role in managing diabetes.

A diet high in soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and control blood sugar levels. Many fruits are high in fiber, especially when a person eats the skin or pulp. The high fiber and water contents of many fruits makes them filling.

Diets that contain enough fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of obesity, heart attack, and stroke. Obesity has links to type 2 diabetes.

Because fruits are high in fiber and nutrients, they are a good choice when a person is planning meals. But consider limiting the amount of processed fruits on the menu, such as applesauce and fruit juices, because these have had their fiber removed.

Best Fruits to Eat if You Have Diabetes

Tips for Incorporating Fruit Into Your Meal Plan

At some point, you may have heard that you cannot eat fruit if you have diabetes. Or. maybe someone told you that you can eat fruit, just not extra-sweet ones like grapes or watermelon.

Neither of these statements is entirely true. You can enjoy fruit if you have diabetes, but you simply need to make strategic decisions about which fruits to eat and how much.

This article explains the ways that fruit can impact diabetes, both positively and negatively, as well as which fruits to favor or limit—and why.

Oranges and pomegranate

Pros and Cons of Eating Fruit if You Have Diabetes

Fruits have many health benefits, some of which are helpful to people living with diabetes. But, there are also potential risks to eating fruit, particularly in your blood sugar is not controlled.


There are many “pros” to eating fruit if you have diabetes. Some are nutritionally dense and others contain compounds that help reduce inflammation and damage caused by free radicals.

Among the benefits of adding fruit to a diabetes-friendly diet are:

  • Fiber: Dietary fiber is the portion of plant-based foods that cannot be completely broken down by digestive enzymes. Fiber is beneficial in helping prevent blood sugar spikes, reducing blood cholesterol, and increasing satiety (the feeling of fullness) to help control appetite.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Potassium in fruits like bananas, citrus, melons, and, apricots can help reduce blood pressure. Vitamin C and folic acid in citrus fruits help promote wound healing increase brain function and boost immunity.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as anthocyanins found in berries, cherries, and red grapes can help thwart cell damage and may potentially slow the progression of certain chronic diseases, including heart disease. Other antioxidant-rich foods include peaches, figs, pears, guava, oranges, apricots, mango, cantaloupe, and papaya,

When choosing fruit, you’ll want to think about portion size, convenience, cost, and flavor. But it is also important to consider the health benefits as well.


On the flip side, there are potential risks to eating fruit if you have diabetes. In most cases, the benefits will outweigh the risks as long as you maintain portion control and avoid overconsumption.

Even so, be aware of the following “cons” if you have diabetes:

  • Fructose: Fruit contains carbohydrates. Carbohydrates—whether from bread, milk, yogurt, potatoes, or fruit—get broken down during digestion and turn into sugar (glucose). The main type of carbohydrate in fruit is a natural sugar called fructose. Eating too much fructose can have the same effect as eating too much table sugar.
  • Excess potassium: If you are on a potassium-restricted diet for diabetic nephropathy (diabetes-related kidney disease), you may need to restrict your intake of citrus fruits, bananas, apricots, and certain melons. These fruits are loaded with potassium. 
  • Interactions: Citrus fruit like grapefruit and Seville oranges can interact with drugs like statins, steroids, and certain blood pressure medications, making them less effective.

For these reasons, people with diabetes need to monitor how many carbs they eat and advise their healthcare provider about any drugs they take to avoid interactions.

Choose Fruit With a Lower Glycemic Index

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you choose fruits that have a low glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is used as a reference to measure how much a carbohydrate-containing food raises your blood glucose. A high GI food will raise blood glucose more than a medium or low GI food.

Here is how certain fruits compare on the glycemic index:

  • Low GI (55 or less): Apples, pears, mango, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, grapefruit, pears, nectarines, and oranges
  • Moderate GI (55 to 69): Cherries, mango, papaya, and grapes
  • High GI (70 or greater): Watermelon and pineapple

Most fruits have a low to moderate GI, except pineapple and watermelon. That doesn’t mean you can never eat pineapple or watermelon unless it causes a blood sugar spike.

It is also important to note that fructose levels tend to increase the more that fruit ripens, amplifying its impact on your blood sugar.

Even so, some nutritious foods have a higher GI than foods with little nutritional value. As such, don’t use a food’s GI as the sole determining factor as to which you should eat. A healthy diet should always be balanced to meet your daily nutritional needs.

Opt for the Whole Fruit

If you have diabetes and enjoy fruit, it is always best to opt for whole fruit rather than dried fruits or juices. This includes fresh, frozen, or canned whole fruit (as long as no sugars are added).

