Question: I was diagnosed as having pre-diabetes earlier this year. Since then I have completely changed my eating habits and become a vegetarian. I’ve lost weight but want to lose more. Can you tell me which fruits have a high sugar content? I am wondering about apples, raisins, bananas, and strawberries. I already know I need to avoid orange juice. Thanks for your help!
Answer: Congratulations on making positive changes to your eating habits. Sugar is one form of carbohydrate. All carbohydrate breaks down into glucose when digested. Instead of focusing on sugar content of foods, I encourage my patients to look at total carbohydrate content.
All fruit is carbohydrate and will have an effect on blood sugars. The amount of carbohydrate really depends more on portion than the type of fruit. To give you an idea, a small 4 oz. apple, 1 cup berries, and 1/2 large banana all have ~15g carb. Even juice can be included in a healthy meal plan as long as you are careful with the portion. 4 oz. (1/2 cup) of orange juice has ~15g carb.
Be cautious with larger pieces of fruit. Some apples may weigh close to 16 oz. and contain up to 60g carb. Weigh and measure your fruits if you question the portion and carb content of what you are consuming.
Fruit shrinks when dried. We tend to consume more of it since it is smaller in size than fresh fruit. Be cautious with dried fruits, including raisins, as 1/4 cup contains ~30g carb.
Remember, it is still recommended to aim for the recommended 2-3 servings per day of fruits since they provide us with lots of healthy antioxidants and phytochemicals. Just be more cautious of the portion you are consuming and what other carbs you are consuming at each particular meal or snack.