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Can a Diabetic Eat Fruits?
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 consumed.

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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.

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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.

Fruits Nutritive Value / grams

One fruit exchange provides 60 calories, 15g CHO

Fruits Amounts Fruits Amounts Fruits Amounts
Amla 110 Grapes fruits 150 Papaya 210
Apple 115 Guava 140 Pears 140
Banana All varieties 60 Jack fruits 80 Pine apple  
Cape goose berry 140 Jambu 110 Plum 140
Cashew fruits 130 Lemon 200 Pomegranate 105
Cherries - red 110 Lime 150 Raisin 20
Dates(fresh) 45 Mango 90 Sapota 70
Dates(dried) 20 Mush Melon 450 Seethaphal 60
Fig(fresh) 200 Water melon 500 Tomato 400
Grapes(blue) 120 Orange 140 Wood apple 80
Grapes(green) 90 Palmyra fruits 70 Ziz phus 90

Delicious recipes with fruits

Mixed fruits in equal quantities. (Mangoes, Chickoo, Banana, Apple) - 60 gms
Brown bread - 2 slices
Milk - 200 ml
Custard powder - 5 gms
Saccharin - 3 tablets


  1. Make custard with 150 ml. milk and refrigerate it. Cut fruits finely.
  2. Dip bread in 50 ml milk.
  3. Put fruits in the center of one slice and cover it with another slice.
  4. Squeeze them tight and roll into a ball gently.
  5. While serving, keep the ball in a bowl and pour custard on top.
  6. Decorate with a cherry.

Nutritive Value
Total Calories - 325 Kcals
Carbohydrates - 55 gms
Protein - 10 gms
Fat - 7 gms
Serves - 4 people


Ripe Banana - 50 gms
Curds - 100 gms
Green Chillies - 1/2 small
Ginger finely chopped - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Coriander leaves - for garnishing


  1. Cut banana into pieces.
  2. Mix with curds, finely chopped green chillies, ginger and salt.
  3. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Nutritive Value
Total Calories - 120 Kcals
Carbohydrates - 17 gms
Protein - 3 gms
Fat - 3.5 gm
Serves - 2 people

S Revathi, Dietician,

Image: Flickr/creativecommons/DeusXFlorida

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