I’m Diabetic, Can I Eat Fruit?

How many times have you heard about the dangers of fruit and diabetes? It seems as though every week there’s a new terrifying article or blog post about fruit and why diabetics should avoid them. It’s a much misunderstood topic, and one which is doing untold harm by leading people down the wrong path.

At Fight Diabetes, we’re here to help. In this article we’re going to discuss the great diabetes fruit myth to set the record straight.

Why Do People Think Fruit is Bad For a Diabetic?

I’m Diabetic, Can I Eat Fruit

There are trends in the medical world. New research is published each and every day as medical science attempts to better understand disease. There is also blogging trend, or popular news item trends. You’d think that this is a good thing – and it is, mostly – but in some instances popular news vendors and bloggers get hold of a scientific quote and build an entire bookful of articles out of it.

That’s exactly what’s happened with fruit and the diabetic diet.

It all stems from juicing. Over the last decade more and more people begin their day by blending fruits and vegetables in a juicer and drinking them down. Such a drink is packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants… the list goes on. People were lulled into a false sense of security.

I’m drinking fruit and vegies, it must be good for me!

That isn’t such a strange idea to have, but it’s only part of the issue.

Sugar is Sugar, Regardless

When you drink a large glass of processed fruit juice, or one you’ve created yourself in a juicer, you are getting an overload of great nutrients – but you’re also ingesting a large amount of sugar! As reported in the Daily Mail, just one glass of apple juice can have as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar.

As juicing became a craze, suddenly people started questioning – what about all of the sugar?

You see, fruit has a lot of fiber. In fact, it’s one of the reasons it’s so good for the human digestive system. That fiber locks in all that sugar, as your body digests it, some of the sugar is released into your system, but slowly over time. With fruit juice, the sugar is absorbed into your system immediately: all of it!

It’s easy to see then why there’s been this rush to suddenly condemn juicing as a bad thing (it’s not, with a caveat which we’ll get to below).

Fruit Juice and Diabetes

For Type 2 diabetics especially, large spikes in sugar are to be avoided. In fact, constantly overwhelming your body with sugar actually puts you at risk of developing diabetes in the first place, wreaking havoc on your ability to produce and regulate insulin.

Fruit juice is like an espresso form of sugar. That glucose is going to spike your blood sugar levels within minutes. In fact as soon as you taste the sweetness your body begins to prepare itself to receive the sugar.

However, and this is very important, fruit juice is still markedly better for you than sugary drinks. In fact in limited amounts most diabetics can still enjoy the odd glass of OJ. The key here is not to drink too much fruit juice, and to always recognize that there is still a lot of sugar present.

But what about whole fruit?

Dispel the Myth

Whole fruits are great for you. They provide essential vitamins and other nutrients required to operate optimally. What this fervent drive to demonise fruit juice has done is persuade people with diabetes that they need to avoid fruit entirely. The reason for this is that many articles focus on the sugar content and not on the fact that fiber helps to alleviate this issue, releasing sugar slowly into the system.

At Fight Diabetes, we believe in making sure you have the information at hand to do just that – fight diabetes! Fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet. Of course, this should be varied, and many vegetables have a better glycemic index, but fruit is still a must.

Read this article about what foods you can eat or which ones you should avoid when you have diabetes.

If you are diabetic, fruit consumption is absolutely fine as part of a balanced diet. Dispel the myth that it’s dangerous, and if you must juice your fruit, make sure the bulk of your juices are vegetables!

Check out this great video on eating vegetables and fruit when you have diabetes:

What do you think about fruit and diabetes? Do you eat fruit as part of a healthy diet? Let us know in the comments section below!


Sripathi R. Kethu, M.D. FACG.

Sripathi R. Kethu, M.D. FACG.

Dr Kethu is a practicing Gastroenterologist. He is a healthcare and real estate entrepreneur. He writes frequently on topics related to health care, healthy living, and physical fitness. He is the author of Amazon’s best-selling book, “The IBS Guide”. He is an avid marathon runner and is on track to finish his 100th marathon in 2024.

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