Home Diet 6 fruits that are bad to eat when you have diabetes

6 fruits that are bad to eat when you have diabetes

by Elizabeth Shaw, M.S., RDN, CPT
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Sigh…”bad food and good food“, oh, again. This black-and-white dichotomy is one that nutrition experts would love to see go out of fashion. But unfortunately, we are still We’re fighting back against the media hype and reminding you once again that you can still eat carbohydrates like fruit even if you have diabetes.

Trust us, if you fall victim to this way of thinking about food, we know it’s not your fault, especially if you have diabetes. Constantly being bombarded with conflicting messages can make it difficult to know what to include or limit in your diet if you have: 38.4 million Americans According to diabetes Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPeople who need to monitor their blood sugar levels more closely.

Please rest assured. We’ve done the homework for you and talked to two certified diabetes educators about their thoughts on the six fruits that are commonly forbidden if you have diabetes, and why they recommend their patients eat them. I spoke to a registered dietitian.

Why is fruit a concern for people with diabetes?

First of all, fruits are carbohydrates, one of the three macronutrients that we need to get in our daily diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy and have a direct effect on blood sugar levels, so if you have diabetes, they are one of the first nutrients your health care professional will advise you to watch out for.

Well, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are digested more quickly than their complex carbohydrate counterparts because they do not contain the fiber and other nutrients found in complex carbohydrates. However, keep in mind that foods such as fruit often contain both simple and complex carbohydrates. Fruits contain both simple natural sugars (fructose) and complex carbohydrates (fiber).

And that’s important when it comes to blood sugar levels. “Fruits often get a bad rap for diabetics because of their sugar content. However, while fruits contain natural sugars, they also contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. “It’s important to understand that all of this can improve your long-term health and fight future illnesses.” Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES; author of 2 days diabetes diet.

In fact, a systematic review and meta-analysis of 23 cohort studies in 2021 found that BMJ nutrition, prevention and health They conclude that high fruit intake is associated with a 7% lower risk of diabetes compared to low fruit intake.

6 ‘bad’ fruits to consume if you have diabetes


Although the low-fat diet trend may be losing steam, it’s important to note that if you have diabetes, you should also watch your fat intake. Having diabetes doubles your risk of heart disease. CDC.

However, not all fats are created equal. For example, avocado is a fruit that Palinski-Wade often hears from clients who worry that it has too much fat. “This unique fruit actually offers considerable health benefits,” she says. “Unlike most other fruits, avocados contain 0 grams of naturally occurring sugar per serving and do not affect blood sugar response.”

Additionally, it is mostly packed with unsaturated fatty acids. USDA, healthy fats that promote heart health.2019 clinical trials announced in nutrients They found that including half or a whole avocado at breakfast lowered blood sugar levels and insulin response in participants compared to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat breakfast. This study diabetes journal This study demonstrated that Hispanic or Latino adults with prediabetes who consumed avocados in their regular diet were 14% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. For a big dose of these healthy fats, try salmon-stuffed avocados.

2. Banana

One of the most popular fruits listed as “bad” for diabetes is the plain banana. However, don’t give in to this hype. “Unripe green bananas are a good source of resistant starch, a fiber that has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and fight insulin resistance,” Palinsky-Wade says.His 2023 review published in Frontiers of nutrition Researchers have found that certain resistant starch types have a direct positive impact on both glucose and insulin control, but further research is needed.

However, don’t discount yellow bananas. “Although riper bananas contain more sugar and have a greater impact on blood sugar levels, this fruit still provides a good source of fiber that supports gut health and appetite regulation.” she added.

As with all foods, portion size is key. Palinsky-Wade recommends choosing smaller bananas, ideally less than 6 to 7 inches, and pairing them with a source of protein and healthy fats to help balance blood sugar levels. Let’s make this diabetic-friendly banana bread recipe for breakfast today.

3. Mango

Tropical and delicious, mangoes are a mainstay of every cultural cuisine. Some people list mangoes as a prohibited food if you have diabetes, but a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator says: Kimberly Francis, RDN, CDCES, CNSC,i disagree. “One serving (3/4 cup) of mango provides 7% of your daily fiber needs. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, making it ideal for blood sugar management,” she says. explains.

2023 study published in metabolism open We compared the effects of fresh mango, dried mango, and white bread on participants’ feelings of satiety and blood sugar response after consumption. Interestingly, eating raw mangoes increases the feeling of fullness, reduces the desire to eat, and shows a more effective reduction in postprandial blood sugar levels, resulting in overall blood sugar levels compared to dried mangoes and white bread. has become more stable.

As for how to eat mango, “For a balanced, blood sugar-friendly meal, add a serving of mango to your Cobb salad for a little sweetness,” suggests Francis. Or try this Mango and Avocado Salad for dinner tonight.

4. Orange

Orange juice may get a bad rap for its sugar content, but Francis advises against breaking out all forms of this fruit too soon. “Oranges are famous for being rich in vitamin C, but one medium-sized orange also contains about 3 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer and helps you lose weight. and may support blood sugar management,” she explains.

Additionally, you can’t compare whole oranges and orange juice. That’s because orange juice contains very little dietary fiber. If you have diabetes, you may also consider pairing oranges with protein to help stabilize your blood sugar response, suggests Francis. For example, add orange wedges to the side of this spinach and mushroom frittata.

5. Prunes

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to avoid dried fruit even if you have diabetes. “People with diabetes often think that dried fruit has too much sugar and should be avoided, but that’s actually not the case. Prunes, for example, contain no sugar and are the lowest-carbohydrate dried fruit. “It’s a fruit. With 3 grams of natural fiber, prunes support gut health as well as blood sugar balance,” says Palinski-Wade.

Furthermore, the research results for 2022 are: advances in nutrition Daily consumption of prunes (also known as dried plums) has been shown to help protect bone density in postmenopausal women. Dr. Palinsky-Wade said this is “good news for people with diabetes because they are at higher risk for osteoporosis.” Prunes have no added sugar, so consider using them in place of sugar in recipes for nutritious sweet treats, like this chocolate-dipped walnut-stuffed prunes.

6. Watermelon

Watermelon tastes incredibly sweet, but it’s actually not just sugar. “One cup of diced watermelon contains 9 grams of natural sugar, which is less than the sugar in one cup of sliced ​​apple,” says Palinsky-Wade. Additionally, glycemic load is a measure of how quickly glucose enters the bloodstream and how much glucose is contained per serving. Harvard Medical School— only 5 pieces in a cup of watermelon, which is low on the GL scale, she added.

Additionally, watermelon also contains important antioxidants like lycopene, which may benefit cardiovascular health, a 2022 review suggests. International Journal of Molecular Science. Considering that people with diabetes are more likely to experience cardiovascular events related to the condition, it’s important to eat foods that positively impact heart health even if you have diabetes. To minimize the impact on blood sugar levels, consider pairing watermelon with a protein or dietary fat source, like this Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie with low-fat plain yogurt.


Fruit can (and should) be included in a balanced diet, whether you have diabetes or not. Although fruits contain sugar, they are also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that have positive effects on your health. Consider adding avocados, bananas, mangoes, oranges, prunes, and watermelon to your meal plan and pairing them with other nutrient-dense foods to help keep your blood sugar levels more stable. Working with a certified diabetes specialist or registered dietitian is a great way to learn how to eat your favorite foods, such as fruit, in a balanced diet if you have diabetes.

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