Diabetes and fruits - allowed to eat and which are strictly prohibited?

Diabetes and fruits - allowed to eat and which are strictly prohibited?

Diabetes and fruits - allowed to eat and which are strictly prohibited?
Diabetes and fruits - allowed to eat and which are strictly prohibited?

On the one hand, the presence of diabetes does not automatically mean a ban on fruit consumption - it is advisable only to take into account the content of fast carbohydrates (and therefore, portion size). On the other hand, fruit juices and fruit-based pastries are not allowed.

At the same time, nutritionists emphasize that complete rejection of fruit is a risky decision in terms of proper nutrition. The composition of the fruit contains not only vitamins and minerals, but also antioxidants -  flavonoids  necessary for the functioning of the brain and cardiovascular system.

//  Fruits in diabetes

diabetes fruit

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders associated with the body's inability to produce (or use properly) the hormone insulin, which is responsible for processing carbohydrates. With type 2 diabetes, blood glucose levels can rise to dangerous levels, harming your health.

In practice, the presence of diabetes requires control over the amount of  fast carbohydrates  (mainly glucose and fructose) per serving, as well as attention to the glycemic and insulin index of food. The higher these indices, the faster the food is processed into glucose and raises blood sugar.

It is important to note that for people with diabetes (and pre-diabetes), eating moderate amounts of fruit is obviously preferable to eating pastries with added sugar. The fiber  in the fruit balances the effects of carbohydrates.

Fructose - good or bad?

Fructose is a fast carbohydrate found in fruits and a key ingredient in regular table sugar. Unlike glucose (the second component of sugar), which requires a special enzyme to absorb, fructose is more easily converted into energy. It is absorbed in the colon and then transported to the liver.

The glycemic index of fructose is about three times lower than the GI of glucose - that is, it raises blood sugar levels three times slower. However, the human body is only able to process a limited amount of fructose (usually no more than 25 g).

Norms and recommendations for carbohydrates

Norms and recommendations for carbohydrates

The recommendations of the World Health Organization are that the diet of people with diabetes should contain a maximum of 50-55% of calories derived from complex carbohydrates - and no more than 5% of simple carbohydrates. At the same time, even for healthy people, fast carbs and sugar should be limited to 10%.

Among other things, diabetics need to consider the food's glycemic index (in simple words, the rate at which food raises blood glucose levels) as well as the glycemic load (depending on the total amount of carbohydrates in the serving).

Low carb diet and reversing diabetes

Current research shows that a low-carbohydrate diet is an easy way to control blood sugar levels, which can reverse type 2 diabetes. Often, the effectiveness of avoiding carbohydrates exceeds the potential of antidiabetic tablets.

On average, after 6 months of carbohydrate restriction, the effect is observed in 60% of patients. We usually talk about a maximum dose of 100-150 g of carbohydrates per day (about 20-25% of total caloric intake).

However, before starting a low-carb diet, we recommend that you consult with your healthcare professional to determine the daily carbohydrate intake you need.

Which fruits are allowed and which are forbidden?

Fruits, citrus fruits, watermelon, melon, avocado and coconut are the fruits with the lowest sugar content and the highest water content. Their use (in moderation) may be acceptable for diabetes, as long as it does not contradict your doctor's advice.

//  Fruit with the least amount of carbohydrates per 100 g:

  • Berry - 8g
  • Raspberries - 8 g
  • Blackberries - 8 g
  • Blueberries - 9g
  • Melon - 9 g
  • Avocado  - 9g
  • Coconut - 12g
  • Lemon - 9g
  • Plum - 12g
  • Melon  - 12g
  • Blueberries - 12g
  • Cherries - 13 g
  • Grapefruit - 13 g
  • Kiwi - 13 g

Sweet fruits

Sweeter fruits (listed below) are allowed in a diabetic diet only if strict control of blood sugar levels is not required. And once again we remind you that they can be eaten only in small quantities.

//  Sweet fruits (carbohydrate content per 100 g):

  • Banana  - 20g
  • Grapes - 17 g
  • Persimmon - 17 g
  • Sweet oranges - 14 g
  • Pineapple - 14g
  • Mango - 14 g
  • Papaya - 14g
  • Pomegranate - 14g

Dried fruits in diabetes

The most popular types of dried fruits are raisins, dried apricots, figs, dates and prunes. Unfortunately, they contain too many fast carbohydrates and are not recommended for diabetes.

Other fruits (pineapple, mango, kiwi, papaya, ginger, strawberries and other fruits) lose their shape when dried, so they are not dried at all, but caramelized in syrup.

Often such dried fruits contain up to 70-80% pure sugar in their composition - and are strictly prohibited.

***

In most cases, eating unsweetened fruit is good if you have diabetes (unless your doctor tells you otherwise). It is better to give preference to fruits, citrus fruits, watermelon, melon and avocado - ensuring that the total caloric content of the fruit consumed does not exceed 5% of daily calories.

Data sources:

  • WHO: Fruits and vegetables for health,  pdf
  • Dietary recommendations for people with diabetes,  source
  • Fruit carbohydrate content - according to FAO,  link