7 Fruits to Avoid if You Have Diabetes

Fruit is not forbidden but some choices are better than others

If you have diabetes, chances are someone has said that you are not allowed to eat fruit. This is not true; people with diabetes can eat fruit as part of their healthy eating plan. But, because fruit is a carbohydrate, it will affect your blood sugar and you cannot eat unlimited amounts.

Certain fruits may cause your blood sugars to spike at a quicker pace than others. The tricky part about eating with diabetes is that everyone responds to food differently. While one person may be able to eat apples without any issue, someone else may find that apples cause their blood sugars to spike. Testing your blood sugars before and after eating fruit can help you to determine which fruits are best for you.

Other ways to keep blood sugars controlled while enjoying fruit is to think about the context in which you eat it. You'll have a better chance at keeping your blood sugars controlled if you avoid juice altogether, limit your fruit servings to no more than two-to-three per day (one serving = 15 g of carbohydrate), pair your fruit with protein or include it into your meal as part of your carbohydrate choice, and avoid fruits that are very ripe. The riper a fruit is the higher its glycemic index, which means it will raise your blood sugar more than a food with a low glycemic index.

In addition to juice, there are certain fruits that make my do-not-eat list. These fruits have been placed on this list either because they have a higher glycemic index or because most people overeat them, which results in higher blood sugar. 

1
Grapes

Green and Purple Graps
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One small grape contains one gram of carbohydrate, which means that 15 grapes are considered one serving of fruit. Odds are that if you are eating grapes, you are eating way more than 15.

To avoid overeating, it's best to either count them and put them into a small bowl, or avoid temptation and choose to eat a fruit such as berries. You can eat 1 1/4 cup of strawberries for the same amount of carbohydrate as fifteen grapes. 

2
Cherries

cherries on plate
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Most people don't stop eating cherries at just a handful, which is why eating cherries will usually result in blood sugar spikes. Similar to grapes, one cherry contains one gram of carbohydrate. If you find that yourself snacking on a big bowl of cherries, it's probably best to avoid them altogether. 

3
Pineapple

Bowl of Large, Ripe Pineapples
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Fresh pineapple is delicious and sweet, especially when it's very ripe, which makes it a high glycemic index food. Depending on how you slice it, the thickness and width can change the amount of carbohydrates and make it easy to overeat too.

If you must eat pineapple, stick to a 1/2 cup serving (pineapple cut into chunks) and aim to eat it with a meal or a protein-rich food such as low-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese. Avoid canned pineapple that has been sweetened with sugar. If you are buying canned pineapple, purchase the no sugar added variety. 

4
Mango

Mango cut in cubes
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Ever eat an entire mango in one sitting? You are not alone. Depending on the size, an entire mango will cost you about 30 grams of carbohydrate and about 26 grams of sugar.

If you do eat mango, make sure to limit your portion to 1/2 and aim to eat it when it's a bit more firm. As the mango softens, it becomes riper and its glycemic index—the rate at which it can increase blood sugar —will rise. 

5
Banana

Full Frame Shot of Yellow Bananas
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You may have heard that bananas are too sweet. It's not that bananas are actually sweeter than other fruit choices. Rather, one medium banana contains the same amount of carbohydrate in two servings of another fruit choice, such as one small piece of fruit or 3/4 cup of blueberries.

If you do eat a banana, stick to 1/2 and place the other half in the refrigerator for a later time. 

6
Dried Fruit

View of Dried Fruit
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Dried fruit, especially varieties that have been coated in yogurt, chocolate or sugar contains a large amount of carbohydrates for a small portion. Two tablespoons of raisins has the same amount of carbohydrate as one cup of raspberries or one small piece of fruit. Replace dried fruit with fresh fruit to add volume to your meal plan and reduce the sugar content.

7
Fruit Juice

Fruit Juice
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Unless you are experiencing hypoglycemia, fruit juice (even 100% fruit juice) should be avoided. Think about how many oranges it takes to make one cup of juice - many more than one. One eight ounce cup of orange juice contains 30 grams of carbohydrate, 30 grams of sugar and no fiber.

The body doesn't have to do a great deal of work to break down the sugar in juice, therefore it is metabolized quickly and raises blood sugars within minutes. Juice can also tack on extra calories without affecting your satiety and therefore can prevent weight loss and even promote weight gain. Swap fruit juice for whole fruit, and limit your portions to no more than two-to-three per day. 

Sources: 

American Diabetes Association. Glycemic Index and Diabetes

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