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A diabetic’s guide to fruit: the most helpful list of fruit portion sizes ever.

Many people in our diabetes community want to know : can diabetics eat fruit? And if so, how much? We asked dietician and diabetes educator Louise Ferreira to share some tips.

can diabetics eat fruit

All about fruit

Fruits are a great source of many essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin C and folic acid, as well as fibre. These nutrients are important in disease prevention, good gut health and the maintenance of healthy skin and hair. If you are living with diabetes, you can and you should eat fruit. Here’s how to ensure it doesn’t spike your blood sugar.

Can diabetics eat fruit?

Fruit can be eaten fresh, frozen, canned, dried and juiced. It is wise to eat fruit whole and fresh – here’s why:

  • Juice: When squeezing the juice from a fruit, you leave behind a lot of the fibre and special nutrients and create a refined carbohydrate.
  • Dried: Drying fruit makes the portions appear smaller, so you may be tempted to have a helping more than one or two ‘portions’.
  • Canned: Canned fruit is often preserved with extra sugar and should be avoided.

Fruit portion control

In general, most people should be eating 2 to 3 fruit portions per day. (Remember that every person is different, and if fruit spikes your blood sugar every time you eat it, you must listen to your body.) Each fruit portion contains 15g of carbohydrates for those who are counting carbohydrates to calculate insulin doses.

One fruit portion is:

  • 1 small to medium fresh fruit;
  • 125 ml (½ cup) of canned fruit or fruit juice; or
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit.

How to choose fruit portions

Apple, with peel 1 small (120g)
Apricots 4 medium (150g)
Banana1 small (80g)
Cherries 12 (100g)
Figs 2 large (100g)
Fruit salad ½ cup (125ml)
Granadilla 6 large (200g)
Grapefruit 1 medium (230g)
Grapes 15 small (100g)
Guava 2 large (300g)
Kiwi fruit 1 large (110g)
Mango ½ small (½ cup)
Orange 1 medium (180g)
Papaya, cubes 1½ cups (175g)
Peach or nectarine1 medium (180g)
Watermelon 1 slice (250g)
Watermelon, cubes 1 and 1/4 cup
Naartjies2 medium (150g)
Strawberries1 and 3/4 cup (300g)
Pineapple3 thin slices (125g)
Pineapple, cubes3/4 cup (125g)
Prickly pear2 large (180g)
Pear1 small (100g)
Prunes3 small (25g)
Plums2 large (150g)

So there you have it: can diabetics eat fruit? Yes, if they are careful about portion sizes and if it doesn’t spike their blood sugar too much.

What to read next?

10 tips for a healthy diabetes meal plan: All the information you need to start your healthy diabetes diet.

Our free Meal Plans: Download the meal plan that works for you – low carb, vegetarian, budget and more.

Healthy alternatives for diabetics: Swap out the food that spikes your blood sugar for these delicious healthy alternatives.

Photo by Naveed Pervaiz on Unsplash

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One Comment

  1. Orbellaopemo Orbellaopemo

    Nature is better than a middling doctor.

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.