Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
It’s pretty easy to guess that fruit is a carbohydrate food – the sweetness gives it away. But you may be surprised to find that some fruits offer a very generous portion size for only 15 grams of carb. Also, some don’t. It’s important for us to know which is which.
Table of contents
Fruits – The Last Topic in This Series
This video is the last in my series on Diabetes and Carbohydrates. Make sure to watch each of the videos so you get the whole picture about carbohydrate-containing foods.
I’d have to say, the group of carbs we are going to talk about today, maybe one the most asked about a group of foods and those are “fruits.” And, by the way, one of my favorite groups. In fact, we’re trying our hand at growing oranges, bananas, and a local favorite loquat. So far we’re thankful for grocery stores and farmers’ markets, but time will tell.
Reviewing the Portions
I’ve done a couple of other videos on specific fruits, so make sure to check out those videos as well.
Today we are going to review the fruit group on diabetes terms. A portion of the fruit contains 15 grams of carb. That’s the easy part. The tougher part is knowing the portion of the fruit that is equal to 15 grams of carbs. We’ve talked about the “15 grams of carbohydrate” portion with every group of carbohydrate foods, but I think it’s fair to say the fruit group has the biggest variation of all from one food to the next. But no worries, stay with me here and I will review that information for you.
Side Note – Can I Eat Fruit?
Let me answer the question that I get asked numerous times… can I eat fruit? Can I eat fruit if I have diabetes? I thought fruit was “sugar”? Isn’t there too much sugar in fruit?
Ok, here’s the bottom line about eating fruit and managing blood sugar. Yes, fruit has natural sugar which we as people with diabetes look at in grams of total carbohydrate. But fruit has some huge “high fives” for the abundance of vitamins, minerals, and fiber content. Dietitians recommend having a variety of fruit so that you get a variety of those vitamins and minerals. And YES, if you have diabetes, you can eat fruit. YOU SHOULD EAT FRUIT.
Let’s review the portions. These portions are equal to 15 grams are carbohydrates. Ok, here we go…
- A small (4ounce) Apple….about the size of a baseball
- For bananas, I measure with my index finger to get close to the correct size which is an extra small banana (4 ounces). Most bananas in your store are larger than the portion for 15 grams of carb.
- Grapes – ok for grapes, the best method is to count them out before you start eating them off the stem. 17 grapes is the serving size.
- During the summer months, we have a selection of Melons, and the serving size is 1 cup cubed honeydew or cantaloupe and 1 ¼ cups cubed watermelon. Watch my video on melon.
- For berries, the serving is ¾ cup Blueberries or 1 and ¼ cup whole strawberries.
- I’m glad I’m filming this video during the season of these golden Kiwis. If you haven’t tried them, they are slightly milder than the green kiwi. Both are delicious but it is always nice to add more variety to your selection of fruits. 1 kiwi is a portion and I like cutting it in half and scooping out the fruit.
- We are big fans of Mango at our house. The serving is ½ of a small mango or ½ cup.
- We are getting into Pear season and the serving size is ½ cup canned or for fresh pear, the portion is ½ cup, 4 ounces or half of this pear.
- You can eat 2 mandarins or 1 small orange for a serving.
- Fresh pineapple has a larger serving of ¾ cup than having canned pineapple which is ½ cup. If you haven’t tried it yet, warm up your indoor countertop grill or outdoor grill, slice pineapple and place it on the grill, turn the sliced pineapple to char both sides on the pineapple. This is so delicious that we serve it as dessert!
- When Georgia and South Carolina peaches are in season we grill them too with a little cardamom and cinnamon….portion size for fresh peaches, 1 medium peach.
- Finally, to emphasize the variation in portion size….remember strawberries and watermelon are 1 ¼ cup….only 2 tablespoons of raisins have 15 grams of carbohydrate, same for dried cranberries, and 2 prunes is a portion. Always check the nutrition label….dried fruits are concentrated.
I know, you are probably wondering if there is the best fruit to eat and the answer is no…..or yes…all of them. Fruits give us a variety of vitamins, essential nutrients, and fiber (including soluble fiber). But fruits are especially notable for antioxidants….polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins…..names aren’t important, but reducing inflammation is. Eating a wide variety of fruit gives you a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants, and there are dozens of more varieties than I’ve mentioned.
Rule of Thumb
Like all carbohydrate foods, managing diabetes is all in the portion you eat best combined with eating your meal. One more good rule of thumb is if you see your blood sugar spike after eating the correct serving, eat your serving of fruit with nuts to help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates.
Until next time, cheers to your health.
Don’t forget to take a look at our most frequently asked questions.
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