People with diabetes should always include fruit in a balanced diet, and there is no restriction on which fruits a person should eat.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends that people with diabetes include fruits in a balanced diet. However, some fruit products, such as juices and dried fruit, have a high sugar content. Avoiding these fruits can help reduce the risk of blood sugar spiking.

Many fruits are high in sugar but are also an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This nutritional content makes fruits a healthier option than candy and high sugar baked goods.

For example, essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in many fruits can help promote optimal health, while fiber supports blood sugar control and diabetes management.

Eating fruits and vegetables may put a person at lower risk of developing heart disease and cancer.

This article will explore which fruits a person with diabetes should eat and avoid and how they relate to diabetes.

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People should not exclude fruit from their diet. In fact, one 2017 study suggests that eating fruit can actually help prevent diabetes.

However, it is important to be aware of the full-picture nutritional content of fruits and plan diets accordingly.

Fruits high in sugar

Not all fruits are created equal, and some have a significantly higher sugar content than others. High sugar fruits include:

These fruits are still safe for a person with diabetes to eat, and there is no need to exclude them from the diet. However, it is important to be aware of their sugar content and plan accordingly.

It can be beneficial for people with diabetes to stick to a single serving of fruit at a time and pair fruit with a source of protein or fat.

For example, pairing berries with Greek yogurt or apple with almond butter or another nut butter can aid blood sugar management.

Fruits high in carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an important macronutrient and are essential to overall health. However, carbohydrate intake has a significant impact on blood sugar levels.

Fruits are rich sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber and should be present in every diet. However, people wishing to limit their carbohydrate intake should pay attention to their fruit portion sizes to ensure they do not exceed their carbohydrate goals.

If a person is following a low carb diet, they should identify which carbohydrates they eat that are low in nutrients or unhealthy in other ways and cut those out first.

FruitCarb content per 100 grams (g)
red grapes20.2 g
bananas20.1 g
Fuji apples15.6 g
mangos15 g
pineapples13.1 g

While these fruits are high in carbohydrate content, they are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Prioritizing fruits as a carbohydrate source can help form an integral part of a diabetes-friendly diet.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that drinking fruit juice during a meal or on its own quickly raises a person’s blood sugar levels.

Unlike eating fresh fruit, which contains fiber, fruit juice is a concentrated source of sugar that can quickly raise a person’s blood sugar.

A 2017 study found that consuming fresh fruit reduced a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The researchers also found that people with diabetes who ate fresh fruit regularly had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular conditions.

Learn more about carb counting with diabetes.

People can also include dried fruit in their diet, as long as it is not dried with added sugar.

For example, pairing dried fruits with nuts can also help in blood sugar management. Nuts are rich in fats, fiber, and protein. These three nutrients slow digestion and can help prevent blood sugar spikes.

In a 2017 study, researchers found a positive correlation between eating nuts and dried fruit and preventing type 2 diabetes.

Due to the removal of water in the drying process, dried fruits have a much higher sugar concentration by comparative volume with fresh fruits, meaning the suitable portion size is much smaller.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) confirms that eating dried fruit in moderation can be a good option for people with diabetes.

Popular dried fruits that may have high sugar content include:

The ADA suggests that people watch out for certain phrases on product labels. For example, they should opt for products with labels that say:

One way of replacing processed fruit in the diet is to freeze fresh fruits, such as banana slices. According to Diabetes UK, a person can mash this frozen fruit after a couple of hours to make healthy ice cream.

A person with diabetes should aim to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

According to Diabetes UK, the following amounts of fruit constitute one portion:

small fresh fruit: 2 or more fruits2 plums
2 satsumas
2 kiwi fruit
3 apricots
6 lychees
7 strawberries
14 cherries
medium-sized fresh fruit: 1 fruit1 apple
1 banana
1 pear
1 orange
1 nectarine
large fresh fruit: fewer than 1 fruithalf a grapefruit
one 5-centimeter (cm) slice of papaya
two 5-cm slices of mango
dried fruit: 30 g1 heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants, or sultanas
2 dried figs
1 handful of banana chips
canned fruit in natural juice: as with fresh fruit2 pear or peach halves
8 segments of grapefruit

Fruits are an essential part of a nutritious diet. They are high in fiber, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that promote overall health and support disease prevention.

People with diabetes can eat any and all fruits, provided they do so in moderation, including:

Fruit plays an important part in a person’s diet. Though fruits have a large amount of sugar, fresh fruit does not contain added sugars, which can significantly affect a person’s blood sugar.

Fruits also have a high amount of fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

Several studies have shown that consuming whole fruits can help lower the risk of developing diabetes.

Therefore, a person should look to cut other carbs from their diet and leave fruit as part of their normal dietary routine.

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