Dried fruits may be a problem because they are higher in carbohydrates per serving than natural whole fruit. They may also contain added sugar (particularly with products like dried cranberries or banana chips), Dried fruits can also be lower in fiber if the skin has been removed before dehydration.

Fruit juices pose similar risks even when there is no added sugar. That’s because the flesh of the fruit, which contains fiber, is discarded during the juicing process. Moreover, with juices, you may be drinking more fruit than you would eat. Pasteurized juice or juices made from concentrates often have very high fructose levels.

Here are two examples of what one portion of dried fruit or juice can contribute to your blood sugar:

  • One-quarter cup of raisins delivers 120 calories, 32 grams of carbohydrates, and 24 grams of sugar.
  • One cup of unsweetened 100% fruit juice contains 130 calories, 33 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 grams of sugar.

Keep Portions in Check

The ADA recommends that about 45% of your daily calorie intake come from carbohydrates. If you are following a consistent carbohydrate meal plan, you need to factor in fruit as a carbohydrate choice.

Try to stick with one fruit serving per meal or snack. Limit your fruit servings to no more than about two to three per day.

Keep in mind that one fruit serving is about 15 grams of carbohydrates. How much of each fruit you can eat within that one-serving limit will depend on the type of fruit.

Here is a list of what is considered one serving of common whole fruits:

  • 1 small apple, orange, peach, pear, or plum 
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 2 small tangerines or 1 large tangerine
  • 2 kiwi 
  • 4 apricots
  • 1 cup of melon (cantaloupe, honeydew)
  • 15 grapes or cherries 
  • 1/3 of a medium mango
  • 1-1/4 cup of strawberries
  • 3/4 cup of blueberries
  • 1 cup of raspberries and blackberries

Pair Fruit With Protein

Pairing fruit with protein can help slow down any rise in blood sugar. You can do this by including fruit in your meal allotment for carbohydrates or by adding protein to your fruit snack.

Here are some examples 

  • Pair 4 ounces of sliced apples with 1 tablespoon of almond butter.
  • Pair 1 cup of raspberries with 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Part one small peach with 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese.

Are Citrus Fruits Good for Diabetics? 9 Health Benefits

Fruits are one of the easiest choices to keep your body healthy. They are sweet, delicious, juicy, and very nutritious. Fruits are among those foods that are filled with a variety of nutrients such as vitamins, fibers, minerals, water, etc., all in one.

Thus, fruits make a perfect fit for healthy diets. But what about people with diabetes? Are fruits good enough for them? Can they have different fruits without thinking twice about their impact on their body’s blood sugar levels?

Well, fruits can often be questionable for anyone with blood sugar issues. It is mainly because of their sweetness. Fruits are said to have sugars, which are direct carbohydrates. Hence, making it a difficult option for one’s diabetic meal plans.

But are there no good options? Let us have a look at these topics today.

  • Are citrus fruits good for diabetes?
  • What are the benefits of citrus fruits?
  • What are the daily limits for citrus fruits for diabetics?
  • Can there be any side effects of citrus fruits?

And so on.

Well, I am sure that the answers to these will fascinate you and help you make better choices regarding having a healthy and diabetic-safe diet.

Are Citrus fruits good for Diabetes?

Well, to clear your confusion at once, Citrus fruits are amazing for diabetic health. They have been classified as one of the superfoods for diabetes by several international diabetic associations and experts.

The impacts of citrus fruits on one’s health are truly endless and can lower blood sugar.

There is a wide range of fruits under the citrus family that you can choose from. They are sweet and tangy with the right nutrients and safety over one’s health too.

One of the best things about citrus fruits is their fiber content. Fruits, as we all know, have sugars. These sugars are carbohydrates and are the major reasons for the rise in one’s body’s blood sugar levels.

But when it comes to citrus fruits, they also have these sugars. But what makes it harmless is the availability of dietary fiber in citrus fruit.

Fiber is a good form of carbohydrate as it is a complex carbohydrate. It nullifies the high effects that sugar can cause on the diabetic body and the blood glucose levels.

In addition to that, fiber has greater benefits of improving one’s metabolism as well. Diabetes is a condition that is caused by and also affects the improper functioning of the metabolism. Hence, it is crucial to keep the metabolic functioning healthy to ensure the management and control of this blood sugar disorder.

