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Fruit in diabetes diet

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Fruit and diabetes diet

The best choices of fruit are any that are fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars (1).

UK guidance suggests (2) '..It is very unlikely that you need to reduce your fruit intake but you could keep a food diary to check how often and how much fruit you are eating.

Some people find that it is easy to overdo the dried fruit, grapes and tropical fruits. If you consider a serving of dried fruit is a tablespoon and packs in 20.8g carbs, 20.8g total sugar and 82 calories you can see how easily this happens. An apple on the other hand, which takes a while to eat, contains only 11.8g carbs, 11.8g sugar and 47 calories.

Be mindful of your serving sizes too - bananas in supermarkets now seem to be supersize with a large banana containing 27.8g carbs, 25.1g sugar and 114 calories. But, most people need to cut down on foods with added sugars rather than fruit - a large banana is still better for you than a a standard chocolate bar, which contains 27.9g carbohydrate, 27.8g sugars and a staggering 260 calories...'

Eating fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of developing many health conditions including high blood pressure, heart diseases, strokes, obesity and certain cancers (3)

  • even more important for people with diabetes to eat more fruits and vegetables as most of these conditions are more likely to affect them
  • fruits and vegetables have a good mix of soluble and insoluble fibre which is good for your bowels and general health - so it makes sense to eat more of them

Other fruits

  • choose canned fruits in juice or light syrup
  • dried fruit and 100% fruit juice are also nutritious choices, but the portion sizes are small so they may not be as filling as other choices

Carbohydrate counting

  • about 15 grams of carbohydrate (1)
    • a small piece of whole fruit or about 1/2 cup of frozen or canned fruit has about 15 grams of carbohydrate

    • servings for most fresh berries and melons are from 3/4 - 1 cup for 15 grams of carbohydrate

    • fruit juice can range from 1/3 -1/2 cup for 15 grams of carbohydrate

    • only 2 tablespoons of dried fruit like raisins or dried cherries contains 15 grams of carbohydrate so be cautious with your portion sizes

    • fruit can be eaten in exchange for other sources of carbohydrate in your meal plan such as starches, grains, or dairy

Using the Glycemic Index

  • most fruits have a low glycemic index (GI) because of their fructose and fiber content. Melons and pineapple have medium GI values as do some dried fruits such as dates, raisins, and sweetened cranberries

Having your 'five a day'

  • it is advised to aim for at least five portions a day to provide you with vitamins, minerals and fibre to help you to balance your overall diet
    • 5 A DAY fruit portions
      • Small-sized fresh fruit
        • one portion is two or more small fruit, for example two plums, two satsumas, two kiwi fruit, three apricots, six lychees, seven strawberries or 14 cherries
        • one portion of grapes is a handful (2)

      • Medium-sized fresh fruit
        • one portion is one piece of fruit, such as one apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine

      • Large fresh fruit
        • one portion is half a grapefruit, one slice of papaya, one slice of melon (5cm slice), one large slice of pineapple or two slices of mango (5cm slices)

      • Dried fruit
        • a portion of dried fruit is around 30g. This is about one heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas, one tablespoon of mixed fruit, two figs, three prunes or one handful of dried banana chips

      • Tinned fruit in natural juice
        • one portion is roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat for a fresh portion, such as two pear or peach halves, six apricot halves or eight segments of tinned grapefruit


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