Parikh NutritionBlog

Practical, simple, and evidence-based nutrition and diabetes information.

Can you eat fruit with diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you may have heard you should NOT eat fruit?

It is actually okay to eat fruit when you have diabetes. All fruit. Fruit is packed with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants that support optimal health.

When it comes to fruit; however, portions (and size) matter. Our fruit has grown in size over the years, which can impact what we think is small, medium, or large. Also, certain fruits may affect blood sugar levels more than others. It’s important to learn which fruits are going to have the most impact for you.

Fruit has carbohydrates and carbohydrates impact blood sugars. So, it is important to watch the portion sizes of fruit. If you don’t watch the portion sizes, the carbs can add up quick and you may find it really spikes your blood sugars.

The reason fruit can spike blood sugars so much is because it contains a type of sugar called fructose. When fructose is broken down, it can bypass an enzyme that tells the cells enough sugar has been consumed. Skipping past this step is the danger because you may consume more of the fructose containing food than normal. This is another reason to watch the amount and frequency of fruit consumption. If you have whole fruits high in fiber, this is less of an issue.

The amount of fruit tolerated can vary from person to person. For many people limiting fruit to 1 serving at time can often be helpful for blood sugar control.

The following fruit servings contain about 15 grams of carbohydrates:

  • 1/2 medium apple or banana
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 1/4 cup whole strawberries
  • 1 cup cubed cantaloupe or honeydew melon

Tips for eating fruit:

  1. Choose high fiber fruit like strawberries, blueberries and apples.
  2. Have fresh, whole foods as they have the most fiber compared to when they are cooked.
  3. Eat fruit with protein and/or health fat to keep blood sugars balanced.
  4. Be mindful of the portion sizes. The carbohydrates in fruit can add up quick.
    – Choose the smallest fruit when you grocery shop.
    – Measure your fruit If you are you are unsure. I suggest cutting up the fruit and measuring using a measuring cup. A kitchen scale is also a great tool for being more precise.
  5. Enjoy it!

Sources:
Rizkalla SW. Health implications of fructose consumption: A review of recent data. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010;7:82. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-82

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