At some point, you may have heard that you cannot eat fruit if you have diabetes. Or. maybe someone told you that you can eat fruit, just not extra-sweet ones like grapes or watermelon.
Neither of these statements is entirely true. You can enjoy fruit if you have diabetes, but you simply need to make strategic decisions about which fruits to eat and how much.
This article explains the ways that fruit can impact diabetes, both positively and negatively, as well as which fruits to favor or limit—and why.
Pros and Cons of Eating Fruit if You Have Diabetes
Fruits have many health benefits, some of which are helpful to people living with diabetes. But, there are also potential risks to eating fruit, particularly in your blood sugar is not controlled.
There are many "pros" to eating fruit if you have diabetes. Some are nutritionally dense and others contain compounds that help reduce inflammation and damage caused by free radicals.
Among the benefits of adding fruit to a diabetes-friendly diet are:
- Fiber: Dietary fiber is the portion of plant-based foods that cannot be completely broken down by digestive enzymes. Fiber is beneficial in helping prevent blood sugar spikes, reducing blood cholesterol, and increasing satiety (the feeling of fullness) to help control appetite.
- Vitamins and minerals: Potassium in fruits like bananas, citrus, melons, and, apricots can help reduceblood pressure. Vitamin C and folic acid in citrus fruits help promote wound healing increase brain function and boost immunity.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as anthocyanins found in berries, cherries, and red grapes can help thwart cell damage and may potentially slow the progression of certain chronic diseases, including heart disease. Other antioxidant-rich foods include peaches, figs, pears, guava, oranges, apricots, mango, cantaloupe, and papaya,
When choosing fruit, you'll want to think about portion size, convenience, cost, and flavor. But it is also important to consider the health benefits as well.
On the flip side, there are potential risks to eating fruit if you have diabetes. In most cases, the benefits will outweigh the risks as long as you maintain portion control and avoid overconsumption.
Even so, be aware of the following "cons" if you have diabetes:
- Fructose: Fruit contains carbohydrates. Carbohydrates—whether from bread, milk, yogurt, potatoes,or fruit—get broken down during digestion and turn into sugar (glucose). The main type of carbohydrate in fruit is a natural sugarcalled fructose. Eating too much fructose can have the same effect as eating too much table sugar.
- Excess potassium: If you are on a potassium-restricted diet for diabetic nephropathy (diabetes-related kidney disease), you may need to restrict your intake of citrus fruits, bananas, apricots, and certain melons. These fruits are loaded with potassium.
- Interactions: Citrus fruit like grapefruit and Seville oranges can interact with drugs like statins, steroids, and certain blood pressure medications, making them less effective.
For these reasons, people with diabetes need to monitorhow many carbs they eat and advise their healthcare provider about any drugs they take to avoid interactions.
Click Play to Learn About Low Glycemic Fruit
This video has been medically reviewed by Meredith Bull, ND.
Choose Fruit With a Lower Glycemic Index
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you choose fruits that have a low glycemic index (GI). Theglycemic index is used as a reference to measurehow much acarbohydrate-containing food raises your blood glucose. A high GI food will raise blood glucose more than a medium or low GI food.
Here is how certain fruits compare on the glycemic index:
- Low GI (55 or less): Apples, pears, mango, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, grapefruit, pears, nectarines, and oranges
- Moderate GI (55 to 69): Cherries, mango, papaya, and grapes
- High GI (70 or greater): Watermelon and pineapple
Most fruits have a low to moderate GI, except pineapple and watermelon. That doesn't mean you can never eat pineapple or watermelon unless it causes a blood sugar spike.
It is also important to note that fructose levels tend to increase the more that fruit ripens, amplifying its impact on your blood sugar.
Even so, some nutritious foods have a higher GI than foods with little nutritional value. As such, don't use a food's GI as the sole determining factor as to which you should eat. A healthy diet should always be balanced to meet your daily nutritional needs.
