9 Fruits to Eat If You Have Diabetes


If you live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may be swiping left on fruits like pineapple and grapes. But while they’re not great candidates for an exclusive fruit relationship, a little sampling doesn’t hurt every now and then.

In fact, in moderation and paired with healthy fats or protein, most fruits can be part of a healthy eating plan. All fruit is packed with soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals you’ll want to load up on.

So, instead of ruling out certain types of fruit, just keep track of their carbohydrate content and where they rank in terms of glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) and adjust your portion sizes accordingly.

What is the glycemic index?

Glycemic load takes into account both the GI and the grams of carbohydrates in each serving. Foods that have both a low GI and a low GL are better for controlling blood sugar levels.

Some experts recommend using glycemic load as a better predictor of the effect a food will have on blood sugar levels.

The fruits listed below are your dietary MVPs. You’ll want to celebrate their greatness by eating them regularly. All of them have a GI of 55 or below and a GL under 10 per serving.

1. Apples

GI: 36

GL: 6

Apples provide healthy fiber, which is important for, you know, staying regular. They’re tasty on their own or with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter.

2. Bananas

GI: 52

GL: 10

Bananas are an inexpensive and delicious way to get some potassium and vitamin C.

Be sure to eat your bananas as soon as they’re ripe (or even while they’re still a little green). The longer they sit and the browner they get, the sweeter they become. True story — according to a 1992 study, this raises the sugar content and the GI.

Remember that half a medium banana is the recommended serving size.

3. Pears

GI: 30

GL: 7

Pre-PEAR yourself! Pears are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. And red-skinned pears contain carotenoids, which are thought to reduce the risk of certain cancers and eye disease. What’s not to love?

4. Prunes (pitted)

GI: 29

GL: 10

In addition to possibly being your grandma’s favorite fruit, prunes are one of the lowest-GI fruits. Plus, they’re a natural remedy for constipation and are rich in antioxidants. Generally, two to three prunes is considered a serving.

5. Strawberries

GI: 25

GL: 3

Sweet, sweet berries are actually very low on the GI index. Eating 1 cup of strawberries can also protect your heart, increase your HDL (good) cholesterol level, and decrease your LDL (bad) cholesterol level.

Limit these medium-GI fruits

These fruits are OK to eat in smaller portions. Reach for them less often than the low-GI fruits listed above. They have a GI of 56 to 69 and a GL under 11.

6. Apricots

GI: 57

GL: 5

Fresh apricots might not be your usual go-to fruit, but they have a certain zing you can’t get anywhere else. Enjoy them on their own or try grilling them and eating them with a protein like chicken.

7. Grapes

GI: 59

GL: 11

One cup of grapes is a healthy way to get some fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They’re also easy to enjoy right out of the bag (just wash them first!) and a great addition to your packed lunch.

8. Kiwi

GI: 58

GL: 7

Kiwi is an excellent source of vitamins E and K, folate, and potassium. Try slicing up a small kiwi to enjoy with some protein-rich Greek yogurt for breakfast.

Time-saving tip: You don’t need to peel kiwis to eat them. Their skin is edible. Just make sure to wash them before you dig in.

9. Pineapple

GI: 66

GL: 6

Pineapple is a delicious source of bromelain (an anti-inflammatory), and it’s also rich in vitamin C. Try pairing it with a protein like cottage cheese.