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Diabetes: 5 best and worst fruits for managing blood sugar

Some fruits are good for people with diabetes, while others are not. However, every fruit has its own benefits and should be consumed on a regular basis. Experts on best and worst fruits for managing your blood sugar levels.

People who are diagnosed with diabetes often hesitate in adding fruits to their daily diet fearing they could raise their blood sugar levels being sweet in taste. However, their fear is only partly true. Fruits are a storehouse of fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and all the essential nutrients that are important in maintaining gut health, immunity and overall health. But at the same time, they also have a type of sugar called fructose that is naturally present in fruits. In fact, studies claim that consumption of fruits regularly can cut risk of diabetes. This doesn't mean though that people with diabetes can fill their plate with all sorts of fruits and consume them multiple times a day without fear of sugar spikes. There are certain fruits that are high in GI (glycaemic index) while some are low GI which means they are broken down slowly and raise blood sugar only gradually over a period of time. Once you know which fruits are more suitable for your blood sugar levels, you can consume them in the quantities recommended by your diabetologist. Even fruits with high GI can be consumed but in smaller quantities.

"Some fruits are good for people with diabetes, while others are not. However, every fruit has its own benefits and should be consumed on a regular basis, weekly, or seasonal basis. Like many other foods, fruit can make your blood sugar go up. Your HbA1c, or average blood sugar level, can also go up if you experience frequent spikes in your blood sugar. Despite the well-established health benefits of eating fresh fruits, the sugar content of fruits has raised questions about its effect on glucose levels and their suitability for people with diabetes," says Dr V. Mohan – Chairman and Chief Diabetologist- Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre.


"There is nothing like the best and worst fruits for diabetics. Diabetics can eat all the fruits, but for the fruits with a higher glycaemic index, the portion size of those fruits needs to be controlled. Where the difficulty occurs is when fruits with a higher glycaemic index are ingested in excess. Therefore, if you have diabetes, you should consume 150–200 g of fruit every day. But if your sugar levels are higher, this quantity drops to 100 to 150 grams a day. The quantities of higher-glycaemic fruits can be around 100 grams. So, portion control is key when it comes to fruits," says Dr Charu Dua, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad, on fruits for diabetes.

Dr Dua, however, adds that it is important that diabetic patients do not combine fruits with the main meals like breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because usually our food is rich in carbohydrates and fruits are the source of carbohydrates.


"It's a good idea to have a fruit between meals, and it's crucial to pair fruits with protein. So, if you combine fruits with nuts in the mid-morning, the absorption rate of carbohydrates converted into glucose and absorption are going to slow down. The easiest and healthiest alternative is to combine fruits with a protein, almonds, or one teaspoon of seeds. It's also a good idea to pop and top it with cucumbers and tomatoes. However, adding nuts, such as peanuts or occasionally paneer, will delay the body's absorption of glucose and prevent a surge in blood sugar after eating fruit," says Dr Dua.

It's important to keep in mind that if you have diabetes, you should eat fruits, chew them properly, and stay away from fruit juices because they are quickly absorbed and can raise your blood glucose levels. Consuming the fruit will also give you fibres, which assist in managing and regulating your blood sugar levels. So, have fruits and nuts in mid-morning time.


As per Dr Mohan, the best five recommended fruits for people with diabetes are apple, guava, orange, papaya and melons. He also explains why these fruits are good for managing the metabolic disorder.

- Firstly, these fruits are naturally low in fat, calories and sodium. Additionally, the majority of them are loaded with nutrients that we frequently fail to get enough of. Folate, Vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fibre are few examples of such nutrients.

- Potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure, is abundant in these fruits.

- Vitamin C, which is essential for tissue growth and repair, wound healing, and maintaining healthy teeth and gums, is abundant in guava and citrus fruits.

- We get folate—a group of naturally occurring B vitamins known as B9—from citrus fruits, apple, melons, papaya which aid in the production of red blood cells.

"Whole fruits, not juice, give us a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. They also contain dietary fibre, which helps us digest food and maintain healthy bowel movements and lowers blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. So, please take whole fruit instead on fruit juices," says Dr Mohan.


Five fruits that are to be eaten less frequently or in smaller quantities are mango, jack fruits, banana, chickoo, grapes according to Dr Mohan. He also explains why.

"These fruits usually increase the blood glucose level and to avoid spikes in blood sugar, people with diabetes must closely monitor their sugar intake," says Dr Mohan, adding that it depends on how much fruit one eats.

"It is fine, if you take one or two slices or small quantities of these restricted fruits as sugar levels can rise if they are consumed in large quantities. We see several patients with uncontrolled diabetes after taking large quantities of these fruits every season. Hence, you can limit your consumption of these fruits to one or two slices, so that you can still enjoy these fruits. If you want to lower your blood glucose levels, take these fruits in the intervals between meals. You can also limit your consumption of cereals like rice and chapatis in lunch and dinner," says Dr Mohan.

Dr Mohan says every person with diabetes has a different response to fruits and it's imperative to check the impact of fruits on blood sugar levels.

"Please do check your blood sugar levels to see if these fruits have an effect on your blood sugar levels. If you want to add fruits, use a continuous glucose monitor sensor, you can easily see which fruits affect your glucose levels and which do not," says the expert.

"All people with diabetes do not respond in a similar manner with respect to fruits. The body is able to tolerate the intake of fruits if your glucose level (diabetes)is under good control. In those with poor control, blood glucose levels tend to increase further with fruits," concludes Dr Mohan.

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