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Which fruits are OK for a diabetic to eat?

Asked by Pravin, Plano, Texas

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Which fruits are allowed for a diabetic, whose condition is controlled by diet only? No medicines are taken, except Glipizide 5 mg, ½ hour premeal at noon?

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Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi, Pravin, since November is National Diabetes Month, I thought this would be a good question to answer.

Fruits are a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which are important for diabetics. Fruits, however, do have more carbohydrates than vegetables, 15 grams per serving, so they should be considered like a starch if you are counting carbohydrates.

If you are eating canned fruit, make sure that it does not have added sugar, and if you are drinking juice or eating dried fruit, it is very important to watch serving sizes closely.

One serving of fruit juice is 4 ounces or about ½ cup, which is far less than most people drink at one time. In addition, fruit juice has limited to no fiber, which makes it a somewhat less healthy option.

Dried fruit is particularly carbohydrate-dense since the water has been removed, so serving sizes are very small (2 tablespoons of dried fruit = 1 fruit serving), which is often much less satisfying and makes it much more challenging to control portion sizes.

If you choose foods based on the glycemic index -- how much a specific quantity of food raises blood sugar -- you may be aware that some fruits like melon, pineapple and dried fruit have a higher glycemic index. If you enjoy these fruits, I recommend combining them with a little lean protein like low-fat cottage cheese or healthy fats like nuts to help keep blood sugar stable.

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