Fruits are a healthy part of a balanced diet, both as a snack and as part of a meal. They provide important nutrients such as fiber, vitamin c, potassium, and so much more. Fresh fruits are low in fat, sodium, and calories. However, fruits aren’t all created equally. Some fruits are high in sugar and can cause blood glucose to spike. In this article, we’ll explore what foods to avoid, and which ones to eat as you manage your diabetes.
If you stroll through any grocery store across America, the first thing you’ll be greeted with is the fresh produce aisle, and there’s a reason why. On a subconscious level, fresh fruits and vegetables act as an invitation to eat. Biologically speaking, our brains are hardwired to seek out the bright colors and sweet aromas that come from these edibles. Today, supermarkets provide easy access to food, but before grocery stores, early humans had to rely on their senses to determine if food found in the wild should be eaten. Over time, we’ve come to associate healthy foods with colors, scents, and even taste.
Fruits by definition are the seed-bearing structure of flowering plants. Their bright colors, delicious tastes, and sweet aromas helped to attract animals (and humans), entice them to eat, and then help spread the seeds to make sure new plants would grow. Seedless fruits do exist, but in nature, these were fruits that had not been fertilized (in the reproductive sense of the word).
Fruit to Avoid or Limit if You Have Diabetes
It’s a common misconception that those with diabetes have to avoid fruits due to their sugar content. However, the sugar found in fresh fruits isn’t the same as sugars that you’ll find in processed foods and sugary snacks. Free sugars, also known as refined sugars, are sugars that are added to foods. These sugars have a huge effect on your glucose levels, while sugars in fruits do not have as great of an effect. With that being said, there is still in effect, and as such, fruits should be counted towards your carbohydrates, according to the ADA. There are also some fruits that should be kept in moderation because they are higher in sugar than others.
Fruits with a high glycemic index:
- Dried dates
- Overly ripe bananas
Fruit to Eat if You Have Diabetes
Fruits with a low glycemic index:
- Tart cherries
Fruits and Fruit Products to Completely Avoid
We’ve included the list below of fruits and fruit products to completely avoid. These often times contain added sugars and can lack many of the nutrients that make fruits healthy.
- Fruit juices
- Sweetened fruits
- Dried fruits with added sugar
Eating fruits are a healthy way to curve sugar cravings and to add important nutrients to a person’s diet. Although fruits do contain sugar, fresh fruits do not contain free sugars, which can affect a person’s glucose levels. They also contain high amounts of fiber, which aids in digestion and helps regulate the absorption of sugar.