Fruit and Diabetes Can Go Together

Fruit is a great addition to a balanced diet. It’s loaded with a variety of nutrients including fiber, vitamins and often antioxidants.  Better yet, the versatility of fruit creates an unlimited amount of ways to add something sweet to meals, snacks and even drinks like smoothies and shakes.  Fruit and diabetes can go together with some planning and knowledge.

Glycemic Index

Before diving into ways you can include fruit in your diet, it is important to remember that fruit contains carbohydrates so they will need to be counted in your daily meal plan.  While most fruit is going to be a positive addition to your diet, there are a few fruits that are rich in nutrients and have a low glycemic index.  Glycemic index (GI) is used to measure how a serving of carbohydrate affects blood sugar. It gives us insight to the fruit that will more drastically raise blood sugar levels compared to other fruit.  

What lowers the glycemic index of a fruit you might ask? Fiber! The fiber content of a fruit slows digestion resulting in a slower release of sugar into your blood.  When looking for fruit to add to your diet, opt for those that are rich in fiber to help maintain your blood sugar while also promoting gut health.

Below is a list of 5 fruits that have a low glycemic index while still packing a nutritious punch:

Tart Cherries

Tart Cherries are a fruit and diabetes

Fresh tart cherries glycemic index: 20

Dried tart cherries glycemic index: 45

Fresh tart cherries are not always the easiest to track down, but with such a low GI they are a great addition to a salad, smoothie or homemade snack bar.  They are rich in potassium and antioxidants, and research supports their anti-inflammatory properties related to joint pain and muscle recovery.  Tart cherries can most often be found dried, but some grocery stores also carry fresh and frozen tart cherries. Remember to look for them in their most natural state with no added sugars or syrups.


Glycemic index: 25

Grapefruits are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C.  With a tangy refreshing flavor they are a colorful addition to a salad or to top with yogurt.  Fresh grapefruit is a great choice, but don’t hesitate to track down prepared grapefruit with no added sugar. They are great to have on hand as an on the go snack!


A variety of fruits and diabetes

Glycemic index: 38

Pears pack over 20% of your daily recommended fiber intake, and to top it off pears are also a great source of vitamin C. With a subtle crunch and sweet flavor pears compliment a variety of dishes including pork, sharp cheese and hearty greens.


Glycemic index: 39

It is no surprise that apples are a crowd favorite with their satisfying crunch and sweet variety of flavors, and to top it off they also rank among the best in fiber content when eaten with the skin on.  Add a little sweetness to a savory dish or make apple slices and nut butter your go to nutritious snack.


Orange cut in half is a fruit and diabetes

Glycemic index: 40

While being an excellent source of vitamin C is the orange’s most known claim to fame, oranges are also a great source of fiber and good source of several B vitamins.  Get creative with an oranges by trying different varieties like blood oranges and adding them to salads, smoothies and chicken dishes.

There are several other low GI fruit options out there so don’t hesitate to explore the other fruits.  The more variety you add to your diet the more nutrient dense it will be!

Other Low Glycemic Index Fruit:

  • Kiwi
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries


Here is a low GI green smoothie you’ll love.