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A box of ripe strawberries springs forth extra berries, gouda and Swiss cheese, and cashews into the air.

Fruit: Fear Not!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”.

Eat fruits or don’t eat fruits with type 2 diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you might be wondering if you can still have an apple or any fruit for that matter. The reason fruit is often feared is for the simple truth that fruit contains carbohydrates which is the primary nutrient impacting blood glucose levels.

Some of you may choose to follow a low carb or a reduced carb diet. Such diets are often followed to help with blood glucose control and/or to help promote weight loss.

Eat fruits!

When it comes to diet, I am a true believer that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As far as a fruit is concerned, I consistently advise including fruit as part of a well-balanced diet.

Fresh fruits are nutrient powerhouses; loaded with vitamins (e.g. vitamin C, folate), minerals (e.g. potassium), antioxidants, fiber, and water.  Many fruits are also naturally low in sodium and calories.

Popular eating plans such as the Dash diet and Mediterranean diet both encourage intake of fresh fruit. Research on both eating plans has shown to positively impact diabetes control and heart health.

My tips for incorporating fruit into your daily diet:

Aim for 4 servings of fruit each day

  • 1 serving = 1 cup of fresh fruit
  • Refer to the following link for more specifics on serving size:

Choose fruits that rank low on the glycemic index

  • Low glycemic index foods result in a less dramatic blood glucose spike
  • Cherries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapefruit, apples, and pears all rank low on the glycemic index

Choose fruit in place of dessert (i.e. cake, cookies, or ice-cream)

  • This is a great option for those of you who love to finish a meal with a sweet treat
  • The water and fiber in the fruit will also help keep you feeling satisfied longer

Enjoy a piece of fruit following exercise

  • Insulin sensitivity is increased following exercise and so is the need to replace glycogen stores (stored glucose) that were used up during exercise

Pair fruit with a protein and/or a fat

  • Pairing fruit with a protein or fat will help slow down the absorption of the carbs (protein and fat take longer to digest than carbs) from the fruit which results in a more steady blood glucose rise (instead of a more drastic blood glucose spike)
  • Try eating a small apple with peanut butter or pairing 1 cup of sliced strawberries with your favorite cheese

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov. All About The Fruit Group. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit. Accessed July 22, 2019.

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