With diabetes on the rise, the fear of high blood sugar, and the myth that carbohydrates are to blame for obesity, people seem to have put a big, fat “X” on fruits; but, do we need to?
Yes, fruit has carbohydrate and raises the blood sugar, and some fruits have more sugar than others. Now, don’t get me wrong! There are different vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber in different fruits that are all important for health; so, This doesn’t mean that we should avoid these fruits. What it does mean, though, is that the portion sizes are smaller. Here’s a list of 5 fruits that are more concentrated with sugar and the recommended portion sizes. Portion sizes are determined based on the amount of fruit providing about 15 g of carbohydrates.
1) Banana: 1/2 of the medium banana (7-8 inches), or one small banana (less than 6 inches).
2) Cherries: 3/4 cup if the cherries have pits (compare to 1 cup of berries or grapes, which don’t have pits).
3) Pineapple: 3/4 cup (compare to 1.5 cups of watermelon)
4) Mango: 2/3 cup (compare to 1 cup of cantaloupe or honeydew)
5) Pear: 1/2 of a medium pear (compare to 1 whole medium peach)
***NOTE: Dried fruits have the highest sugar content. Since the water is taken out, the portion size is dramatically reduced. For example 1 cup of grapes has 16 g of carbohydrates vs. 115 g in 1 cup of raisins; and, 1 cup of sliced plum has 19 g of carbohydrates vs 111 g in 1 cup of prunes! The recommended portion size for dried fruit is 1/8 of a cup vs 1 cup of hydrated fruit.
Fruit lovers, don’t worry! You do not have to avoid your favorite fruits, just keep a close eye on the portion sizes to avoid a blood sugar spike. Another idea? Make a fruit salad. Try mixing high-sugar fruits with lower-sugar fruits, to get the benefit of better blood sugar control AND more variety in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.