What are the best and worst fruits to eat when you have diabetes?

Published 23 Sep 2021 • By Claudia Lima

For a person with diabetes, daily management must take into account all aspects of daily life, including food. And because blood sugar must be checked several times a day, monitoring what you eat is essential. For a long time, fruit was one of the foods to avoid.

Today, which fruits should you avoid if you have diabetes, and which are good to eat? What is the glycaemic index and what role does it play?

Read our article to find out more!

What are the best and worst fruits to eat when you have diabetes?

What is diabetes? How is it managed?

Diabetes is a chronic, autoimmune disease. It is a malfunction of the blood sugar regulation mechanisms, known as glucose or blood sugar levels. When it is too high, it is called hyperglycaemia.  

Two hormones are essential for regulating blood sugar levels and are produced by the pancreas: Insulin allows glucose to penetrate the cells and therefore reduces the level in the blood, while glucagon releases the glucose stored in the liver and increases its levels in the blood to compensate for hypoglycaemia.  

There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2

Type 1 diabetes, or T1D, results from the destruction of the insulin-generating cells of the pancreas, known as a total insulin deficiency. 

Type 2 diabetes, or T2D, results from insufficient insulin produced by the body and progressive resistance to it by the cells of the liver and muscles. 

Treatment differs according to the type of diabetes, with insulin injections for T1D and diet and lifestyle changes for T2D. Sometimes, drug treatment is also necessary. 

The means of controlling this disease is the monitoring of blood sugar spikes. The challenge is to maintain balanced blood sugar levels. However, the main source of sugars is food. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels are directly related to what we eat.

The diabetes diet: Is fruit recommended or not?

Our diet is responsible for maintaining the body's energy levels so that it can function properly. For everyone, and even more so for diabetics, it must be constantly monitored. 

For many years, strict diets were imposed on diabetics with a number of restrictions on the type of food, and many foods were strictly forbidden or to be avoided, such as fruit. 

Fortunately, today, medical research has progressed our knowledge and has opened up the field of possibilities thanks to the concept of the glycaemic index.  

The glycaemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises or lowers blood sugar levels. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, with a low GI being close to 0 and a high GI being close to 100. 

Of course, there is no miracle food or fruit that will stabilise blood sugar levels. However, this classification has revealed that a balanced consumption of fruit could erase all preconceived ideas about the problems of fruit for diabetics.  

There are therefore no fruits to be avoided for diabetics. Fruit is part of a balanced diet; some fruits are sweeter than others in terms of taste, but this does not mean that their glycaemic index is high.  

Fruits are rich in natural sugars but also in fibre, which also help to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.  

A type 1 diabetic can afford to monitor his or her fruit consumption less and will only need to correct the imbalance through insulin dosage. A type 2 diabetic can eat whatever fruits he or she wants, but with moderation.  

>> To learn more about the low glycaemic diet for diabetes, read our article here <<

Which fruits should you eat if you have diabetes?

All... in moderation! Indeed, because of their GI, all fruits can be eaten at different times and in different quantities. 

By eating 2 to 3 fruits a day, a person with diabetes will meet part of their nutritional needs. In addition, fruit can help type 2 diabetics control their weight. 

Here are a few examples of low-GI fruits (sugar content per 100g): 

  • editor_meta_bo_img_72eb18537c702794cb5c9142f6ac016c.png Apricots = 9 
  • editor_meta_bo_img_13d1789dc7c55a71ee162c0751d890b3.png Clementines = 11 
  • editor_meta_bo_img_e25a5de48396a9376f94063a1b002a75.png Strawberries = 4 
  • editor_meta_bo_img_64bc81c71ebf924e55f12bc57c41244d.png Apples = 11 

And here are a few examples of fruit to be eaten in small quantities:  

  • editor_meta_bo_img_33cb8d7434a820fac22041583875feaf.png Bananas = 20.5 
  • editor_meta_bo_img_1d0fb716d32cf0ed30275353784dd6a6.png Grapes = 15 
  • editor_meta_bo_img_a534b72b00d476532ba3456765e2e04d.png Figs= 13.4 

Nutritionists recommend spacing out your fruit consumption throughout your meal, taking into account their glycaemic index. For example, a melon has a high GI and should be eaten as a dessert so that the sugars it contains are mixed in with the meal and have less impact on blood sugar levels. Others recommend eating fruit one hour before a meal. If you are on medication, it may not be advisable to eat fruit as a snack.  

It is important to learn how to measure your fruit intake and to avoid blood sugar spikes. Moreover, whatever diet you choose, it is all a question of "dosage", nothing is forbidden.  

In any case, it is advisable to seek advice from your doctor, he or she will be able to give you recommendations specific to you and your diabetes

People with diabetes will have to monitor their diet throughout their lives. Fortunately, nowadays there are many diabetes-friendly recipes available that give you the choice to eat "normally". 

Diet is a key factor in preventing and curbing the progression of diabetes. However, doctors also recommend: regular physical activity, weight control, diet monitoring, blood pressure control, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol consumption. 

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Take care!


1 comment

on 24/09/2021

This article makes no mention of two of my favourite fruits, cherries and raspberries, where are they on the scale please?  I have been a type 1 diabetic for 56 years.  Please let me know if it is safe to eat these two fruits when they are in season.

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