Can people with type 2 diabetes eat as much fruit as they want?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics
Someone with diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, can eat fruit but portion size and quantity is an important part of balancing 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. Someone with diabetes cannot eat all the fruit they want unless they calculate the carbohydrate from fruit into their meal plan. It is best to have a balanced diet from all food groups to achieve the best nutrition from foods.
People with type 2 diabetes cannot eat as much fruit as they may want, even though fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The problem is that it contains carbohydrates that break down into glucose (sugar) when digested. Insulin is needed to allow the glucose to be used by the body’s cells. People with type 2 diabetes either have cells resistant to the effects of insulin or they simply don’t make enough of it.

That’s why part of managing type 2 diabetes is watching what you eat and limiting the number of carbohydrates you consume. Depending on your size, activity level and the need to lose weight, you can have two to four servings of fruit a day. Choose fresh fruit, or frozen or canned fruit without added sugar. Talk to your dietitian or diabetes educator about what your meal plan should include.

 Remember that one serving size of fruit equals:
  • a small piece of whole fruit, like an apple or orange
  • 1/2 cup of frozen or canned fruit (canned in juice or light syrup)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of berries or melon
  • 2 tablespoons of dried fruit like raisins or dried cherries
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of juice
Deborah Davis
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Fruit is a healthy food.  It contains fiber and lot of vitamins and minerals.  However, because fruits also contain carbohydrates, they need to be included in your meal plan.  Talk to you dietitian about the amout, frequency and types of fruit you should eat.
The short answer to this question is no. However, that does not mean that people with type 2 diabetes should avoid fruit - just that fruit, as with other carbohydrates, should be eaten in moderation.

All healthy diets, including diets for people with diabetes, should include whole fruit since fruits are great sources of many essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that provide a lot of health benefits.

Fruit May Help Keep Weight Gain At Bay

In fact, eating fruit may actually help stop weight gain. A 2004 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who reported eating less fat, fewer fatty foods, and more fruit gained less weight and had lower body fat.

We are born with a predisposition to the taste of sugar. Although eliminating (or limiting) processed sweets such as doughnuts, cakes, and candy is a great idea, trying to eliminate all sweet foods from your diet may backfire. When you get the urge for something sweet, whole fruit is an excellent choice.

Monitor Your Blood Glucose to Determine What is Right For You

As to how fruit might affect blood glucose levels, that's different for each person, since the type of fruit, what else was eaten along with the fruit, and the amount consumed, and other unique factors all play a part.

For example, it might take two plums to increase the blood glucose levels significantly for one person, but for another person, the same increase might happen after just eating one. Additionally, eating fruit with protein and/or fat at the same meal helps to protect you from a rapid rise in blood glucose by slowing absorption.

Berries and citrus fruits (in particular grapefruit) should be high on your favored fruit list. Berries are generally a good source of fiber and have a high antioxidant and nutritional profile. Studies show half a grapefruit per day may help with weight loss.

Keep Dried Fruit and Fruit Juice to a Minimum

A note of caution regarding dried fruits and fruit juices: go for the whole, fresh fruit whenever possible. In the case of dried fruits, the concentration of sugar is too high. With fruit juices, too much of the whole food fiber and related nutrients have been removed, which concentrates the sugars.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

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.