Can People With Diabetes Eat Fruit? If you have diabetes you may wonder if it is OK to eat fruit. Fruit is packed with vitamins and fiber and antioxidants that help promote good health. And fruit also adds carbohydrates to your diet which impact diabetes management. Yes- eat fruit. But understand portion size.
Take a look at our first video in this series.
Can People With Diabetes Eat Fruit? Part 1
Part 1 Transcript
Welcome back to Diabetes Everyday and today we are going to be talking about fruit because I keep getting this question asked day in, day out, from when I’m doing coaching sessions with people with diabetes. And so I figured that this is a really good time, perfect time because it’s summertime and there are so many seasonal fruits available right now that this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about fruit.
So, one of the key messages that I want to explain is that it’s not so much about the sugar, because I hear that a lot, “There’s too much sugar in fruit.” We are looking at actually total carbohydrates. When you’re looking at food labels, whether it’s for a canned fruit or frozen fruit or dried fruit or any packaging, we’re looking at total grams of carbohydrates, so that’s the line that you’re looking at. With fruit, yes, it does contain sugar. It’s a complex carbohydrate, so it’s not necessarily that it’s going to go into your bloodstream and raise your blood sugar immediately.
Portion Size Matters
Portion size is the second message of is what’s really important. What I’m going to show you today are all equal to a 15-gram carbohydrate portion size and that’s what we go by when we’re teaching about carbohydrate counting, it’s easy on the math to do in 15-gram increments. You’ll see that often in any of the diabetes nutrition information, 15-gram carbohydrate portion sizes. To make it less confusing, I am going to tell you for all of these fruits what a 15-gram carbohydrate portion size is. What we’re going to look at is the serving size, the portion that you can have for 15 grams, one carb choice, or 15 grams. So let’s get started.
First I’m going to start with, probably the easiest to remember is that the whole fruit, and I have it kind of grouped here. It’s one small apple or one small orange or a kiwi. The whole fruit is equal to 15 grams of carb. For the peach, it’s a medium-sized peach. A small apple, small orange, a kiwi, or a medium peach. That’s all for a 15-gram portion size. Each of those servings that I mentioned.
With the banana, the literature says a small banana, but I know for measurement, I usually use my pointer finger to measure it’s about this amount of the banana for the 15-gram portion size. When we go into the melons, the portion sizes are also available. One and one-quarter cup cubed watermelon is a 15-gram portion. For the strawberries, one and one-quarter cup of whole strawberries is a portion. For blueberries, a three-quarters cup is a portion of that 15 grams of carbohydrate. For cherries, that’s individual numbers, 12 cherries, 12 whole cherries. For grapes, 17 whole grapes.
The Type of Fruit Matters
Another message to you too is it depends on the type of fruit it is. These were all fresh, whole fruits, but when you go into dried fruit, the portion size, you see, gets a little bit smaller. Two tablespoons for any of the dry fruits. You see the whole grapes versus the raisins here. It all depends on which portion you’re in the mood for, and which of these you may want to be choosing. They’re all equivalent to what you’re seeing here.
I’ve been talking about fresh fruits for the most part here and I also wanted to mention canned or frozen fruits. One of the benefits that you have from canned or frozen is that you have a nutrition facts label there so that you can see as a reminder what the serving size is and in this one is a half a cup for this no added sugar peaches. Half a cup is only nine grams of carbohydrate, so that’s about half so we could have a full cup for the 15-gram portion. Check your food labels, in general, canned fruits and frozen fruit, a half a cup is generally the serving size. Go with the light or the no sugar added instead of the fruits that have any syrup in it and check the food label.
I want to make sure, to emphasize rather, eat fruit. Fruit is so important. It provides so many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, lots of benefits from fruit. I don’t want you to be avoiding it, thinking that there’s too much sugar. Remember, we’re looking at total grams of carb and you can have fruits, have them with your meal, I don’t know, I want to say don’t leave home without them. All right. So can people with diabetes eat fruit? Yes with the tips outlined above. Make sure that you’re including fruits in your daily meal plan.
Can People With Diabetes Eat Fruit? Part 2
Part 2 Transcript
Hi Everyone, I’m Toby Smithson, Welcome back to Diabetes Every Day, and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. Please remember to hit the subscribe button and comment below on your thoughts or requests for diabetes topics for future videos. Today I’m going to broaden the discussion of a food group that contains carbohydrates, the fruit group.
I’ve spoken in the past about some specific fruits like oranges and melons and have a video titled …Diabetes and Fruits…Yes! but I continue to get asked the question about fruit in general. Can I eat fruit if I have diabetes? As I mentioned previously, Fruit provides a lot of important vitamins and minerals which makes it a very good for you food.
But we also know that fruit contains carbohydrate. So, in today’s video, I’m going to give you three tips on how you CAN include fruit into your daily eating plan while managing your blood sugar levels.
Fruit Portion Size Matters
Portion size matters is my first tip. I do not recommend that you eat directly out of the bag when you are eating grapes or cherries for instance. You’ve heard me reference this before and it’s true. The portion that you eat will make a difference on your blood sugar readings. There are lists available of what counts as a serving for people with diabetes and I gave you a rundown on portions of fruits in my other video.
We like to portion food out into 15 grams of carbohydrate serving sizes. For example, 17 grapes is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrate, while only 2 Tablespoons of raisins – which are of course dried grapes – are equivalent to 15 grams of carbohydrate. See how much difference knowing portion size makes
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Add A Protein or Fat Along With Your Fruit
Eat fruit with a meal or if you want to have fruit as a snack, combine it with a protein or fat like having a peach with almonds or watermelon with a side of cheese. By adding protein or fat, you will help blunt a possible spike in blood sugar from the carbohydrate in the fruit.
Whole Fruits Over Processed Fruits
Choose whole fruits versus more processed fruits like applesauce and fruit juices. The whole fruits contain more fiber and fiber is a good thing for people with diabetes. Higher fiber foods are more filling and help blunt spikes in blood sugar. We will talk more about fiber in another video.
So in summary here are my three tips when it comes to eating fruit if you have diabetes.
- Fruit portion size matters.
- Combine your fruit with a protein or fat.
- Choose whole fruits versus more processed fruits like applesauce and fruit juices.
So can people with diabetes eat fruit? Yes with the tips outlined above. Please share some of your favorite fruit pairings in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. Until next time, cheers to your health.