Low Sugar Fruits: Diabetes and More

Fruits offer a lot of nutritional benefits. They contain several essential nutrients, such as vitamin A and potassium, which support your immune health. They also contain dietary fiber, which promotes digestion and lowers cholesterol levels.Even if you have diabetes, it is important that fruits remain a part of your diet. This is because fruits, especially low sugar types, can actually help balance your blood sugar level.

This article explains why low sugar fruits are good for your health. It also lists the best fruits to eat if you have diabetes.

Fruits, diabetes, and health

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Sugar is present in most fruits, but certain fruits have more sugar than others.

Eating low sugar or low carbohydrate fruits increases blood sugar levels less than high sugar or high carbohydrate fruits.

Long-term high blood sugar levels can lead to health complications, though it is not always the result of high sugar fruits. These can complications include:

  • heart disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • nerve damage
  • issues with the feet
  • issues with oral health
  • issues with vision and hearing
  • mental health concerns

Consuming high sugar fruits alongside protein can help prevent blood sugar spikes.

How can you ensure that you are eating the correct amount of low sugar fruits?

The sections below compare different fruits according to their sugar content. A person with diabetes can still enjoy these foods, but they may wish to limit their portion sizes and pair them with fiber and protein.

Read more about diabetes here.

Citrus fruits contain many important vitamins and minerals, such as:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B6
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • folate
  • fiber
  • niacin
  • thiamine

Together, these vitamins and minerals can boost your immune system and increase your resistance to certain diseases.

Below is a list of some citrus fruits, including ones that are especially low in carbohydrates.

One lemon contains about 6 grams (g) of carbohydrates, 1.8 g of fiber, and 19 calories.

Lemons are also rich in vitamin C, which can help lower your risk of some of the potential complications of diabetes. These include chronic heart disease and kidney disease.

Limes are high in antioxidants, which are compounds that can lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.

A medium lime weighs around 67 g and consists of:

  • 20 calories
  • 7 g of carbohydrates
  • 1.9 g of fiber
  • vitamin C
  • some vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus

A single orange (140 g) gives you 92% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C.

You will also get 3 g of dietary fiber as well as trace amounts of folate, iron, and potassium.

Grapefruit offers several health benefits.

Half a grapefruit consists of:

  • 36.9 calories
  • 1.35 g of fiber
  • 9.22 g of carbohydrates
  • significant amounts of vitamins A and C

Overall, grapefruit’s low calorie and high vitamin C content can promote a strong immune system and help you manage your weight.

Berries also have a high nutritional value. They are abundant sources of vitamin C and potassium. They also provide copper, manganese, and folate.

In fact, studies indicate that berries can help improve your insulin sensitivity and lower your blood pressure.

The following sections show how different types of berries can benefit your health.

The constituent nutrients of a raspberry mean that it can:

  • lower your cholesterol
  • lower your blood pressure
  • lower your blood sugar level
  • increase your insulin sensitivity

Specifically, 100 g of raspberries provide about:

  • 11.9 g of carbohydrates
  • 6.5 g of fiber
  • around 26.2 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C

A 100-g serving of strawberries contains lots of water (around 91.1 g) and very few carbohydrates (around 7.63 g). A serving of this size also contains 1.8 g of fiber.

Strawberries also contain good amounts of vitamin C and folate, which can work together to promote your immune function.

Due to their low carbohydrate and high fiber content, blackberries can help keep your blood sugar level from spiking.

More specifically, 100 g of blackberries contain 9.61 g of carbohydrates, 21 mg of vitamin C, and 5.3 g of fiber.

Kiwis provide a good amount of fiber, which helps slow down the release of glucose into your bloodstream.

Two medium kiwis, or 150 g, contain about 87 calories, 21 g of carbohydrates, and 4.5 g of fiber.

How does fruit benefit health?

Besides vitamins and minerals, fruits also contain powerful plant compounds known as phytochemicals.

These phytochemicals offer several health benefits of their own, including:

  • lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke
  • protecting your cells from cancer
  • Strengthening your immune system
  • Reducing inflammation in your body

Some of the most beneficial phytochemicals include beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene. These are present in tomatoes, oranges, and watermelons, among other fruits.

If you have diabetes, it is especially important that you carefully pick the types of fruits you eat. This is because the types of fruit you eat can affect your blood sugar level.

High sugar fruits should be limited to small portion sizes and consumed with sources of protein as part of a balanced meal or snack.

  • High sugar fruits: Fruits high in sugar include bananas, mangoes, and pineapples.
  • Processed fruits: Processed fruits — including fruits packaged in cans, jars, and plastics — may not be beneficial to your health. This is because they may contain added sugar and other preservatives. Be sure to choose canned or jarred fruits that are packed in fruit juice rather than sweetened syrup.
  • Fruits that trigger an allergic reaction: If you have had an allergic reaction to any particular fruit in the past, you may wish to avoid that fruit. Have your doctor or a dietitian draft a fruit diet plan for you if you feel the need.

Having different ways to eat fruits can increase your fruit intake and boost the overall benefits you get from fruits.

Here are some ways to eat fruits:

  • fresh fruits: Properly washed, whole fruits are a nutritious option.
  • Frozen fruits: Frozen fruits last longer than fresh ones and still provide a good amount of nutrients.
  • Salad: Putting some layers of various fresh fruits together to form a salad can also be a healthy way to eat fruits.
  • natural juice: Blending some choice fruits to form a natural juice is another way to go.
  • dried fruits: Adding a few tablespoons of dried fruits to your diet can help make it more balanced.

Fruits are rich sources of minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. However, certain fruits contain a high amount of sugar.

To keep your blood sugar level from spiking, you may want to limit high sugar fruits or pair them with protein and fiber. This is especially important if you have diabetes or another medical condition that requires you to monitor your blood sugar level.

Consider having your doctor or dietitian draft a healthy fruit diet plan for you.

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