A Guide to Carb Counting With Diabetes
Opt for the Whole Fruit
If you have diabetes and enjoy fruit, it is always best to opt for whole fruit rather than dried fruits or juices. This includes fresh, frozen, or canned whole fruit (as long as no sugars are added).
Dried fruits may be a problem because they arehigher in carbohydrates per serving than natural whole fruit. They may also contain added sugar (particularly with products like dried cranberries or banana chips), Dried fruits can also be lower in fiber if the skin has been removed before dehydration.
Fruit juices pose similar risks even when there is no added sugar. That's because the flesh of the fruit, which contains fiber, is discarded during the juicing process. Moreover, with juices, you may be drinking more fruit than you would eat. Pasteurized juice or juices made from concentrates often have very high fructose levels.
Here are two examples of what one portion of dried fruit or juice can contribute to your blood sugar:
- One-quarter cup of raisins delivers 120 calories, 32 grams of carbohydrates, and 24 grams of sugar.
- One cup of unsweetened 100% fruit juice contains130 calories, 33 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 grams of sugar.
What to Drink When You Have Diabetes
Keep Portions in Check
The ADA recommends that about 45% of your daily calorie intake come from carbohydrates. If you are following a consistentcarbohydrate meal plan, you need to factor in fruit as a carbohydrate choice.
Try to stick with one fruit serving per meal or snack. Limit your fruit servings to no more than about two to three per day.
Keep in mind that one fruit serving is about 15 grams of carbohydrates. How much of each fruit you can eat within that one-serving limit will depend on the type of fruit.
Here is a list of what is considered one serving of common whole fruits:
- 1 small apple, orange, peach, pear, or plum
- 1/2 medium banana
- 2 small tangerines or 1 large tangerine
- 2 kiwi
- 4 apricots
- 1 cup of melon (cantaloupe, honeydew)
- 15 grapes or cherries
- 1/3 of a medium mango
- 1-1/4 cup of strawberries
- 3/4 cup of blueberries
- 1 cup of raspberries and blackberries
Are Many Carbs Should I Eat for Diabetes?
Pair Fruit With Protein
Pairing fruit with protein can help slow down any rise in blood sugar. You can do this by including fruit in your meal allotment for carbohydrates or by adding protein to your fruit snack.
Here are some examples
- Pair 4 ounces of sliced apples with 1 tablespoon of almond butter.
- Pair 1 cup of raspberries with 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt.
- Part one small peach with 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese.
10 Foods That Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, eating fruit can sometimes be of concern. That's because the carbohydrates in fruit can cause blood sugar to rise.
Even so, fruit is an important part of a healthy diet when you have diabetes, providing fiber that can limit blood sugar spikes. It can also help lower cholesterol, which is especially important given that diabetes can put you at an increased risk for heart disease.
If you have diabetes, focus on eating whole fruit rather than dried fruit or juices. You should also favor fruits that are low on the GI index, keeping an eye on portion sizes and the carb count.
9 Foods to Avoid if You Have Diabetes
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the lowest glycemic index fruits?
Some of the lowest glycemic index fruits include cherries, grapefruit, pears, apples, apricots, tangerines, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and plums.
What are the highest glycemic index fruits?
Some of the highest glycemic index fruits include watermelon, pineapple, and overly ripe bananas (under-ripened bananas fall into a moderate glycemic index).
How is diabetes managed?
There are a variety of management and treatment options for diabetes, including keeping blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels in a healthy range. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and keeping up with regular doctor visits are also important ways to manage diabetes.
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN
Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN, is a registered dietitian andcertified diabetes care and education specialist.
