Fruits are a key source of vitamins and minerals that are an essential part of everyone’s diet. They are also different from other carbohydrates in that they usually do not cause high spikes in blood sugar. Following are some guidelines that will help you to determine what the best fruit for diabetics to eat are.
The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are broken into glucose and enter your bloodstream, thereby creating large spikes in blood sugar levels. All forms of carbohydrates are not the same in how they impact your blood sugar. If you take a piece of chocolate with the same amount of carbohydrates as a portion of a bagel, under normal circumstances the former will impact your blood sugar less than the latter because the presence of fat or fiber slow down the absorption of the food into your system.
In fact, researchers who developed the glycemic index discovered that certain foods, like white bread and rice, had a higher potential to raise blood sugar than white sugar could. The glycemic index uses a scale where pure glucose is listed at 100, and foods are given a number in relation to that based on their potential to raise blood sugar. Foods with a glycemic index of 55 or lower are considered low-GI foods, foods with a rating of 56 to 69 should be consumed in moderation, and diabetics should avoid foods with a GI rating of 70 or higher.
Best Fruit for Diabetics to Eat
Although most fruits are beneficial additions to a diabetic diet, research has shown two fruits that may have the additional benefit of upping insulin production and helping type 2 diabetics manage their disease: grapefruit and cherries.
Grapefruit, with a glycemic index of 25, also contains an antioxidant called Naringen that preliminary research shows may help treat diabetes through increasing insulin sensitivity and maintaining a healthy weight. Cherries have a GI rating of 22,and early laboratory research shows that cherries may be able to help fight type 2 diabetes.
Other low glycemic fruits include:
- Grapes (46)
- Peaches (42)
- Oranges (44)
- Plums (39)
- Apples (38)
- Pears (38)
- Bananas (54)
Mangoes, apricots, raisins and pineapple have a medium GI rating and consumption of them should be limited. Avoid any fruits canned in syrup as well as watermelon as they both have a high GI rating.
Count your Carbohydrates: It’s an important part of maintaining your blood sugar levels in addition to eating based on the glycemic index.
- One serving of a whole fruit = 1/2 of one cup = 15 grams of carbohydrates
- One serving of berries or melons = 3/4 to 1 cup = 15 grams of carbohydrates
- A serving of fruit juice = 1/3 of one cup to 1/2 of one cup = 15 grams of carbohydrates
- A serving size of raisins or dried cherries = 2 tablespoons = 15 grams of carbohydrates
Keep your portion sizes under control, count carbohydrates, use the glycemic index, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier diet.