Fruit contains a carbohydrate sugar, called fructose, which means that fruit isn’t a low sugar food. All carbohydrates will break down into glucose and raise your blood glucose. Therefore, if you eat fruit it should be calculated within your carbohydrate allowance for the day.

Fruits with a low-GI (glycaemic index) will be a better choice as although they still have fructose, they will not spike blood glucose too much. Eating too much fruit at one time will increase the amount of glucose in your bloodstream, requiring more insulin so portion control is very important. Ideally, don’t eat more than 2-3 portions of fruit a day.

It’s often the fibre in fruit that makes it a low-GI food. So, when you eat fruit, aim to eat the skin and pips as well (if tolerated and where practical). When fruit is juiced, the fibre is lost, and therefore fruit juice isn’t usually recommended in a diabetic diet.

Choose low-GI fruit for optimal blood glucose control but if you must have high-GI fruit then have with a non-carbohydrate food like nuts, cheese, egg or biltong.

Remember that fruit is a carbohydrate food so will affect your blood glucose. The maximum portion is in brackets below.

Apple (½ medium)

Apricot (4)

Berries (¾ cup blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries)

Cherries (fresh) (14)

Date (1)

Guava (2)

Granadilla (3 fresh)

Grapes (16)

Grapefruit (1)

Kiwi fruit (1)

Lemon (2½)

Mango (½ cup)

Nectarine 91)

Naartjie (1½)

Orange (1)

Peach (1½)

Pear (½)

Plum (4)

Pomegranate (½)

Prickly pear (1½)

Rhubarb (2½ cups diced)

Banana (½ large banana/10cm piece)

Cranberries (2 heaped tablespoons)

Pawpaw (1 cup cubed)

Pineapple (¾ cup)

Green or orange 

melon (1 cup cubed)

Litchis (10 fresh)


(1¼ cup cube


High-GI fruit, watermelon, or fruit juice can be used to prevent hypoglycaemia, especially after exercise, or to correct a hypoglycaemic event.

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