People living with diabetes often ask "Can I eat fruit?"
As a general guideline, whether or not you have
diabetes, the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
recommends eating a healthy, balanced diet including two
serves of fruit each day.
Moderate consumption of
fruit provides fibre, vitamins, minerals, and
antioxidants important for nutrition.
However, fruit can have varied effects on individual blood
glucose levels (BGLs) so there are some important factors
to consider when selecting your fruit options.
Fruits can be high in carbohydrates and simple sugars
so the glycemic index (GI) of a particular
fruit or meal containing fruit can affect BGLs.
GI is a way of describing how quickly a
carbohydrate-containing food is broken down and enters the blood
stream, and how this affects BGLs.
Foods with a low GI raise blood glucose more slowly,
and BGLs do not spike high as they do with high
GI carbohydrate foods. Generally, fruits which have
less effect upon BGLs are fibre rich; for example, an
orange or apple.
When choosing fruit remember that the preparation of fruit
can affect blood glucose.
Whole fresh or frozen fruits are more nutritious and less
inclined to affect BGLs than processed fruits and fruit
juices, smoothies and other fruit blends which are absorbed
more rapidly, leading to BGL spikes.
Dried fruit has water removed and has a high concentration
of natural sugar.
Frozen or tinned fruit are suitable options if
fresh fruit is not available.
Try to avoid the fruit in syrup and look for tinned
fruit that contains natural fruit
juice, draining the excess juice before eating.
To increase your fruit intake, fresh or frozen
berries are a great choice.
Berries have many healthy nutrients; for example,
anti-oxidants and vitamin c, which help fight infection, and have
less fructose concentration or natural sugar than other fruits such
as dates or overripe bananas.
This means they are less likely to spike your blood
glucose. Add berries to breakfast cereal, eat as a snack, or
combine with natural yoghurt for a tasty dessert.
Please note that these recommendations are a general guideline.
If you would like more individualised advice, please contact
an Accredited Practising Dietitian.