Fruits for people with diabetes

Don’t eat MANGO, as you are diabetic. Mango has high sugar content and it can be harmful. Many diabetic patients would have heard such statements. Can eating fruit cause any harm while you are diabetic? If yes, then which fruit should I eat and which fruits I should avoid? Read the article below to understand the best choices for fruits while diabetic.

Fruits and their dietary importance

Fruits are the best options available while you are hungry. The fruits are a rich source of carbohydrates, essential vitamins and minerals, and fibers needed for a healthy diet. Certain nutrients can only be found in fruits. Thus, fruits are essential to us to have a balanced and healthy diet.

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Why Eat Fruits

Fruits’ composition makes them necessary dietary substances.

  • The main composition of fruits is carbohydrates. Fruits contain natural sugar Fructose.
  • Fruits are a source of minerals and vitamins which are important for our body. For example, Citrus fruits are the source of Vitamin A and C, Banana is a source of Potassium and tryptophan while Apples provide Iron and essential minerals, etc. All these vitamins and minerals are needed in ensuring proper body metabolism.
  • Fruits are also a rich source of fibers. Fibers are essential for a bowel movement and in controlling cholesterol and sugar levels of the body. It helps in maintaining a healthy weight and thus essential for a healthy body.
  • Fruits contain certain compounds like phytochemicals and antioxidants. These compounds are found to reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, heart diseases, and stroke.

Summary:

Fruits contain Carbs, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fibres needed for healthy body functioning. Thus, fruits are an essential part of our dietary plate.

Fruits & Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition wherein the body fails to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The best way to manage Diabetes is to have a proper medicine plan, a proper diet plan, and a healthy lifestyle.

There is a myth related to fruits and diabetes. The myth is to avoid fruits while you are diabetic. But numerous health researchers recommend that fruits are essential for a healthy lifestyle. They thus recommend a rich fruit diet to diabetic patients.

Fruit Composition

A type-2 diabetes risk significantly reduces through high fruit intake. Let us examine fruits and their impact on diabetes.

  • Carbs of Fruits: Fruit’s main composition is carbs and fructose which raises blood sugar levels. They are the direct source of glucose and thus increase blood sugar levels. Thus, if you are diabetic you need to ensure proper carbs count before eating any fruit.
  • Fibres of Fruits:
    • Fiber present in fruits helps in managing diabetes. A high soluble fibre diet slows the glucose absorption from blood and thus helps in controlling blood sugar levels.
    • Fibre helps in promoting the feeling of fullness and reduces hunger. This in turn helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity is one factor that leads to type-2 diabetes. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight through a rich high soluble fibre diet can reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • Fibre helps in promoting the feeling of fullness and reduces hunger. This in turn helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity is one factor that leads to type-2 diabetes. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight through a rich high soluble fibre diet can reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • Processed fruits & Juices: Processed or canned fruits and fruit juices lack fibres. They also have high sugar content. These fruits when consumed lead to an increase in blood sugar levels. Thus, avoid processed fruits & juices, if you are diabetic.

Summary:

Avoid or limit the usage of fruits rich in carbs, processed fruits, canned fruits & juices, if you are diabetic. Fruits rich in fibres and vitamins and minerals are good for diabetic patients.

Glycemic index of fruits

If you are diabetic the safest way of selecting good fruit is through the help of glycemic Index (GI) or glycemic load (GL).

Glycemic Index is the ranking of food products on a scale of 1 to 100. The ranks are based on the way these food products raise blood sugar levels. Fruits with a high glycemic index are absorbed in faster rates when compared with medium or low glycemic fruits.

Thus, low glycemic index fruits (GI value less than 50) are good for diabetic patients. Example: Apple GI value 36, Banana GI value 52.Glycemic load (GL) on the other hand is the total glycemic index and the carbohydrates consumed in one serving. It is the best way of assessing the food impact on blood sugar levels.

Low Glycemic load (GL) (values less than or equal to 10) fruits are good for diabetic patients. Example: Apples GL value 6, Banana GL value 10.

It can thus be stated that “Low GI and Low GL fruits are best for diabetic patients”.

Summary:

Fruits with low GI value and Low GL value are good for diabetic patients.

Fruits to eat with diabetes

Based on the glycemic index and glycemic load combination, the following fruits are good for diabetic patients.