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Pineapple, watermelon, mango, lychee, and banana have a high GI, so these are the worst fruits if you are diabetic. These fruits can be included in your daily diet plan after consulting a nutrition expert. Alternatively, these fruits can be substituted with low GI fruits such as avocado, citrus fruits, berries, etc.Which fruits to avoid in diabetes? ›
Pineapple, watermelon, mango, lychee, and banana have a high GI, so these are the worst fruits if you are diabetic. These fruits can be included in your daily diet plan after consulting a nutrition expert. Alternatively, these fruits can be substituted with low GI fruits such as avocado, citrus fruits, berries, etc.What fruits raise blood sugar levels? ›
Some commonly eaten fresh fruits may raise your blood sugar more quickly than others. These include figs, grapes, mangos, cherries and bananas. Eat them in moderation and in the suggested serving size of one small fruit or 1/2 cup.What are the 10 best fruits and vegetables for diabetic patients? ›
- Beans. Kidney, pinto, navy or black beans are packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. ...
- Dark green leafy vegetables. ...
- Citrus fruit. ...
- Berries. ...
- Tomatoes. ...
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. ...
- Nuts. ...
- Whole grains.
- vegetables. nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes. ...
- fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes.
- grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains. ...
- protein. ...
- dairy—nonfat or low fat.
Grapes are adored, nourishing fruits and are safe for diabetics. People can eat them and add them to their diabetic diets as they do not harm or spike glucose levels. Consuming grapes help to reduce the susceptibility to developing type 2 diabetes.What 7 fruits should diabetics avoid? ›
- Non-starchy vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach.
- Lean protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, eggs, and yogurt.
- Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and steel-cut oatmeal.
- Water and unsweetened beverages.
- Berries. Don't make your trip to the store fruitless. ...
- Go nuts. That's right—go ahead and snack on almonds, cashews or even pistachios. ...
- Leafy greens. ...
- Non-starchy vegetables. ...
- Whole grains.
- Water. Water indirectly lowers our blood sugar by giving us the sensation of feeling full. ...
- Unsweetened teas. Unsweetened teas contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation and lower our overall blood sugars. ...
- Black coffee.
- Chocolate Milk. This treat may remind you of the school lunchroom, but it's a good calcium-rich choice for grown-ups as well. ...
- Sweet Tea. ...
- Orange Juice. ...
- Chai Latte. ...
- Lemonade. ...
- Hot Chocolate. ...
- Apple Cider. ...
- Energy Drinks.
Pizza may actually be a good choice for people with type 2 diabetes; just be sure to order the thin-crust type and top it with vegetables rather than high-fat meats and extra cheese. It's also a good idea to watch portion sizes.Is peanut butter good for diabetics? ›
Research has shown that peanuts can help control blood sugar in both healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes. Peanuts and peanut butter have even been shown to help lessen the spike in blood sugar when paired with high-carbohydrate or high-GL foods.Can diabetics have watermelon? ›
Watermelon is safe for people with diabetes to eat in moderation. However, it is best to consume watermelon and other high GI fruits alongside foods that contain plenty of nutritious fats, fiber, and protein.Which color grapes are best for diabetics? ›
Yes; the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes eat fruit, including green and purple grapes. Despite the fact that carbohydrates can raise blood sugar, the body still needs this important macronutrient to make energy.Can diabetics eat potatoes? ›
Can people with diabetes eat potatoes? According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), starchy vegetables such as potatoes can be included in the diet of a person with diabetes. The total amount of carbohydrate consumed at any given meal or snack is what is most important.What are the 5 worst foods for blood sugar? ›
- NOT-SO-FRIENDLY FOODS. Certain foods can send your blood sugar level on a roller coaster, with insulin rushing to keep up. ...
- WHITE RICE. ...
- POTATOES. ...
- KETCHUP. ...
- WHITE PASTA. ...
- BAGELS. ...
- ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. ...
- FRUIT JUICE.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Whole grains, such as whole wheat, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and oats.
- Proteins, such as lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, lentils, and tofu.
