Fruits In Diabetes

Every Diabetic’s delima : which fruit to eat and how much???

Diabeticsor for that matter all of us are always advised to include a variety of fruits in our diet, to get all those essential vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants.

But for those who are calorie conscious the question always remains……Which fruits can we eat?

Fruits are nature’s sweet dishes provided to man. One can indulge in these delicacies of God freely, but just like other sweets, one has to have them apart from meals, to avoid the glycemic load.

Fruits with very high sugar content should be avoided or can be taken in small quantities only. Such fruits are

  1. Mango
  2. Banana
  3. Cheeku
  4. Custard apple
  5. Ripe papaya

Diabetes can have almost all the fruits available in market except for those which are extremely sweet as mentioned above (Mango, Banana, Cheeku and Custard apple!)

Fruits are a much healthier choice to satiate a sweet tooth craving

Question : What happens if we consume excessive amount of fruits?

Answer : Since fruits contain fructose, a type of natural sugar, eating excessive amounts or eating those with high sugar contentin large amounts, will raise the blood sugar levels and excess fructose like all other carbohydrates (like sugar and starch) is converted into cholesterol ! Hence regulation of quantity is a must!

While choosing fruits one must keep in mind its “Glycemic index (GI)”

GI is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.

Foods with low GI are absorbed slowly hence the sugar is released slowly into the blood stream and hence there is slow rise in blood sugar. Therefore such foods are considered an ideal choice for diabetics.

The GI tells how quickly a food containing carbohydrates affect the blood sugar levels when eaten by themselves. GI scores are rated as(@American Diabetic Association) :

Low: <55

Moderate: 56-69

High : >70

Lower the GI, slower the rise in blood sugar thus better management of post meal sugar changes by body.

Low GI foods are best for diabetics.

Fruits usually have low to moderate GI.

Fruits with moderate GI should be eaten in lesser quantities and that too apart from other carbs containing foods like chapatti or rice.


Another new and more practically useful concept has arrived these days known as Glycemic load.

It simply estimates the possible real life impact when someone eats a particular food.

It takes into account, Glycemic Index (GI) as well as the amount of carbohydrate in a particular food quantity.

GL = GI x Grams of carbs in a food in a serving


And hence can be calculated for any size and serving of food.

Glycemic Load(GL) : LOW = 1-10

MEDIUM= 11-19

HIGH = >20

e.g. Watermelon has GI of 72, but a 100gm (1cup) of watermelon has only 5g of available carbs (since watermelon mostly has only water)

GL = 72×5 = 3.6


means watermelon comes in category of fruits having low GL, and hence it can be eaten by diabetics too!

Below are mentioned the GI and GL of some commonly available fruits:

Fruit GI GL
Banana 52 10/11/18
Watermelon 72 3.6
Mango (Sweeter ones have higher is the GI and GL) 41-60 10/12/18
Custard Apple 54 10.2
Cheeku 40 6
Apple 38 6
Lime 24 1
Grapefruit 25 3
Pear 38 4
Orange 44 4
Strawberry 41 1
Grapes 46 11
kiwi 52 7
Dates 36 18
Plum 24 5
Guava 78 4
Pineapple 66 6
Papaya 60 7
Cantaloupe 67 4
Raisins 64 28
Cherry 20 6


Points To be Noted:

Thus it can be safely concluded that :

  1. All fruits are low to moderate glucose load food items.
  2. Hence all of them can be taken in moderate to substantial amounts.
  3. Only selected fruits which have moderate Glycemic Load values should be consumed in limited amounts carefully by Diabetics and other weight conscious people.
  4. Like all other carbohydrates,excess sugar (fructose) from fruits also gets converted into cholesterol.


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