We have all heard it before. A person diagnosed with diabetes that says “someone” told them that they are no longer allowed to have fruit because they have diabetes and it is too sweet. But is this really the case?
Fruits are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre which is beneficial for overall health. Fruit should therefore be encouraged as part of a healthy diet in moderation (1-2 fruits per day for a diabetic) and is an ideal snack. The dilemma comes when choosing what fruit to have.
To understand how to choose fruits we must first understand the concept of glycemic index (GI). High GI foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar as they are digested, absorbed and metabolised quickly. Low GI foods cause smaller fluctuations in blood glucose and this is the key to optimal glucose control.
Always choose fresh fruit and eat it with the skin where possible as the extra fibre helps to lower the GI. Low GI fruits include the following:
Try to avoid or limit the following fruits which are medium to high GI and therefore are released quickly into your blood and may cause blood sugar spikes:
Canned fruits tend to be served in a light syrup therefore adding to the sugar content. If you are going to have canned fruit ensure that it is canned in natural juice only.
Dried fruits can be misleading as during the drying process they tend to shrink in size and it is therefore easier to eat too much. For example, think of a whole peach vs 2 dried peach halves.
Fruit juices are also misleading as many people think that because it states “100% fruit juice” on the box it must be healthy! This is not the case. 1 cup (250mls) of fruit juice contains roughly 6 teaspoons of sugar or sometimes more. Many fruit juices are also labelled “100% fruit juice blend.” The “blend” part means that other fruit juices have been added to that flavour and it may also contain fruit juice concentrates which are higher in sugar.
A small portion of whole fruit such as an apple smaller than the size of a tennis ball counts as one serving, or 3/4 cup of chopped fruits.
If you would like to know how best to include fruit as a part of your healthy diabetic diet with exact portion sizes, you can make an appointment here.
Article written by Simone Petersen RD (SA) [/vc_column][/vc_row]