- Nonfat or low-fat dairy, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
In general, foods that cause blood sugar level to rise the most are those that are high in carbohydrates, which are quickly converted into energy, such as rice, bread, fruits and sugar. Next are foods high in protein, such as meats, fish eggs, milk and dairy products, and oily foods.Which vegetables should be avoided in diabetes? ›
People living with diabetes should look to avoid vegetables with a high GI rating, as the body absorbs blood sugar from those foods much quicker compared with low-GI foods. This includes artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, eggplant/aubergine, green beans, lettuce, peppers, snow peas and spinach.”
Protein-rich foods like eggs can play an important role in regulating blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Plus, eggs contain many essential vitamins and minerals, and have just 80 calories each.Are tomatoes good for diabetics? ›
Share on Pinterest Tomatoes can help reduce blood pressure for people with diabetes. Fresh, whole tomatoes have a low glycemic index (GI) score. Foods with a low GI score release their sugar slowly into the bloodstream and are unlikely to trigger a blood sugar spike. One reason for this is that they provide fiber.Can drinking water lower blood sugar? ›
Drinking plenty of water helps your kidneys flush out excess sugar. One study found that people who drink more water lower their risk for developing high blood sugar levels. And remember, water is the best. Sugary drinks elevate blood sugar by raising it even more.What brings blood sugar up fastest? ›
- a piece of fruit, like a banana, apple, or orange.
- 2 tablespoons of raisins.
- 15 grapes.
- 1/2 cup apple, orange, pineapple, or grapefruit juice.
- 1/2 cup regular soda (not sugar-free)
- 1 cup fat-free milk.
- 1 tablespoon honey or jelly.
- 15 Skittles.
- Alcoholic drinks. ...
- Sports drinks/energy drinks. ...
- Sweetened and unsweetened fruit juices. ...
- Sodas. ...
- Sweet tea.
Frequently Asked Questions. Drinking a tall glass of water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at bedtime helps with sugar control in diabetic patients.Can lemon water lower your blood sugar? ›
Lemons are high in soluble fiber, which slows digestion and, by doing so, helps control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.Is Coke Zero OK for diabetics? ›
A. No, zero sugar soda uses artificial sweeteners, which increases people's weight. Increased weight, in turn, is linked to the worsening of diabetes. Hence, zero soda is not suitable for diabetes.Is Cranberry juice good for diabetes? ›
Yes! It is a superfood for a diabetic diet. Cranberry is a low GI food with polyphenol plant micronutrient that improves insulin sensitivity therefore it is a good choice for people with diabetes. It does not spike blood sugar levels.Can diabetics eat spaghetti? ›
Yes, you can eat pasta when you have diabetes. While pasta is a high-carb food, it can be safely consumed when paired with high-fiber options and lean proteins, and properly portioned out.
While there are some extra things to consider, ice cream can be included in a healthy meal pattern even if you have diabetes. It's best to eat ice cream in moderation and to choose an option with lower saturated fat, lower carbs and no or low added sugar.Can a diabetic eat hamburger? ›
Burger: You can have a burger, but consider forgoing the bun. Top with lettuce, tomato and onion, and skip the condiments to avoid unnecessary sugars. Bean salad: Beans are a good option. While baked beans tend to be higher in sugar, a light bean salad is a great choice.What kind of sandwich meat can a diabetic eat? ›
Select lean, low-salt deli meats, such as roast turkey. Use low-fat mayonnaise, or replace it with other spreads, such as mustard, pesto, hummus, yogurt, or avocado. Consider replacing cheese with vegetables or fruits, such as tomatoes or peppers, pesto, or avocado.What bread can diabetics eat? ›
The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing whole grain bread or 100 percent whole wheat bread instead of white bread. White bread is made from highly processed white flour and added sugar. Here are some delicious and healthy breads to try: Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran and Wheat Pita Bread.What can diabetics eat at mcdonalds for breakfast? ›
Opt for menu items with lower carbs and watch those calories. For example, a good choice for breakfast could be an Egg McMuffin, with 30 g carbohydrates and 300 calories. A sausage McMuffin comes with 29 g carbs and 400 calories. Leave off the cheese, and you decrease your carb intake and save yourself 50 calories.Is popcorn good for diabetics? ›
