Meeting Carbohydrates - Fruit

There’s a common misconception about diabetes and food – avoid sweets. It is true that our “Western diet” includes too much added sugar and too many concentrated sweets that everyone, diabetes or not, should limit. But, those who toss fruit onto the same forbidden pile because of its natural sweetness would be cutting out some of the most nutrition

Does fruit have carbs?

Fruit, like all healthy carbohydrates, can be and should be managed within a healthy meal plan – not avoided. Here’s why –

  • Most people associate fruit with vitamin C, but fruits also contain varying amounts of vitamin A, several B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K as well as potassium and other important “minerals” and “micronutrients.” Different fruits offer different combinations of these nutrients, so variety is especially beneficial.
  • Varying your fruit diet also gets you a range of natural antioxidants – phenols and anthocyanins for example. Antioxidants help to limit “oxidative stress” and general inflammation, complex biological conditions that damage cells and appear to play a role in heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. Most studies show antioxidants from food are much more beneficial than from supplements.
  • Fruits contain healthy dietary fiber, and most include both insoluble and soluble fiber.
  • Fruits provide fabulous colors to your plate, and marvelous sweetness in a healthy package. Go for whole fruit rather than juice.
  •  As long as you avoid added sugar (like fruit packed in syrup) fruit is healthy fresh, dried, canned or frozen. That means you can have fruit anytime, anywhere.

Monitor portion sizes of fruit

The carbohydrate content of fruit varies, so check portion sizes. A “one carb choice” (15 grams carbohydrate) portion for dried fruit like raisins is small – 2 tables spoons. Strawberries, on the other hand, gives you 1 ¼ cups for your carb choice. Fruit is a featured food in the Mediterranean and DASH diets, and should be a featured food in your diet too.

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