Why You Should Know the Amount of Carbohydrates in Your Fruit

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When you're trying to eat well with diabetes, carbohydrates play a major role. Empty carbs with little or no fiber, such as white bread, bagels, and pasta can make your blood sugar soar (especially when you don't keep them portion controlled). Fruit is a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. But the natural sugar in fruit makes it a carbohydrate, too. Many people believe that if they have diabetes, they cannot eat fruit.

This is not true. However, the amount of fruit you should eat daily and in one sitting should be portion controlled. Keeping a log or track of the carbohydrates you eat is important for regulating your blood sugar. 

Why Is Knowing the Amount of Carbohydrates You Eat Important?

While eating a healthy diet includes incorporating lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, people with diabetes always need to consider the amount of carbohydrates that they are eating in one sitting and in an entire day. Calories and fat grams also play a role in trying to eat healthier, but you probably don't need to count them or record them in order to get your blood sugars under control. The food choice that impacts blood sugars the most is carbohydrates. That is why we often recommend that people with diabetes try to follow some sort of consistent carbohydrate diet - meaning they eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time daily.

For example, if you are prescribed a diet that includes 45g of carbohydrates for dinner that means you should eat about 45g of carbohydrate for dinner daily. That doesn't mean you have to eat the same food for dinner daily, but you should try to eat the same amount of carbohydrates. 

Where Does Fruit Fit In?

Fruit can be part of a healthy diabetes diet.

Fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Fruit is low in calories and virtually fat free. The amount of fruit you eat daily should probably be limited to about two-to-three servings daily. It isn't scientifically proven, but many people say that when they pair fruit with protein, their blood sugars are better. Therefore, try not to eat fruit by itself; instead incorporate it as part of your carbohydrate allotment for your meal. If you are eating fruit as a snack, pair it with a small amount of protein such as a low-fat Greek yogurt, a handful of nuts, or spoonful of nut butter. Avoid fruit juice unless your blood sugar is low. Certain fruit may increase blood sugars more than others, therefore there maybe some fruits you want to avoid: Fruits to Avoid if You Have Diabetes 

In addition, if you are keeping track of your carbs, it's good to know that some fruits are lower in carbs than others, while still packing a great nutritional punch: What Fruits Can You Eat if You Have Diabetes

Another way to find the healthiest fruit choices and their carbohydrate content is by using an online nutrition website, like About.com's Calorie Count. I researched a variety of fruit and found the calories and carbs for each, on Calorie Count. Use Calorie Count to check out the carb count on your favorite fruits, or use the handy chart below to help you make good fruit choices in your daily meal plans.

KNOW THE CARBS IN YOUR FRUIT
FRUITPortionCaloriesCarbs (in grams)
APPLE3-1/4" diameter11030
BANANA1 medium10527
PEAR1 medium9626
WATERMELON1 wedge8622
ORANGE3-1/16th" diameter8622
GRAPES1 cup6216
PEACH2-3/4" diameter6115
CANTALOPE1 cup cubes5413
PINEAPPLE3-1/2"-3/4" slice diameter4211
STRAWBERRIES1 cup whole4611

 

Sources:

American Diabetes Association. Standards of Care. Diabetes Care. 2016;39(Suppl. 1):S1–S119

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