The sugar in fruit can add up fast, so just how much fruit can people with diabetes eat at one sitting and also in one day?

Diabetics should not give up fruit just because it contains sugar.

The sugar in fruit is in its natural state, co-existing with many food co-factors designed by nature.

The 20 grams of carbohydrate in an apple are not the same as the 20 grams of carbohydrate in half a candy bar, a small dish of ice cream or apple juice from a bottle you bought from the grocery store.

“Fruit contains vitamins and fiber and is a part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes,” says Julie Cunningham, MPH, RD, LDN, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator.

“The key to consuming fruit for people with diabetes is portion control.

“A piece of fruit about the size of a baseball, or one-half cup canned fruit packed in its own juice, or one cup cubed melon is considered a serving, and will deliver about 15 grams of carbohydrate.

“It is always preferable for a person with diabetes to eat fruit rather than to drink fruit juice because the fiber in the fruit slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

“If a person is trying to quickly bring up a low blood sugar, then juice or another source of liquid carbohydrate may be appropriate.”

How to Drink Juice if You’re a Diabetic and not Worry About the Sugar Content

You can still drink juice even if you have diabetes – if you know the following trick:

• Put solid fruit into a NutriBullet or Nutri Ninja device.

• Add a sufficient amount of water so that the machine purees the solid fruit enough to be drinkable.

• The beverage will be thicker than juice sold in bottles and cartons, unless you add a LOT of water relative to the chunks of solid fruit.

• Experiment with how much water suits your desires. If you’d like a thick, frosty-type orange juice, add less water.

• If it’s too thick, you can add more water to the glass you’re drinking it out of and just mix it in.

• If you want a berry smoothie or a strawberry “milkshake,” again, put in enough water to make it drinkable. To thin it, just add more water to your glass.

These devices solve the problem of diabetics feeling they shouldn’t drink juice unless their blood sugar drops dangerously low.

Even though the Nutri machines can liquefy whole fruit – apples, plums, peaches, grapes and berries – don’t let this fool you into thinking that it’s the equivalent of drinking juice from a store-bought bottle or carton.

The machine does NOT extract juice. It simply pulverizes fruit – mixed with enough water – into a drinkable form.

But it will still contain the same food co-factors, fiber, vitamins, minerals and enzymes that fruit eaten in solid form has.

And by the way, no added water is needed to convert solid orange pieces into juice. Oranges (and grapefruit) already contain enough water for the machine to use.

If you don’t care for juice and prefer solid fruit, your diabetes should not stop you from enjoying it.

For instance if a diabetic wants two peaches and a banana, it would be more efficacious, as far as blood sugar management, to space at least one of those servings apart.

It’s not advised that you have all three at the same time due to the overload of fast-acting sugars.

What diabetics can also do to slow down the absorption of the fast-acting sugars is to have some protein before eating the fruit.

julie cunninghamJulie Cunningham specializes in helping men and women with diabetes and prediabetes learn how to eat to manage their blood sugars–so they can get back to the things they enjoy. 
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.