I've heard that you shouldn't eat sweet fruits such as strawberries or blueberries if you have diabetes. Is this true?
Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D.
It's a common myth that if you have diabetes you shouldn't eat certain foods because they're "too sweet." Some fruits do contain more sugar than others, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them if you have diabetes.
The total amount of carbohydrates in a food affects blood sugar levels more than does the source of carbohydrates or whether the source is a starch or sugar. One serving of fruit should contain 15 grams of carbohydrates. The size of the serving depends on the carbohydrate content of the fruit.
The advantage of eating a low-carbohydrate fruit is that you can consume a larger portion. But whether you eat a low-carb or high-carb fruit, as long as the serving size contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, the effect on your blood sugar is the same.
The following fruit servings contain about 15 grams of carbohydrates:
- 1/2 medium apple or banana
- 1 cup blackberries
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 1/4 cup whole strawberries
- 1 cup cubed cantaloupe or honeydew melon
M. Regina Castro, M.D.
Aug. 08, 2017
- American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2017. Diabetes Care. 2017;40(suppl):s43.
- Delahanty LM, et al. Nutritional considerations in type 2 diabetes mellitus. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 9, 2017.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/. Accessed May 23, 2017.
- Ready, set, start counting: How to use carbohydrate counting to keep your blood glucose healthy. American Dietetic Association. Diabetes Care and Education Practice Group. https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/carbohydrate-counting-and-exchange-lists. Accessed May 23, 2017.
- Wheeler ML, et al. Choose Your Foods: Food Lists for Diabetes. Chicago, Ill.: American Diabetes Association and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; 2014.