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

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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.