Popcorn. As long as it's not served with butter or salt, popcorn is considered a good whole-grain snack for diabetes (Asif, 2014). Popcorn is low in calories, which can support a healthy weight and overall management of type 2 diabetes.Is Coffee good for a diabetic? ›
In short, yes, it's safe to drink coffee if you have diabetes. Although the research on coffee's benefits is mixed, as long as you keep an eye on your blood sugar and stick to coffee with less sugar, drinking coffee shouldn't be dangerous.Can diabetics eat rice? ›
When striving for a well-balanced diet, people with diabetes may wonder whether carbohydrate foods, like white rice, are a good option to include in their eating patterns. The short answer is: yes! While everyone's needs are unique, white rice can certainly be part of a healthy eating pattern for those with diabetes.How many slices of pizza can a diabetic eat? ›
It can raise your blood glucose levels for about 2 to 5 hours. In order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, it is important that you consume processed foods such as pizza in moderation. You can limit your consumption to 1 to 2 slices of pizza once or twice a week.Can diabetics eat hot dogs? ›
People with type 2 diabetes should limit or avoid high-fat cuts of meat, such as regular ground beef, bologna, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and ribs, because like full-fat dairy, they're high in saturated fats, explains Kimberlain.
Seafood like prawns and shrimp have a glycemic index of zero because they contain minimal to no carbohydrates. Thus, diabetics can eat moderate amounts of shrimp without having blood sugar fluctuations or experiencing drastic insulin spikes.What foods raise blood sugar quickly? ›
In general, foods that cause blood sugar level to rise the most are those that are high in carbohydrates, which are quickly converted into energy, such as rice, bread, fruits and sugar. Next are foods high in protein, such as meats, fish eggs, milk and dairy products, and oily foods.What vegetables should diabetics avoid? ›
People living with diabetes should look to avoid vegetables with a high GI rating, as the body absorbs blood sugar from those foods much quicker compared with low-GI foods. This includes artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, eggplant/aubergine, green beans, lettuce, peppers, snow peas and spinach.”Are bananas OK for diabetics? ›
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes consume fruit in moderation, including bananas. This doesn't mean you should ignore those carbohydrates, but you should consider how many carbs you need daily.What vegetables worsen blood sugar? ›
Starchy Vegetables, Which in Large Amounts Can Destabilize Blood Sugar. Oh, the poor potato — and, along with it, other starchy vegetables like peas and corn. These foods pack a greater quantity of carbs compared with nonstarchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and lettuce.What should diabetics drink first thing in the morning? ›
Whether or not you have diabetes, siping into a glass of water the first thing in the morning can do wonders for your health. It will help rehydrate your body and cleanse the intestine, supporting the digestive system.What are the five foods that diabetics should avoid? ›
- Sugar. People with diabetes should avoid sugary foods such as pastries, sweets, cakes, cookies, candy, and chocolate. ...
- Processed food with trans and saturated fats. ...
- Canned food. ...
- Sugary cereals. ...
- 5. Fruits.
Can people with diabetes eat potatoes? According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), starchy vegetables such as potatoes can be included in the diet of a person with diabetes. The total amount of carbohydrate consumed at any given meal or snack is what is most important.Is salad good for diabetics? ›
People with diabetes can eat salads as part of their meal plan. Salads can be a healthy and nutritious option for people with diabetes, as they are typically rich in vegetables and low in carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals.Can diabetics eat pizza? ›
Pizza may actually be a good choice for people with type 2 diabetes; just be sure to order the thin-crust type and top it with vegetables rather than high-fat meats and extra cheese. It's also a good idea to watch portion sizes.
Peanut butter contains essential nutrients, and it can be part of a healthful diet when a person has diabetes. However, it is important to eat it in moderation, as it contains a lot of calories. People should also make sure their brand of peanut butter is not high in added sugar, salt, or fat.