Whole fruit is good for everyone, and for people managing diabetes, it’s no different. Fruit is part of a healthy diet and is an important source of fiber and vitamin C. The department of health advises at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day, and the American Diabetes Association recommends fruit as a good dessert option, with an emphasis on low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables. Research also shows that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
When incorporating fruits into your meal plan, remember that it’s the amount of carbohydrates in the food that affects the blood glucose, rather than the source of the carbs. The challenge is finding fruits that have the right amount of carbohydrate, and of course taste, that fit into your total meal plan allowance. And, remember that a serving of fruit includes fruit juice which has a lot of concentrated sugar and can cause blood sugar spikes. Generally, it’s better to eat the fruit rather than drink it because that gives you more fiber and satisfaction as far making you feel full.
Some fruits are higher in sugar than others; bananas, for example have a higher carbohydrate content compared to other fruits such as apples. Sugary fruits tend to raise blood sugars quickly causing “spikes” which is why we recommend eating the whole fruit rather than drinking the juice and eating the fruit with other foods such as whole grains or nuts (protein) to blunt the glycemic effect. Adding fruits to salads, for example may help you to cut down on the salad dressing.
Tracking the carbs in fruits or vegetables is an essential part of staying on track to a healthy life. At Dario, we have simplified the way you can keep track of your carb intake to successfully manage your diabetes. Using the Dario mobile app, you can easily spot patterns and trends between the fruit you eat and drink, and your blood glucose levels.
The best choices of fruit are any that are fresh, frozen, or canned without added sugar. Dried fruit are also nutritious, but contain higher carbs, so the portion sizes are much smaller. It is also interesting to note that in general, the riper the fruit, the more concentrated sugars they contain. You may have noticed the sweetness when eating an overly ripe banana, for example.
Some fruits have higher than average fat content and should be eaten more sparingly than others. One single avocado, for example, has about 12 – grams of carbohydrate and 20 grams of fat! Coconut is also quite high in fat with 1 cup of shredded coconut yielding 25 grams of fat and 285 calories.
Throughout the year, it’s easy to find a variety of seasonal fruits to satisfy our cravings. And mixing fruits of different types keeps your diet interesting and healthy. Experiment and share your recipes with us as we are all on this journey together. The old saying “An apple a day” is right. Try and keep your total fruit of any kind to no more than two portions a day.
Keep in mind that a registered dietician is one person you should try to meet with on a regular basis.
The articles provided on this website are for informational purposes only. In addition, it is written for a generic audience and not a specific case; therefore, this information should not be used for diagnostic or medical treatment. This site does not attempt to replace the patient-physician relationship and fully recommends the reader to seek out the best care from his/her physician and/or diabetes educator.
- Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2019, American Diabetes Association.
- Crowe, F. L., Roddam, A. W., Key, T. J., Appleby, P. N., Overvad, K.Jakobsen, M. U. (2011). Fruit and vegetable intake and mortality from ischaemic heart disease: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Heart study. European Heart Journal, 32(10), 1235–1243. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehq465
- “Blood Sugar Solution’ by Mark Hyman MD.