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Can a diabetes patient eat fruit?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
You can eat fruit but you need to watch the portion size and the frequency. Fruits contain carbs which can raise blood sugar. When eating fruit, the amount of fruit you eat will determine how much sugar or carb grams you are ingesting. One serving of fruit has about 10 grams of carbs. One serving equals a small apple, 20 cherries, 2 T. raisins, or 4 oz. of apple juice. Pairing fruit with a protein or fat helps slow down the digestion of the sugar. Apples with cheese or peanut butter or fruit in a protein shake work great.
Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics
Fruit is a great option for healthy living. As a diabetic you must add fruit into your carbohydrate count. Whether you are using the exchange list or carb counting, be sure to use the proper serving size. For example, 1 small apple is 15 grams of carbohydrate. Be sure to combing the fruit with a protein, such as peanut butter to avoid a high spike in blood sugars. Meet with a Registered Dietitian to ensure how to add fruit to your diabetic diet.
Joel H. Fuhrman, MD
Family Medicine
If you are diabetic or on an aggressive weight-loss plan, eat more fruits that are lower in sugar such as berries, green or Granny Smith apples, melons, oranges, kiwis and papaya and less of the higher calorie fruits such as mangos, grapes, bananas, pineapple and peaches. Those with diabetes do not need to avoid fruit as long as they limit it to two fresh fruits with breakfast and one with lunch and dinner. They should exclude fruit juice and eat only limited amounts of dried fruit.

Frozen fruit can be a convenient substitute when fresh fruit isn't available. The nutritional value of frozen fruit is comparable to that of fresh fruit. Avoid the canned varieties because they are not as nutritious. They often have sweeteners added and they have lost most of their water-soluble nutrients.
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Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Absolutely, as long as it is counted as part of the diabetic patient's total carbohydrate intake. One serving of fruit provides 15 g carbohydrate. Higher fiber fruit (raspberries, boysenberries, elderberries, pear, blueberries, apple) are better choices as they will convert to sugar slower. It is also important to keep portion control in mind while enjoying fruits. Whole fruit is recommended over fruit juice.
Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Since fruits contain a fair amount of natural fruit sugars, such as fructose, it is generally recommended to limit your intake to no more than four servings, or two 8-oz glasses, of fresh fruit juice per day. If you suffer from hypoglycemia, diabetes, candidiasis, or gout, it is probably best for you to eat fruit in its whole form, or drink fresh fruit juice with food, or dilute it with an equal amount of pure water. Eating whole fruit and drinking diluted juice decreases the rate at which sugar enters your bloodstream compared to drinking concentrated fruit drinks.

Although fructose and other sugars are much sweeter than sucrose (white sugar), they are handled by the body in a different manner. For example, in order to be utilized, fructose must be changed to glucose in the liver. As a result, blood sugar (glucose) levels do not rise as rapidly after fructose consumption as compared to other simple sugars. Sucrose, which is composed of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose, results in immediate elevations in blood sugar levels. While most diabetics cannot tolerate sucrose, most can tolerate moderate amounts of fruit and fructose without loss of blood sugar control. In fact, fruit is much better tolerated, as it has a lower glycemic index than white bread and other refined carbohydrates.
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Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Absolutely. Someone with diabetes can eat fruit but portion size and quantity is an important part of balancing their blood sugar levels. Fruit is a healthy food choice containing very little to no fat or sodium. Since fruit contains carbohydrate, people with diabetes will need to calculate the amount of carbohydrate into their meal plan. A typical fruit serving of ½ cup of juice, ¼ cup dried fruit, 1 medium piece of fresh fruit or ½ cup canned fruit packed in its own juice will provide about 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes, you can eat fruit if you are diagnosed with diabetes. If you are type 1 diabetic you will have to adjust your insulin to account for the carbohydrates (or sugar) in the fruit. There is about 15 grams of carbohydrate in a medium piece of fruit. If you are type 2 diabetic it is important for you to balance the fruit with a more protein rich food, such as yogurt, or a nut butter. This way your blood sugar will not rise as quickly after you eat.
Yes. Fruit is a healthy food. It contains fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals. Because fruits contain carbohydrates, they need to be included in your meal plan if you have diabetes. Talk to your dietitian about the amount, frequency, and types of fruits you should eat.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.