In a healthy diabetic diet, you can actually eat whatever you want, as long as it is in moderation and your blood sugar level is within the target range. If you are craving an Oreo, eat one cookie instead of a whole pack, a spoonful of cake instead of a slice, or a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee instead of a tablespoon.
The same logic works when it comes to fruits. Fruits receive a bad rap to most diabetics since it contains carbohydrates and fructose. Other fruits really do contain more sugar than others, but it does not necessarily imply that diabetics should not eat them. In fact, the American Diabetes Association or ADA said that fruits are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and should be a part a healthy diabetic diet. Be mindful of your portions just like you would with any other carb.
The only downside of eating fruits with higher carb content is that you should consume a smaller portion. You can definitely eat a low-carb or high-carb fruit considering the serving size contains 15 grams of carbs, at most and your blood sugar level stays normal.
These fruits contain 15 grams of carbs:
- ½ medium banana
- ½ cup or 83 grams of cubed mango
- 1 ¼ cups or 190 grams of cubed watermelon
- 1 ¼ cups or 180 grams of whole strawberries
- 1/3 cup or 80 grams cubed sapodilla or chikoo
- ¾ cup or 124 grams of cubed pineapples
However, there are certain fruits that are low in carbs and can help in managing your blood sugar. Satisfy your cravings with these low glycemic index super-fruits – frozen or fresh.
Blueberries are low in sugar – with only 10 grams of sugar in every 100 grams of fruit. What’s amazing is that the sugar in blueberries is accompanied by 2 grams of fiber – consuming fiber and sugar together prevents your blood sugar to spike quickly. The same concept applies to why 10 grams of fresh fruit would not do much to your blood sugar level compared to 10 grams of sugar from candies.
The benefits of blueberries do not stop there. This super fruit contains nutrients and antioxidants that protect your cells from damage. Studies proved that people who ate the most blueberries in a span of two decades lowered their risk of getting diabetes by 25% than those who did not.
All these amazing benefits come with a price. Fresh blueberries can be expensive to some people, so opt for frozen blueberries instead. They contain the same amount of nutrients for a lower price. Add blueberries to your salad or eat them fresh.
Grapes contain 16 grams of sugar in every 100 grams of fruit. You would think that 16 grams is too much, but studies show that people who ate a lot of grapes lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 12% over those who do not.
Polyphenols found in grapes are shown to help in managing blood sugar levels. Another phytochemical found in grapes called resveratrol is also known to balance out blood sugar levels by positively affecting how your body secretes and uses insulin.
Apples contain 10 grams of sugar in every 100 grams of fruit – equivalent to a small apple. Just like blueberries and grapes, apples are said to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Not only that, apples are also shown to lower the risk of stroke. This is important since strokes commonly happen to people with diabetes.
Another study has shown that 75,000 people who ate the most apples and pears for over 10 years lowered their risk of stroke by 11%. The skin of an apple contains two grams of fiber, so be sure to eat it too.
With or without diabetes, an apple a day definitely keeps the doctor away. Feel free to add apples to your healthy diet. They are affordable and delicious – perfect for a morning or afternoon snack.
In every 100 grams of sweet watermelon there is only 6 grams of sugar. This mouth-watering fruit is low in calories since it is mostly made up of water. Watermelons are a great source of lycopene which has been proven to improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels and the lower the risk of developing a type 2 diabetes. Lycopene also reduces the effects of nerve damage caused by diabetes.
Watermelon is also high in potassium. This aids in the proper functioning of your kidneys which will then keep your uric acid levels at bay. Potassium prevents kidney damage for diabetics.
Still, be mindful of your portions when eating watermelon because it can cause digestive stress because it is high in FODMAPs.
Blackberries are known to be the best berry out of all the other berries. In every 100 grams of blackberries, there are only 5 grams of sugar and a whopping 5 grams of fiber. These berries work best for a high-fiber diet for diabetics. This kind of diet helps with the sugar metabolism and improves insulin sensitivity as well.
Incorporating fiber into your diet reduces LDL cholesterol and aids in weight management.
Just like blackberries, strawberries contain 5 grams of sugar in every 100 grams of fruit. Strawberries give you tons of benefits such as fiber, manganese, folate, and loads of Vitamin C – 100 grams of strawberries (5 to 6 large strawberries) covers 98% of your daily vitamin C requirements.
Strawberries are low in glycemic index, so it is slowly released into the bloodstream as glucose. It also aids in weight loss by increasing your metabolism.
Strawberries are best eaten alone, added to breakfast oats or mixed with plain Greek yogurt.
An orange contains 15 grams of carbs and only 62 calories. A single orange covers all the vitamin C your body requires in a day.
Oranges are low in glycemic index and contain folate and potassium which aid in normalizing blood pressure. Flavonols, flavanones and phenolic acid in oranges have a positive effect when it comes to glucose metabolism. It also hinders the transport of glucose to the intestine and liver. Other citrus fruits like grapefruits, also share the same benefits with oranges.
Shrug off the misconception that you cannot eat fruits when you are diabetic. The only secret is portion control. Control what you eat, count carbs, and keep your blood sugar level within the target range. However, there are ‘fruits’ that are can do harm more harm than good:
- Artificial fruit juices containing added sugar
- Dried fruits
Both of them can drastically increase your blood sugar level and can easily lead to overeating.