Fruits are known to be an essential component of a healthy diet. However, many people with diabetes are frequently asked to avoid fruits since they contain sugar.
Yes, fruits naturally contain sugar. But they are also rich in essential vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fibre that benefit us. Nevertheless, people with diabetes need to exercise caution. Fruit selection can significantly impact blood sugar levels.
When it comes to diabetes, the most common question is, “Can diabetics eat mango or banana?” If we have diabetes, fruits need to be included in our diets. The fruits’ fibre content can benefit us. When consuming fruits, diabetes patients need to think about the glycemic index and glycemic load since this affects blood sugar levels.
Things to consider when choosing fruits
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing fruits:
- The carbohydrate content: This accounts for all carbohydrate sources, not just sugar. We should limit our total carbohydrate intake when adding fruits to our diet.
- The glycemic index: This measures the food’s impact on blood sugar levels. The higher the glycemic index, the higher our blood sugar will spike. We should avoid fruits with a glycemic index of above 55.
- The glycemic load: This is the total carbohydrate and glycemic index. It measures the impact of food on blood sugar levels. Glycemic load below 10 is low, and 19 and above is high.
Fruits to avoid in diabetes
Here are some fruits we should consume in moderation if we have diabetes:
- Overripe bananas
However, we shouldn’t completely avoid these fruits. The goal should be to reduce the rate at which our blood sugar rises. For instance, our blood sugar will increase very quickly if we consume a high glycemic index fruit all by itself. However, fruits to avoid in diabetes can be consumed with food that is high in protein and healthy fats. This will lessen the impact of the sudden spike in blood sugar levels.
It is best to minimise or keep away from dried fruits, canned fruits, and fruit juices. Instead of dried fruit or liquids, choosing whole, fresh fruits can offer fibre and minerals while reducing blood sugar spikes.
Fruits with a high glycemic index
- Bananas: They have a glycemic index of 62. We must exercise portion control and not top-up bananas with cereals, which can spike blood sugar levels.
- Grapes: They have a glycemic index of 60. We should only have a handful of grapes, not a big bowl.
- Pineapples: They have a glycemic index of 56. Since pineapples are high-carb foods, we should forgo other carbohydrates, like potatoes and bread, to limit carbohydrate intake. We should also keep the serving size under 100 g.
- Watermelons: They have a glycemic index of 72. Since the glycemic load is 2 per 100 grams, watermelons can be consumed in moderation like other fruits.
Examples of low glycemic fruits
- Strawberry: Glycemic index of 45
- Pears: Glycemic index of 43
- Orange: Glycemic index of 40
- Apple: Glycemic index of 39
Can diabetics eat mango?
Mangoes are high in natural sugar. However, the glycemic index of mango is 51, which is classified as low GI food. Mangoes are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. Antioxidants help control blood sugar, and fibre slows down the body’s absorption of sugar.
So, can diabetics eat mango? Yes! Mango can still be a healthy food choice for people trying to improve blood sugar control.
However, some simple precautions must be taken when consuming mangoes and other fruits.
- We should eat mangos between our meals.
- We should consume about 100 grams or 1-2 slices of mango per day.
- We should reduce other carbohydrates in our meals and substitute them with mango or another fruit.
- We should add a source of protein to our diet.
- We should monitor blood sugar levels regularly.
- We should not mix fruits with curd, milk, or nuts.
- We should consume fresh fruits over canned fruits and juices.
We don’t need to deprive ourselves of the health benefits of fruits. We need not fret over fruits to avoid in diabetes. The key is to mind the limits and never forget moderation. When we crave carbohydrates, we should eat fruits instead of bakery products. We should always consult our doctor before consuming any food to know if it is safe to eat.