Fruit: what, when & how much for diabetes patient
Eating fruit can be a delicious way to satisfy hunger and meet daily nutritional needs. However, most fruits contain sugar. This has raised questions about whether fruits are suitable for people who have diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association reports that any fruit is fine for a person with diabetes, so long as that person is not allergic to that type of fruit.
In fact, studies have found that a higher fruit intake is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
However, not all fruits are equally healthy. Fresh or frozen fruits, or fruits packed in their own juice, are better than processed fruits straight from a can or jar, such as applesauce and canned fruit. This is because fruits in cans, jars, or plastic cups may contain added sugar. And added sugar can cause a person’s blood sugar to spike.
This article recommends which fruits to eat and avoid for a person with diabetes. It also explores the relationship between fruit and blood sugar.
How much fruit should I eat?
Most guidelines recommend that adults and children eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This is still true for people with diabetes.
Other guidelines recommend making sure that half of the plate at each meal contains fruits, vegetables, or both.
For a person with diabetes, half of each meal should be nonstarchy vegetables, rather than fruit. The remaining half should be sources of protein and high-fiber stars, such as beans or whole grains. Many experts also recommend including healthy fat at each meal to encourage a feeling of fullness and enhance the absorption of antioxidants and vitamins.
One serving is a medium-sized fruit, or a serving the size of a baseball. The serving size of smaller fruits, such as berries, is 1 cup.
For processed fruits, such as applesauce and fruit juice, the serving size is half a cup. And for dried fruits such as raisins and cherries, it is 2 tablespoons.
As with vegetables, focusing on the variety can be a great way to absorb the right nutrients and enjoy a range of flavors.
Benefits for diabetes
Eating enough fiber plays an important role in managing diabetes.
A diet high in soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and control blood sugar levels. Many fruits are high in fiber, especially when a person eats the skin or pulp. The high fiber and water contents of many fruits make them filling.
Diets that contain enough fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of obesity, heart attack, and stroke. Obesity has links to type 2 diabetes.
Because fruits are high in fiber and nutrients, they are a good choice when a person is planning meals. But considering limiting the number of processed fruits on the menu, such as applesauce and fruit juices, because these have had their fiber removed.
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