Edible fruits for sugar patients are the most delicious and beneficial food types. They are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, low in calories and sugar content and will keep your heart healthy. There is no comparison between an apple and a cake which makes you obese. So, if you are overweight or diabetic, then you must consult with your doctor for a healthy diet plan.
The Worst Fruits for People With Diabetes (and the Best)
People with diabetes don’t need to avoid all fruit; they just need to make smart choices.
There is a misconception that people with diabetes cannot eat fruit. Yes, fruit does contain natural sugars. But just because you have diabetes does not mean you need to avoid fruit. It just means you need to make better choices on what fruit (and how much) you eat.
Fruit, like many other foods, can raise blood sugar. Frequent blood sugar spikes can elevate your A1C, a measure of how high your blood sugar is on average. The higher the A1C level, the less well your body is managing the condition.
But fruit doesn’t have to be off the table if you’re a person with diabetes. Indeed, fruit can be a healthy part of a balanced diet. It’s just important for people with diabetes to pick the best fruits for them, and to eat some others less frequently.
We spoke to two dietitians to get the scoop on the best and worst fruits for people with diabetes.
Can People With Diabetes Eat Fruit?
“All fruits have healthy qualities, even if you have diabetes,” says Zoe Fienman, RD LDN CDE, a registered dietitian at OnPoint Nutrition. “They are filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs.”
What identifies a fruit as better or worse is really the amount of sugar that fruit has and where it lies on the glycemic index. An important tool for people with diabetes, the glycemic index refers to the rate at which food is digested and absorbed into the blood stream.
“If it’s higher, that means that food breaks down more quickly which can cause a spike in blood sugar more rapidly,” Fienman says. That being said, like with all foods, people may digest or react to something differently. One person with diabetes may be able to tolerate a banana without a major spike in sugars, and others may have to avoid them altogether.
Of course, always consult your doctor or a registered dietitian when figuring out a diet that is right for managing diabetes and your blood sugar.
The Worst Fruits for People With Diabetes
Serving size is important for all fruits, especially those high on the glycemic index. Fienman recommends thinking about the serving size of a whole fruit (like an apple) to the size of a tennis ball and cut up fruit to a ½ cup. Even in these small servings, some fruits have more natural sugars and may spike blood sugar longer.
These fruits contain a high amount of natural sugars:
Skip the canned fruit.
Canned fruits and those cute little fruit cocktail cups may be convenient and inexpensive, but they aren’t so good for you.
“Those canned in heavy or light syrup are not an ideal choice for persons with diabetes,” says Kim Rose, RD and a certified diabetes care and education specialist. “This is because syrup-laden fruits contain added sugar that may be too much for the body to handle.”
Be careful with dried fruits.
Drying fruit concentrates all of the yummy fruit flavor into one smaller bite, but it also concentrates many of the sugars. Even a small amount of dried fruit can put you over the edge.
Be careful to read dried fruit labels; many of them pack on the added sugars. Some are even sweetened, making the sugar problem worse. If you must have dried fruit, keep the quantities small. Rose recommends dates, figs, and prunes because they are lower on the glycemic index.
Juices and smoothies can be tricky.
Many store-bought juices — orange, apple, even green juices — sneakily add extra sugars, so you’ll want to avoid those, too. Even juices or smoothies you make at home can require a lot of fruit for one glass (a small juice can often have two to three oranges), so it isn’t always the best option for people with diabetes. If you want to have a smoothie, try adding in mostly vegetables and something like a half of a banana for sweetness.
The Best Fruits for People With Diabetes
Two to three servings of fruit a day is recommended, and that can is true for people with diabetes, too.
“If you combine fruit with a fat or protein, it will help you feel fuller and help with that portion control,” Fienman says.
Here are some beneficial fruits that are not only lower on the glycemic index, but also pack a punch with other vitamins and minerals:
- berries — Both citrus and berries are recommended as superfoods by the American Diabetes Association.
- apples — High fiber fruits like apples and pears help to slow a spike in blood sugar, Rose says.
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 2017Trusted Source 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 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 researchTrusted Source 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
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 servingTrusted Source 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.
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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.
Other health benefits of fruit
People with diabetes should have a balanced diet that provides enough energy and helps them maintain a healthy weight. Some fruits, such as watermelon, are high in sugar but can be part of a healthy diet in moderate amounts.
