13 Best Fruits For Diabetics: What to Eat & What to Reduce

Clinical review: Tatiana Zanin
Registered Dietitian
November 2022

Fruits consumed by diabetics should be fresh and be eaten with their respective peels or seeds where applicable to increase fiber intake. Examples include tangerines, apples, pears, kiwis, and oranges. Fibers that are naturally found in fruits reduce the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the body, which helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Fruits that are rich in carbohydrates, like fried fruits, canned fruits and fruit juices can be consumed, although in moderation. These foods tend to be higher in sugar and lower in fiber, which can impact blood sugar levels negatively. 

Although fresh fruits are healthy, they can contain high quantities of carbohydrates. Therefore, diabetics should consume small servings of fruit, split up throughout the day. 

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Best fruits to eat with diabetes 

All fresh, whole fruits are permitted if you have diabetes, however they should be limited to 2 to 4 servings per day. When possible, you should eat the fruits with their peels and seeds, as these are a great source of fibers that help to control blood sugar levels. 

The table below outlines the amount of carbohydrates and fiber present in one serving of each fruit:

Fruits

1 Serving Size

Carbohydrates

Fiber

1. Banana

1 medium unit

10.4 g

0.8 g

2. Tangerine

1 medium unit

9.6 g

1 g

3. Pear

1 medium unit

18.2 g

3.9 g

4. Orange

1 small unit

8 g

0.7 g

5. Apple

1 medium unit

13.6 g

1.2 g

6. Melon

1 medium slice

6.7 g

0.25 g

7. Strawberry

10 small units

4.7 g

1.2 g

8. Plum

1 medium unit

5.8g

1 g

9. Grapes 

10 medium units

10.1 g

0.7 g

10. Red guava

1 small unit

12.35 g 

5.9 g

11. Avocado

2 tablespoons

5.4 g

5.6 g

12. Kiwi

1 medium unit

8.7 g

2 g

13. Mango

1 small unit

11.6 g

1 g

It is important that fruit juices contain more sugar and less fiber than whole fruit. Juices can make you hungrier and increase blood sugar levels faster. 

Best time to eat fruits 

It is important to eat fruit with other foods, either during or after lunch and dinner. The nutrients in these meals, like fat and protein, help to reduce how quickly the sugar in the fruit is absorbed into the blood. 

It is possible to eat fiber-rich fruits for breakfast or snacks. These can be paired with sugar-free Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds or chia seeds. 

Fruits to eat in moderation 

Fruits that are higher in carbs and lower in fiber should be eaten in moderation, as these are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Examples include canned fruit, dried fruit, bananas, persimmons, jackfruit and tamarinds. 

The following table outlines the fruit that should be consumed in moderation and the quantity of carbohydrates and fiber found in 100 g of each type:

Fruit (100 g)

Carbohydrates

Fibers

Jackfruit

18.5 g

1.5 g

Figs

19.6 g

3 g

Raisins

67 g

6.1 g

Persimmons

20.4 g

3.9 g

Prunes

3.,8 g

15 g

Canned peaches

1.,88 g

1 g

Grape juice

14.7 g

0.2 g

A good way to slow down sugar absorption is to eat these fruits with foods that are high in fiber, protein and healthy fats. Some examples include eggs, chicken, chestnuts, and cheese. 

Dried fruits and nuts

Fried fruits, like raisins and prunes, should be consumed in small quantities. Although they tend to be small in size, they have comparable amounts of sugar to fresh fruit. You should check food labels to verify whether the fruit was dehydrated with natural sugars or added sugars. 

Nuts, like chestnuts, almonds and walnuts, have less carbohydrates than fruit, and have high protein and healthy fat contents. They can improve cholesterol levels and prevent illnesses like atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Nonetheless, they should also be eaten in small quantities, as their high fat content can be harmful in large quantities. 

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Edited by Tua Saude editing team in November 2022. Clinical review completed by Tatiana Zanin - Registered Dietitian in November 2022.

References

  • SOHAIB, A, Khan et al. Dry Fruits and Diabetes Mellitus. International Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences. Vol.4. 6.ed; 116-119, 2017
  • WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables and risk of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. 2005. Available on: <https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/en/f&v_cvd_diabetes.pdf>. Access in 02 Jul 2021
Show more references
  • MURAKI, Isao et al. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. British Medical Journal. 1-15, 2013
  • COMPOSIÇÃO DE ALIMENTOS. Plataforma Portuguesa de Informação Alimentar: Vários alimentos. Available on: <http://portfir.insa.pt/foodcomp/food?11718>. Access in 02 Jul 2021
  • FRANCO, Guilherme. Tabela de Composição Química dos Alimentos. 9 ed. São Paulo: Atheneu, 2008. 74; 116; 156; 171.
Clinical review:
Tatiana Zanin
Registered Dietitian
Graduated in Clinical Nutrition in 2001 and has a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition. Licensed to practice under the CRN-3 in Brazil and the ON in Portugal