Can you eat fruit if you have diabetes? This is a common question among people with diabetes who have heard the they should not be eating certain fruits, like mango, strawberries, banana and watermelon.
Health experts suggest that those with diabetes should avoid eating high cholesterol and fat-rich foods, and instead consume more non-greasy and easily digestible foods with high fiber content. Fruits contain fibers and plenty of nutrients, making them a healthy addition to a diabetic diet. Although there are fruits which have high sugar and carbohydrate contents, it does not mean that these should be excluded all together. These types of fruits can still be consumed by diabetics, only consumption should be limited.
There are certain fruits considered beneficial for diabetics. One of these is the apple which contains high levels of pectin in its skin that detoxifies the body. Pectin helps in removing harmful bloodstream waste while lowering the insulin requirements of diabetics by as much as 35 percent. Aside from pectin, apples also have a tremendous amount of Vitamin B1 which prevents brain cell damage due to diabetic acidosis.
Grapefruit is another ideal fruit for diabetics as it comes with certain medicinal properties said to be effective in fighting against diabetes. Grapefruit can also lower the blood sugar levels in just three days. Nutritionists often suggest that diabetics consume at least three servings of this fruit daily. It can also be used in a low fat and low sugar diet.
The avocado is good for diabetics because it is rich in fiber and monounsaturated fats that help reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease common among people with diabetes. A diet rich in monounsaturated fat can also help improve a diabetic’s glycemic control.
Rose apple or jambul is also ideal for diabetics as it leaves a strong effect on the pancreas. Rose apple particularly prevents starch conversion into blood sugar, effectively controlling the levels of blood sugar in the body.
Diabetics are advised to consume a minimum of five portions of fruits every day. Spreading the consumption of fruits throughout the day will avoid the sudden increase in blood sugar levels. Diabetics should also be conscious of their serving sizes, for instance, a medium sized portion is considered healthier than a large one.
Fruits to Avoid
The glycemic index rates carbohydrates on how quickly they enter the bloodstream, causing severe spikes in blood sugar levels. Foods with a GI rating of 55 or lower enter the bloodstream slowly, helping to keep blood sugar levels stable. Mangos, dates, raisins, watermelon and pineapple all have medium to high GI ratings, so consumption should be strictly limited.
Diabetics should avoid consuming synthetic fruit juices which can do more harm than good to their condition. Synthetic fruit juices are highly sweetened using refined sugar, and can only cause an increase in one’s blood sugar levels. Thus, it is not recommended to be used as alternatives to eating fruits.
Dried fruits commercially available are also not considered as good alternatives to fruits given their high sugar content. Likewise, canned fruits are high in sugar and thus should be consumed moderately by diabetics. Avoiding canned fruits in syrup is also imperative for diabetics given the high sugar levels of these products.
So can you eat fruit if you have diabetes? Indeed, you can, but only in small portions. It is also best to take note of the beneficial fruits on the list and the ones which should be avoided.
Mayo Clinic: Diabetes
American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Myths
Foods Standard Agency: Diabetes