The commonest question that people who have diabetes
ask is `Can I eat fruit as they are very sweet?`. There is
a misconception that the people who have diabetes should avoid
fruits as they contain, `lots of sugar`. But this is not true.
Fruit is the food that has been enjoyed by mankind from the
very earliest of times. In fact, it is nature`s gift to man. They
contain substantial quantities of essential nutrients in correct
proportions. Fruits contain substantial quantities of sugar in the
process of ripening. The important fruit sugars are fructose,
sucrose, dextrose, glucose etc.
The people with diabetes generally judge the fruits by taste; so
they tend to avoid the sweeter fruits - such as mangoes, grapes,
pineapple, chickoo etc. Fruits such as apple, papaya, water melon
etc. which are comparatively less sweet in taste are generally
Another popular misconception is regarding banana. Though
banana is not very sweet in taste, it is thought of as a very
starchy fruit and hence is avoided. But the fact is that none of
the ripe fruits contain starch. All the starch is converted to simple
sugars during the process of ripening.
It is necessary therefore for a person with diabetes to know
that all fruits contain sugar. The amount of sugar present in
fruits having the same weight is however different. For example
a banana weighing 100 gms. contains approximately
25 gms of carbohydrates while an apple having same
weight contains 13 gms of carbohydrate. Therefore, it is
important not only to watch which fruit is being consumed
but how much quantity is being consumed. Even though
fruits contain simple sugars they are very good sources of
several vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, all of which are
essential for good health.
Fruits are very good sources of fibre. Fibre can be divided
into two groups-soluble and insoluble. Fruits provide mainly
fibre-pectin. Soluble fibres have the ability to delay the
gastric emptying and thereby slow the rate of digestion and
absorption of nutrients. Both the soluble and insoluble fibre has shown to have an important role in maintaining normal blood
glucose levels, reducing obesity and preventing constipation.
Generally, fruits are very good sources of antioxidants such as
vitamin-C and vitamin-A. An average of 100-150 gms of fruits can
give an adult his daily vitamin-C requirements. This vitamin helps
to improve body`s resistance to infection. But all the fruits are not good sources
of vitamin-C. The fruits which are good sources of vitamin include
guava, custard-apple, amla and citrus fruits (lime, lemon, orange,
mosambi, grape fruits etc.) The other nutrient which is present in
fruits is beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin-A. The yellow and
deep-orange coloured fruits like mango and papaya are excellent
sources of vitamins. Tomato, orange, muskmelon, and rose apple
are also fairly good sources of carotene. Some fruits are very
rich in B-complex vitamins These include banana, custard-apple
(sitaphal), pineapple etc. Essential minerals such as sodium,
potassium, calcium etc are found in fruits like sitaphal, chickoo,
citrus fruits, amla, guava etc. Fruits such as lemon, guava,
watermelon, chickoo etc. provide iron and other trace elements.
Better take whole fruits rather than fruit juices. In addition to the
loss of fibre in the fruit juices, nearly half of the vitamins and
mineral contents are also lost while preparing and straining the juice. Apart from this, the satiety value of a whole fruit is much
greater than an equivalent amount of fruit juice.