If you’re wondering which fruits are good for diabetics, you’ve come to the right place. Many people think diabetics should avoid all sugars, even the sugars found in fruit. You may be surprised to learn that this is a myth and in fact many fruits can be a healthy and nutritious part of your diet whether you have diabetes or not.
A wide variety of fruits can help you manage your blood sugar, reduce fat in your diet, lower your blood pressure, and manage your weight, which can improve symptoms associated with diabetes. However, it is worth knowing which fruits are low in sugar.
Indeed, all foods containing carbohydrates tend to increase blood sugar levels and fruits fall into this category. But that doesn’t mean completely eliminating fruit from your diet. While diabetics should avoid foods and fruits that are high in sugar, there are many low-sugar options that make a nutritious addition to a diabetic diet.
However, we recommend opting for whole fruits and avoiding fruit juices. Fruit juices may be higher in natural sugars, and you can drink more than you need to quickly raise your blood sugar. Instead, consider swapping fruit juice for water. Our guide to best water bottles will help you find the perfect water bottle to sip on while you’re on the go.
To help you figure out which fruits are good for diabetics and which ones to avoid, we’ve compiled a handy list for you in this guide, and we’re sharing our top tips for managing diabetes with your diet.
Fruits to include in your diabetic diet
Paying particular attention to the glycemic index (GI) fruits you want to eat is a way to keep track of which ones may raise your blood sugar. Foods with a high GI can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, including sugary foods and drinks, white bread, potatoes, and white rice.
Fruits, on the other hand, generally have a low or medium glycemic index. This means that they break down gradually, causing blood sugar levels to rise more slowly over a longer period of time. They are also perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth.
If you choose canned fruit, be sure to avoid varieties that contain added sugar. Look for descriptions that say “unsweetened”, “no added sugar” and “packed in its own juice”. Don’t buy fruit packed in sugary syrups.
Dried fruit can also be nutritious, but be careful not to eat too much. A single miniature can of raisins can contain up to 14g of carbohydrates. If you’re not sure, it’s best to stick with whole fruits. They are also more nutritious than the dried varieties.
People with diabetes should aim to eat the same recommended number of servings per day as people without diabetes. This means about 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit per day, depending on the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.
the ADA recommends the following fruits to include as part of a diabetic meal plan:
- Honeydew melon
Fruits to avoid in your diabetic diet
Some fruits have a medium to high GI, which means they may raise blood sugar faster than other fruits.
This does not mean that people with diabetes should avoid eating these fruits per se, but they may want to limit them in their diet. They may also want to carefully monitor their blood sugar levels after eating certain fruits.
According to Medical News Today fruits that have a high GI include:
- Overripe bananas
- Dried dates
The GI index may also increase as the fruit ripens.
Other tips for managing diabetes with your diet
According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIKKD), a healthy diet for diabetes includes the following foods plus fruit, in the portions recommended by your meal plan:
- Vegetables: Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes, and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, and green peas.
- Wholemeal bread, pasta and cereals.
- Lean meats and fish or meat alternatives, such as tofu.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Skim or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheeses.
- Foods containing heart-healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and oily fish.
NIKKD also recommends portion control when it comes to meals, especially for overweight people with diabetes. There are two methods to help you reduce the amount you eat at mealtimes:
- Plate method: Using a 9-inch plate, fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with meat or protein, and another quarter with a grain or starch.
- Carbohydrate count: This is often used by people with diabetes who take insulin. You will need to know which foods contain carbs and how much is in each serving. Next, you will need to add up the number of carbs you have over the course of a day.
These two portion control methods can help you plan how much to eat and how much of each food group to eat, including fruit. A diabetes care team can advise you on which method is best for you.
Quick Ways to Include More Fruit in Your Diet
These simple tips American Heart Association can help you easily fit more fruit into your daily diet. A simple change to a meal or snack can improve nutrition, help you lose weight, and manage your blood sugar more effectively.
- Add a handful of fresh, frozen, or canned berries to your morning cereal or porridge.
- Use chopped oranges, grapes or melon in your lunch salad.
- Keep a serving or two of fruit handy as a snack during the day.
- Freeze a banana or a slice of watermelon for a refreshing popsicle during the summer months.
- Opt for fruit as a dessert dish to satisfy a sweet tooth.
American Diabetes Association. (2022). Fruit | ADA. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/eating-well/fruit
American Heart Association. (2021, January 21). How to eat more fruits and vegetables. Heart.org. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/add-color/how-to-eat-more-fruits-and-vegetables
CDC Newsroom. (2016, January 1). CDC. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html
Fletcher, J. (2021, March 30). What are the worst fruits for a person with diabetes? Medical News Today. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/worst-fruits-for-diabetics
Link, MRS (2020, June 2). Glycemic index: what it is and how to use it. Health line. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/glycemic-index
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2021, December 9). Diet, nutrition and physical activity for diabetes. Retrieved April 22, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity#whatFood