Locations:
Search IconSearch

Can You Eat Fruit If You Have Diabetes?

10 tips for enjoying fruit on a diabetes diet

Woman eating bowl of mixed fruits for snack

Fragrant, fuzzy peaches. Juicy watermelon. Tart berries. There’s nothing like fresh-picked fruits available at a farmers market or produce stand near you.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

But is fruit bad for diabetics? If you have diabetes, you might be a little wary of nature’s candy and the sugars they hold. “But don’t be scared of fruit,” says dietitian Kim Pierce, RD.

Here are 10 things to know about fruit and diabetes, including how to make them part of your healthy diet.

Fruit is healthy

Yes, fruits contain carbohydrates. And, yes, the body processes carbs into sugars. But you need healthy carbs to fuel your brain and red blood cells, Pierce says.

Plus, fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. “Fruit contains nutrients that can lower your risk of cancer and heart disease,” she adds. “You should eat some every day.”

Fiber is your friend

Fruit does have natural sugars, but its high fiber content balances the sugars, Pierce explains. “Fiber slows down digestion. That helps us feel full longer and prevents spikes in blood sugar.”

Get your daily servings

Dietary guidelines recommend five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. That’s true whether or not you have diabetes, Pierce says. Since fruits have more calories and sugar than veggies, try to strike a balance. She recommends breaking up your five servings into three veggie servings and two fruit servings.

Eat whole fruit

“All fruit is fair game, but fresh is best,” Pierce says.

The best fruit for diabetics — and everyone, really — is fresh fruit. Whole fresh or frozen fruits should be your go-to, since they’re full of fiber and other nutrients.

Processed fruits like applesauce and canned fruits are the worst fruits for diabetics since they can increase blood sugar more quickly. Dried fruits can also be healthy, Pierce says, but watch your portion size. Two tablespoons of raisins contain as many grams of carbohydrates as a small apple.

Fruits to avoid for diabetics

As always, let nutrition labels be your guide. If you’re wondering what fruits to avoid in diabetes-friendly diets, skip fruits canned in syrup since that means added sugar. Some dried and frozen fruits can also have sugar added, so read the fine print.

Skip juice

Fruit juice has a lot of concentrated sugars without any fiber, so it can increase blood sugars quickly,” Pierce says. If you’re really craving juice, limit your portion to a half-cup serving.

Pay attention to portions

Fruit is healthy, but you still have to practice moderation, Pierce says. Try to space out your fruit throughout the day. (In other words, don’t eat an entire bag of grapes in one sitting.)

In general, one serving is a small- to medium-sized piece of whole fruit, or ¾ to 1 cup of fruit like melon or berries.

Advertisement

Choose smarter sweets

Fruit is a terrific option to satisfy a sweet tooth, says Pierce. One word of caution: If you’re craving something super-specific, like a brownie, it may be better to just eat a small piece of the chocolatey goodness. Otherwise, you might be circling back to fruits and other sweet things all day in a futile attempt to quash that craving.

What fruits are good for diabetics?

If you’re wondering what fruits are good for diabetics, it’s pretty much the same list as non-diabetics: eat the rainbow. Different colors of fruits and vegetables have different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. To get all the good stuff, look for a ROYGBIV of fruits (and veggies) — from red strawberries to deep purple blackberries (and all the colors in between).

Ask the experts

Fruit is part of a healthy diet, but it’s always smart to get guidance from nutrition experts before you dive into a bowl of watermelon. “Check in with a diabetes educator or a registered dietitian to develop a healthy meal plan,” Pierce advises.

Advertisement

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Blister on bottom of big toe
June 11, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
5 Ways To Avoid Blisters (and the Best Way To Treat Them)

Wear properly fitted shoes, break them in ahead of time and wear moisture-wicking socks

Bowl of partially peeled tamarind
May 8, 2024/Nutrition
5 Reasons To Try Tamarind

With a sweet, tangy flavor, this tropical fruit is super versatile and high in antioxidants

Person halving apricots and removing pits on cutting board
May 6, 2024/Nutrition
8 Health Benefits of Apricots

Full of antioxidants and nutrients, apricots may boost your eye, skin, digestive and overall health

Water in mason jar mug with cucumber, blueberries and lemon
May 1, 2024/Nutrition
Why You Might Want To Give Flavored Water a Chance

If you’re trying to drink less soda or fewer sugary drinks, flavored water can be a delicious and healthy alternative

Juiced fruits and veggies dispensing from a juicer on counter in kitchen
April 24, 2024/Weight Loss
What You Need To Know About Juicing for Weight Loss

Juicing cleanses don’t target fat loss — and you’ll lose important nutrients in the process

Variety of cereals in different bowls
Here’s What To Know About Choosing Cereal if You Have Diabetes

There are better breakfast options, but if it’s got to be cereal, look for whole grains, high fiber and no added sugar

Hand holding glucose measurement device, with bottle of water in background at night
Are Religious Fasts Safe for People With Diabetes?

Planning ahead, checking in with your care team and being vigilant about blood sugar monitoring can help ensure a safe fast

healthcare provider writing in notes, with glucometer, blood droplet, medicine and approved foods floating near
How Stress and Depression Affect Diabetes

A diabetes diagnosis, new or long-standing, can trigger reactions like grief, stress, depression and frustration, but symptom relief and help are available

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims

Ad