What fruits should I eat if I have diabetes?

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Fruit contains carbohydrate, so you need to count it as part of your meal plan if you have diabetes. The best choices of fruit are any that are fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars.

General tips:

  • Choose canned fruits in juice or light syrup.
  • Dried fruit and fruit juice are also nutritious choices, but the portion sizes are small so they may not be as filling as other choices.

For carb counters:
A small piece of whole fruit or about 1/2 cup of frozen or canned fruit has about 15 grams of carbohydrate. Servings for most fresh berries and melons are from 3/4 to 1 cup. Fruit juice can range from 1/3 to 1/2 cup for 15 grams of carbohydrate. Only 2 tablespoons of dried fruit like raisins or dried cherries contains 15 grams of carbohydrate, so be cautious with your portion sizes! Fruit can be eaten in exchange for other carbohydrates in your meal plan such as starches, grains or dairy.

For the Plate Method:
If using the plate method, having a small piece of whole fruit or ½ cup of fruit salad for dessert is a great complement to the non-starchy vegetables, small portion of starch and protein foods that are on your plate.

For the Glycemic Index:
Most fruits have a low glycemic index because of their fructose and fiber content. Melons and pineapple have medium GI values, as do some dried fruits such as dates, raisins and sweetened cranberries. Overall, fruit is encouraged when using the glycemic index to guide food choices—so enjoy.

Juicy, crunchy, fresh, low-calorie fruit is always a smart choice for the health-conscious nibbler with diabetes. But your blood sugar will be best served if you opt for fruits that are high in fiber, like apples and pears. Thanks to the fiber, they'll fill you up without sending your blood sugar levels soaring.

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

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. All fruit can fit into a healthy meal plan; it is a matter of knowing the carbohydrate content of the specific fruit per portion.

Shannon Butler
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

The kind of fruit you choose to enjoy matters little in terms of blood glucose control. Rather, it is how much fruit you choose to enjoy. Each serving of fruit contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate. For example, a serving would be one small apple, 1/2 cup canned fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, or 4 ounces of fruit juice.

It is how you fit fruit into your daily meal plan that will provide the best control. As a general rule, you should get about 3 servings of carb (or 45 grams of carbohydrate) at each meal. This carb number may be more or less depending on your weight goals and drug regimen.

Fruit is a source of carbohydrate so it will affect your blood glucose; the trick is to eat it in moderation.

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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.