  1. Apple: They are rich in vitamin C and fibre. It has 77 calories and 21 g of carbs. Apple skin contains polyphenols compounds. These compounds trigger pancreases to produce insulin. These compounds help in decreasing insulin resistance and thereby helping in reducing blood sugar levels. The outer skin of apples also has antioxidant properties. Thus, apples are good in reducing the risks of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
  2. Banana: A medium-sized banana has 3 g of fibre, 29 g of carbs, and 112 calories. These are also rich in potassium and vitamin C. Banana contains all the vital nutrients. It is therefore the best option for a balanced diet. But browner bananas as they are ripe tend to have more sugar content and thus can increase sugar levels. Thus, for diabetic patients, it is better to have a small to the medium-sized banana.
  3. Strawberries: The GI value for strawberries is 25 and GL value is 3, which makes it a perfect choice for diabetic patients. Strawberries help in regulating blood sugar levels due to slower absorption rates. Strawberries have 11 g of carbs and 2g of fibers. Rich Vitamin C helps in improving immunity, increases body metabolism, and helps in reducing body weight. It also reduces ad cholesterol level and thus reduces risks of cardiovascular diseases.
  4. Peaches: Peach is a diabetes-friendly fruit that contains metabolism-boosting potassium, vitamin A and C as well as fiber. One large peach has 70 calories and 3 g of fiber. The GI value is 42 and the GL value is 5 making it perfect for diabetic patients. These enhance body metabolism, blood circulation and thus reduce the risk of heart diseases.
  5. Citrus fruits: These are fruits that are rich in Vitamin C, folate, potassium, and vitamin K. Example: Grapes, Lemon, Oranges, Kiwi. Citrus fruit Vitamin C helps in reducing blood glucose levels.1000 mg of daily vitamin C intake reduces blood glucose levels in type-2 diabetes patients. It is also a powerful antioxidant and thus helps in healing the cells damaged by free radicals. Such healing is necessary to reduce the risk and complications of type-2 diabetes.
  6. Black plums: Jamun is a miracle fruit for diabetes as it has a low glycemic index and is rich in soluble fibers. It also helps to cure diabetic symptoms like excess urination and thirst as well as improve insulin sensitivity. One black plum has 30 calories.
  7. Pomegranates: These are generally rich in sugar content but are a high source of antioxidants. These thus help in reducing oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation a vital process for increasing insulin sensitivity and thus helping in controlling type-2 diabetes. Pomegranates reduce fasting blood glucose levels at a higher rate. These also help in regulating blood flow and protect from free-radical thus reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases, especially in type-2 diabetic patients.
  8. Guava: Guava is a highly nutritious fruit as it has high amounts of lycopene, dietary fiber, and rich in vitamin C, A, and potassium. It helps in maintaining good bowel movements. It is the best choice when it comes to weight management. The fruit as well as its leaves have low GI and GL values and thus helps to control blood sugar levels. One guava has 38 calories.
  9. Cherries: Cherries have the lowest glycemic index and don’t cause spikes in blood glucose levels. It also contains chemicals called anthocyanins that boost insulin production. 100 g of cherries has 50 calories.
  10. Pear: Pear is a wonderful addition to your diabetes diet plan as it is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin K. It has a low GI index and thus decreases the rate of absorption of glucose. Pears have 7g of fibre which is 20% of the fibre need of a day. Anthocyanins present in pears are good for reducing blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetic patients. Potassium and antioxidants present in pears make them best for maintaining good bowel conditions.

Fruits to limit with diabetes

Fruits to limit when you are diabetic are:

  • Avoid fruits with High glycemic index values. But if you are willing to eat such fruits then a balanced diet is the best option.
    For example, Pineapple, Pumpkin, and watermelon are high glycemic fruits that can be consumed by diabetic patients only with balanced options i.e in little quantity and with care.
  • Fruit Juices: Avoid fruit juices as they tend to raise blood sugar levels instantly.
  • Dried fruits: These are rich in GI value and GL values. Thus, avoid them as they contain more sugar than fresh fruits. If you want to consume them then use only very little portions of them.
  • Cooked Fruits: Do not eat cooked fruits.
  • Fruits flavors: Flavored fruit products should be avoided as they are rich in sugar content. Example: Jam, fruit yogurt, candy, etc.
  • Applesauce & processed fruits: Don’t eat applesauce and processed fruits as they are rich in sugar content and can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels.

Summary:

Avoid Fruits with high GI value and high GL value, dried fruits. If consumed then they must be consumed with moderation.

Best ways to eat fruits while diabetic

Everyone has different needs for carbs. Consult the dietitian for a good fruit diet plan. Generally, diabetic patients should eat 2 to 4 servings of fruits each day. A single-serve is nearly 150 g of the fruit.

The 1 serving of fruit portion shall give 15g of carbs. 1 serving for each fruit is as follows:

  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 3/ 4 cup of black plums
  • 1 medium-sized orange
  • 1 small piece of apple, peach, or pear
  • 1/2 medium-sized banana.
  • 2 small kiwis
  • 1 cup of watermelon
  • 18 small cherries or grapes
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins
  • Yes, 1/3 portion of a medium-sized mango

Plan well before you consume the fruit of your choice.

A final thought:
Fruits are a rich source of nutrients essential for our body metabolism and boosting our health. The choices of fruits shall vary from one diabetic person to another. It is advised to consult a dietician and have blood sugar checked up before consuming the perfect fruit in your diet plan.

Remember:

  • Consume only Low GI and Low GL fruits.
  • Take High GI fruits and dried fruits in very less quantity with care.
  • Avoid processed and canned fruits, cooked fruits, and juices. 
  • Get regular blood sugar levels checked up.

FAQ’s:

What is fruit sugar and why it is bad for diabetic persons?

Fruits contain natural sugar Fructose. This is decomposed to glucose and released into the bloodstream. It is not bad. It is good for our body. Only excessive fructose levels can harm you if you are diabetic.

Which fruits should I eat when I am diabetic and have heart-related problems?

Fruits rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fibers. For example Peaches, Apples and Avocados.

Can I eat Mango if I am diabetic?

Eating any fruit within your recommended calorie intake will not cause any problem if you are diabetic. Mangoes have a GI value of 51 and thus have no drastic effect on blood sugar levels. But generally sweet and rich in calories can affect your blood sugar levels. Thus, it is recommended to 1 to 2 slices of small to medium-sized mango per day.

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