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Diabetes and Fruit


Diabetes and fruit, the two seem incompatible, right? Maybe not as much as people think. First, let me state, I am not a medical or nutritional professional, so everything I state here is my opinion derived from research and working with many diabetic women over the past 12 years as a weight loss coach at Raw Food Boot Camp®.

The biggest mistake seems to be that everyone classifies fruit in one big lump. We don’t do that with meat, do we? They tell us, red meat is bad for us, so eat chicken or turkey. We talk about fish differently too. Salmon is in a class of its own for being healthy. So why doesn’t the medical community take a look at different fruits and talk about glycemic load and how fruits with a lower glycemic load metabolize differently in our bodies. Even for diabetics.

To understand how diabetes and fruit can get along you must understand how fruit fiber works

Fruit is full of sugars: glucose, fructose and sucrose. A diabetics nightmare! If you ate the fruit without the fiber, it would all just flood your body putting your liver and then your pancreas in overload. But whole fruit doesn’t play that way.

Whole fruit is full of fiber. The sugars in fruit attach themselves to it. Fiber slows down digestion making the process of sending the sugar to the liver slower and the liver has time to process it and the pancreas isn’t overloaded. There lies the secret of whole fruit. It is metabolized differently because of the fiber and does not have the huge negative impact we’ve all been taught when we ask about diabetes and fruit.

And because of all that fiber, you will be satisfied longer which will lower your caloric intake and let you lose weight.  That is a big factor in lowering blood sugar.

Not all Fruits are Equal though, glycemic load tells the real story 

Glycmic index measures the carbohydrates in food. It also measures how fast those carbs are distributed throughout your body. (Remember the fiber and how it slows this absorption in the liver which then sends it to the pancreas).

Glycemic load measure the carbs affect on blood sugar. Making the glycemic load number the one to watch when talking diabetes and fruit. As a diabetic, you should stick to low glycemic load foods which is a value of 10 or less.

Another important factor talked about with glycemic index and glycemic load is that the actual numbers change depending on what they are eaten with. If you eat an apple with a bunch of dates, those date’s glycemic load is going to carry the most weight. But if you eat a bunch of strawberries with a banana, it could bring down the glycemic load of the banana.

Make sure to watch the gram weight as well. Note that the high dense sugar fruits like bananas and dates are only half the gram weight of the juicer denser fiber fruits.

Here is a list of glycemic index and glycemic loads of some fruits.

Fruit  Glycemic Index Portion Size Glycemic Load
Lime 24 120g 1
Strawberry 41 120g 1
Apricot 23 120g 3
Grapefruit 25 120g 3
Lemon 25 120g 3
Cantaloupe 67 120g 4
Guava 78 120g 4
Nectarines 30 120g 4
Oranges 44 120g 4
Pear 38 120g 4
Watermelon 72 120g 4
Blueberries 54 120g 5
Peach 28 120g 5
Plum 24 120g 5
Apple 38 120g 6
Pineapple 66 120g 6
Kiwi 52 120g 7
Mango 56 120g 8
Cherries 22 120g 9
Papaya 59 120g 10
Prunes 29 60g 10
Banana 55 120g 11
Grapes 46 120g 11
Figs 60 60g 16
Dates 36 60g 18
Raisins 64 60g 28

Still nervous about the mix of diabetes and fruit?

Then eat your fruit with protein. Eat seeds rich in nutrients and packed with protein and healthy fats. Eat sparingly though and go for those seeds with perfect protein like hemp, pumpkin, chia and flax. Or throw those low glycemic load fruits into a blender and add spinach and/or kale. Protein balances the sugars when it comes to blood sugar.


Paradoxical Effects of Fruit on Obesity.
Sharma SP, Chung HJ, Kim HJ, Hong ST.
Nutrients. 2016 Oct 14;8(10). pii: E633. Review.
PMID: 27754404

What we discovered about diabetes and fruit at Raw Food Boot Camp®

Everything above comes from reading research papers. This paper didn’t teach me much, but it did prove what I have been saying for the past 12 years. Fruit is not the culprit and not all fruit is the same.

It is the results we have had here at Raw Food Boot Camp that made me realize years ago that diabetes and fruit not only can work together, they do it well. We have had many women doing our 100% low fat, low sodium, low sugar, raw food diet get totally off metformin. Diabetics have come back from doctor visits with amazing stories. First, their doctors were over the moon about their lowered weight and blood sugar readings. But excitement turned to shock when they told their doctors about our diet. What was those doctor’s advice: “Keep doing what you’re doing.”

Remember though, we only do low glycemic load fruits. Even papayas, right on the edge have been off our menu. And always, for diabetics doing our diabetic addon, I recommend only eating fruit with protein for the first 3 weeks to give their bodies time to adjust.


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