Opting for fruit can also prevent a person with a sweet tooth from reaching for candy and other foods with low nutritional value. Most fruits are high in nutrients and low in fat and sodium. Fruits also often contain nutrients that other foods do not.
Bananas contain potassium and tryptophan, an important amino acid. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, are rich in vitamins A and C, which are powerful antioxidants.
To reach the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, aim to have fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
Here are a few ideas to help with menu planning:
Citrus fruits are versatile and easy to add to meals. Add lemon and lime to seafood, sauces, or glasses of iced tea. People can make their own fruit water by adding citrus slices to a pitcher of water and letting it sit overnight.
Berries are tasty raw. A person might also make a compote to spoon into oatmeal or meat dishes.
Put whole, fresh or frozen berries into a saucepan with a tablespoon or two of water. Cook this on medium or low heat until the berries have broken down into a thick sauce. One serving is half a cup.
Apples are a popular fruit. They are delicious raw for a snack or dessert. When cooked, apples have a deeper flavor, making them a favorite in desserts spiced with cinnamon or ginger.
A person could try marinating apples in a small amount of honey and spices, then grilling them. To finish, roll the apples in crushed walnuts or pecans. While this dessert contains some honey, it is a healthier alternative to many apple-based baked goods.
Avocados are high in fat, but they contain monounsaturated fat, the type that is beneficial for the body.
A person can slice them or mash them and mix in herbs and vegetables to make a dip, such as guacamole. A person might also add lime or lemon for a citrus boost.
Fruits That Are Good to Eat if You Have Diabetes
These low and medium glycemic options can be enjoyed with breakfast or as a snack.
There’s nothing (naturally) sweeter than biting into a juicy peach or sprinkling strawberries on your morning oatmeal. But for people with diabetes, there can be some confusion over how much of that fruity sweetness they can enjoy while keeping their blood sugar in check. “Many of my clients with diabetes are worried because they’re not sure where fruit fits into the equation,” says dietitian Farah Z. Khan, RD, who is also a health and wellness coach. But the natural fructose and glucose found in fruit is very different from added sugars found in sweets like ice cream, cookies, and soft drinks, Khan adds. “Fruit provides important vitamins and minerals, and it also has fiber in it, which delays how quickly the food is going to be digested, so the glucose will enter your bloodstream more slowly.”
Khan recommends you stick to whole or frozen fruits, since dried fruits and canned fruits may contain added sugar (though if you only have access to canned fruits, you can simply rinse off the syrup, she says). If you like to take your fruit in liquid form, stick with no-sugar-added 100% juice, and consider diluting it with water or seltzer, Khan adds. The American Diabetes Association recommends limiting high-carbohydrate foods (which includes fruit) to one quarter of your plate, or about 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day. Choose whichever fruit you love, says Khan, who suggests you pair it with other proteins or healthy fats, as an extra way to keep your blood sugar from spiking. Keep in mind that one serving of fruit equals about 15 g carbohydrates.
Here, 10 fruits to enjoy if you have diabetes — and how much to eat for one healthy serving.
Apples are full of fiber (most of it in the peel, so leave it on!), which makes them an excellent choice for snacking. Pair them peanut or almond butter to get some protein in every bite.
1 serving = 1 small apple
Also full of healthy fiber, pears are a great choice for a crunchy snack. In fact, one study suggests that eating whole Bartlett and Starkrimson pears may even help manage type-2 diabetes.
1 serving = 1 small pear
Filled with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, strawberries are a bright and tasty choice. Slice them up and serve on top of oatmeal, yogurt, or mixed with spinach and walnuts for a sweet and savory salad.
1 serving = 1 cup berries
When picking a banana from the bunch, go for one that’s still slightly on the greener side, says Khan, who points out that the as the banana ripens, its sugar content increases.
1 serving = 1/2 banana
Because of their antioxidant content, all berries are a great choice for diabetics, but tart and juicy blackberries have more than double the fiber content of their more popular cousin, the strawberry.
1 serving = 1 cup berries
Nothing can beat the sweet and juicy flavor of a peach in season. Along with other stone fruits such as plums and nectarines, peaches contain bioactive compounds that one study has found may fight obesity-related diabetes.
1 serving = 1 medium peach