The fiber in the body helps to slow the pace of digestion. This, in turn, creates a slow-release and absorption of nutrients in the body. In this way, the release of sugar from the food intake also slows down.

Therefore, the risk of sudden raises in the blood sugar levels decreases. This helps the body to retain normal blood sugar levels.

Moreover, citrus fruits are rich sources of vitamin C. This is a crucial vitamin that helps in maintaining a strong immune system. It protects the body from harmful diseases and strengthens it

Other vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals found in citrus fruits also benefit the diabetic body. They help keep the bone, eyes, muscles, blood circulation, cardiovascular functions, etc.

We will look at the many other benefits of citrus fruits in detail as we move ahead.

What are the Glycemic Index of Citrus fruits

The glycemic index is an easy and effective measure to identify safe and unsafe foods for one’s healthy diet. It is a measure of the carbohydrates in foods that tells you how easily and quickly the consumption of a specific food will raise your blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index measure uses a scale from 0 to 100. Foods are divided into three important glycemic categories based on their rankings on this scale.

The three categories of the glycemic index are as follows:

Sl. No.Glycemic Index categoriesGlycemic Index ranges
1.Low Glycemic Index (safe for diabetics) 0 to 55
2.Medium Glycemic Index (safe if taken in controlled quantities)55  to 69
3.High Glycemic Index (unsafe for diabetics)From 70 and above

When it comes to citrus fruits, usually all of them fall under a low glycemic index. Their glycemic index ranges from 0 to 55, meaning they are safe for diabetic consumption.

Some of the common citrus fruits and their glycemic index are listed below:

Sl. No.Types of fruitsGlycemic index
5.Mandarin orange47
6.Kinnow fruit40 – 45

Thus, it is clear that citrus fruits are amongst the top best foods for diabetes. They can be had without worries. They will have many benefits on the diet and health of the person.

Adding citrus fruits can also reduce the overall glycemic index of the meals that you consume throughout the day.

These fruits are fulfilling as well as help to satisfy the sweet cravings of diabetic patients. Hence, you can have citrus fruits without having to compromise on your favorites.

But there is a balance in everything. Similarly, this is a good limit to having citrus fruits as well. Let us discuss this limit to ensure its better inclusion in your diabetic-safe meal plans.

What is the daily limit for citrus fruits for diabetic patients?

Even though we looked at and verified the various goodness of citrus fruits on the health of diabetic patients, it is still important to notice some limits that need to be followed.

When it comes to maintaining the body’s blood sugar levels, it is essential to keep a check on your food portions. Despite no considerable harm, no one should resort to excess quantities of safe foods either.

Here are some daily limits and tips you can follow regarding your decisions of citrus fruits:

  • Consume no more than one fruit: one sweet lime, one kinnow, one orange, in a sitting. The quantity must be lower than one whole fruit in the case of a grapefruit.
  • You can have these fruits as your morning, evening, or bedtime snacks. Make sure not to include these fruits more than once a day, which is a maximum of one citrus fruit in a day only.
  • You may even make salads on these fruits and have a mix of nutrients enrich your metabolism.
  • Resist fruit juices or canned drinks. They are higher in carbs and calories and also have added sugars. Therefore, it is advised not to have fruit juices. You can instead stick to the whole fruit.

Now you are aware of how to include these fruits to benefit yourself. But what are the benefits that you can receive from the consumption of citrus fruits?

Let us have a detailed look at the advantages of eating citrus fruits.

What are the benefits of eating Citrus fruits in Diabetes?

Until now, we talked about the safety of citrus fruits and their recommendations in one’s diet. Let us now know why these are such recommended fruits and additions to maintain a healthy body.

Below is a list of reason why you should add citrus fruits to your everyday meals:

  1. Citrus fruits are low in calories and are wonderful for weight loss. If you are looking for additions to your diet that will encourage losing those pounds, then citrus fruits are the answer.
  2. The presence of flavones in oranges and grapefruits is said to offer protection to women’s heart health. It can help to reduce the risks of ischemic strokes in women.
  3. The many flavonoids, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory components, etc., also help protect the body against the risks of developing cancer. It has been observed that a regular supply of citrus fruits to the diet can reduce the risks of esophageal, ovarian, and certain other types of cancers.
  4. Vitamin C found in citrus fruits has several benefits. They also nourish and protect the eyes and increase vision health. It helps in reducing age-related vision issues.
  5. Vitamin C also helps to maintain blood pressure and the hormonal secretions in the body. These are the major reasons for stress formation. Thus, eating citrus can also help you combat stress.

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