Will fruit affect my blood glucose levels?

My friend, who also has diabetes, has told me that fruit will not affect my blood glucose levels. I always thought fruit increased blood glucose levels. What does the research say?

Fruit is an important component of a healthy diet. However, the extent to which fruit can raise blood glucose levels (and in the long term, potentially also HbA1c) depends on the type of fruit eaten.

It is best to eat fruits that do not raise the blood glucose excessively. The degree to which fruits raise blood glucose depends upon the type of sugar or other carbohydrate it contains, and how much sugar is inside the fibrous content of the fruit.

  • Some fruits consist largely of glucose and have little fibre, such as watermelon; eating substantial amounts of this fruit will usually cause substantial increases in blood glucose
  • Very ripe bananas are in a similar category but, interestingly, relatively unripe bananas consist largely of resistant starch (a form of starch that is mainly digested in the large bowel) and are therefore associated with much lower blood glucose levels
  • Fruits such as apples, pears and kiwi fruit contain glucose and fructose and a reasonable amount of fibre so that generally glucose levels are reasonable after eating them.

It is recommended you have at least 3-4 servings of fruit a day. A serving is what will fit into the palm of your hand.

The best way to discover how different fruits affect your blood glucose levels is by measuring blood glucose levels before and after eating them. The effect is usually consistent.

Remember that fruit juice, even when it does not contain added sugar, will always produce much higher blood glucose levels than eating whole fruit.


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