Most diabetics are wary of eating fruits regularly, which is understandable since most fruits taste sweet. However, this is a misconception. All varieties of fruits can be a healthy part of a balanced diet, irrespective of the diabetes type.
Although fruits are higher in natural sugars than vegetables, they also offer essential dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and diabetes-friendly antioxidants.
Plus, it’s unlikely that the fruit in your diet is solely responsible for your high blood glucose levels. Therefore, look at other sources of sugar in your meal, such as cakes, biscuits, and sweets, before you cut down on fruits.
Fruits and Diabetes – The Connection
A study shows that greater consumption of whole fruits, particularly apples, blueberries, and grapes, significantly lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Having said that, a higher intake of fruit juice leads to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, eating whole fruits instead of fruit juices is healthier.
Coming to the sweet content, the sugar in whole fruits does not contribute to added sugars or empty calories. Interestingly, the risk of obesity, heart attacks, and stroke can actually decrease with diets rich in fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, fruits contain soluble fibre that lowers the speed at which sugar is absorbed by our bodies and regulates blood sugar levels.
Numerous fruits are high in fibre, especially when you consume their peel or pulp. Avoid syrups, canned and other processed fruits with added sugar and consume fruit in its whole, natural form to prevent a blood sugar increase.
While fructose, the natural sugar in fruit, has a lower glycaemic index than starch, overconsuming it is not advisable. Therefore, control the portions as per your calorie.
Studies suggest that the ideal range of fructose consumption is between 25-40 grams per day. Thus, not more than 2-3 servings of fruits daily are advisable for people with diabetes.
The Best and Worst Fruits for Diabetics
The glycemic index is a scale with numerical ratings. It provides a score for each food from 1 to 100. The score shows how rapidly the food may elevate blood sugar levels.
High-GI foods are absorbed by the body more quickly than medium- or low-GI foods. Therefore, your blood sugar is more likely to increase with higher GI fruits.
The glycemic index can help you predict how different fruits impact your blood sugar levels. Checking fruits’ scores on the glycemic index is one method for people with diabetes to choose safe and acceptable fruits.
A glycemic load is more valuable than a glycemic index for choosing healthy, diabetes-friendly fruits. It lets you know how much glucose a particular fruit can deliver per serving.
The lower the glycemic load of the fruit, the slower blood sugar rises after eating that fruit, and vice versa. A value of 10 or less defines low glycemic load, while between 11 to 19 is medium GL. If you have diabetes, avoid fruits with GL 20 or higher.
Fruits to Eat for Diabetic Patients
Suitable fruits for people with diabetes include:
- Green apples
They are abundant in fibre and antioxidants and low in glycemic index (GI:1-55)
Fruits to Avoid for Diabetic Patients
In general, there are no fruits that one should avoid altogether. But remember that portion control is vital for fruits with moderate to high GI and GL.
The following fruits contain a high amount of natural sugars, and you must eat them in moderation:
- Ripe banana
The glycemic index of these fruits ranges between 51-80.
The HealthifyMe Note
People with diabetes can have two to three servings of fruit a day. The GI and GL are essential tools to identify any fruit as best or worse for diabetes. However, consult your doctor or nutritionist when determining what and how many fruits are suitable for your blood sugar.
Dietary Advice from Our Nutritionist
- Oranges and lemons are examples of citrus fruits that benefit people with diabetes. They are rich in antioxidants, assisting in managing blood sugar levels.
- Fruits like avocados provide monounsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial for the body.
- People with diabetes should particularly avoid consuming canned fruit and fruit juices. These lack fibre and have a lot of added sugar or flavourings, which causes a spike in your blood sugar levels.
- You can enjoy dried fruits in moderate portion sizes. Choose dates, figs, and prunes because they are lower on the GI scale.
Fresh, whole fruits are a crucial component of a balanced diet since they contain essential nutrients. Therefore, a diabetes-friendly diet does not eliminate fruits. However, consume fruits in moderation.
The secret to excellent health is portion control and choosing fruits with low GI and GL. Moreover, regularly monitoring your blood glucose level will help you determine which fruits are the best for you.