Cantaloupe, Pears, More Fruit You Can Eat If You're Diabetic

Author: Helen

May. 06, 2024




Cantaloupe, Pears, More Fruit You Can Eat If You're Diabetic

At some point, you may have heard that you cannot eat fruit if you have diabetes. Or. maybe someone said you can eat fruit, just not extra-sweet ones like grapes or watermelon.

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Neither of these statements is entirely true. You can enjoy fruit if you have diabetes, but you simply need to make strategic decisions about which fruits to eat and how much.

This article explains the ways that fruit can impact diabetes, both positively and negatively, as well as which fruits to favor or limit—and why.

Helen Yin / Stocksy United

Pros and Cons of Eating Fruit if You Have Diabetes

Fruits have many health benefits, some of which are helpful to people living with diabetes. But, there are also potential risks to eating fruit, particularly in your blood sugar is not controlled.


There are many "pros" to eating fruit if you have diabetes. Some are nutritionally dense and others contain compounds that help reduce inflammation and damage caused by free radicals.

Among the benefits of adding fruit to a diabetes-friendly diet are:

  • Fiber: Dietary fiber is the portion of plant-based foods that cannot be completely broken down by digestive enzymes. Fiber is beneficial in helping prevent blood sugar spikes, reducing blood cholesterol, and increasing satiety (the feeling of fullness) to help control appetite.

  • Vitamins and minerals: Potassium in fruits like bananas, citrus, melons, and, apricots can help reduce blood pressure.

    Vitamin C and folic acid in citrus fruits help promote wound healing increase brain function and boost immunity.

  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as


    found in berries, cherries, and red grapes can help thwart cell damage and may potentially slow the progression of certain chronic diseases, including heart disease.

    Other antioxidant-rich foods include peaches, figs, pears, guava, oranges, apricots, mango, cantaloupe, and papaya,

When choosing fruit, you'll want to think about portion size, convenience, cost, and flavor. But it is also important to consider the health benefits as well.


On the flip side, there are potential risks to eating fruit if you have diabetes. In most cases, the benefits will outweigh the risks as long as you maintain portion control and avoid overconsumption.

Even so, be aware of the following "cons" if you have diabetes:

  • Fructose: Fruit contains carbohydrates. Carbohydrates—whether from bread, milk, yogurt, potatoes, or fruit—get broken down during digestion and turn into sugar (glucose). The main type of carbohydrate in fruit is a natural sugar called fructose. Eating too much fructose can have the same effect as eating too much table sugar.

  • Excess potassium: If you are on a potassium-restricted diet for

    diabetic nephropathy

    (diabetes-related kidney disease), you may need to restrict your intake of citrus fruits, bananas, apricots, and certain melons. These fruits are loaded with potassium.

  • Interactions: Citrus fruit like grapefruit and Seville oranges can interact with drugs like statins, steroids, and certain blood pressure medications, making them less effective.

For these reasons, people with diabetes need to monitor how many carbs they eat and advise their healthcare provider about any drugs they take to avoid interactions.


Click Play to Learn About Low Glycemic Fruit

This video has been medically reviewed by Meredith Bull, ND.

Choose Fruit With a Lower Glycemic Index

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you choose fruits that have a low glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is used as a reference to measure how much a carbohydrate-containing food raises your blood glucose. A high GI food will raise blood glucose more than a medium or low GI food.

Here is how certain fruits compare on the glycemic index:

  • Low GI (55 or less): Apples, pears, mango, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, grapefruit, pears, nectarines, and oranges
  • Moderate GI (55 to 69): Cherries, mango, papaya, and grapes
  • High GI (70 or greater): Watermelon and pineapple

Most fruits have a low to moderate GI, except pineapple and watermelon. That doesn't mean you can never eat pineapple or watermelon unless it causes a blood sugar spike.

It is also important to note that fructose levels tend to increase the more that fruit ripens, amplifying its impact on your blood sugar.

Even so, some nutritious foods have a higher GI than foods with little nutritional value. As such, don't use a food's GI as the sole determining factor as to which you should eat. A healthy diet should always be balanced to meet your daily nutritional needs.

Opt for the Whole Fruit

If you have diabetes and enjoy fruit, it is always best to opt for whole fruit rather than dried fruits or juices. This includes fresh, frozen, or canned whole fruit (as long as no sugars are added).

Dried fruits may be a problem because they are higher in carbohydrates per serving than natural whole fruit. They may also contain added sugar (particularly with products like dried cranberries or banana chips), Dried fruits can also be lower in fiber if the skin has been removed before dehydration.

Fruit juices pose similar risks even when there is no added sugar. That's because the flesh of the fruit, which contains fiber, is discarded during the juicing process. Moreover, with juices, you may be drinking more fruit than you would eat. Pasteurized juice or juices made from concentrates often have very high fructose levels.

Here are two examples of what one portion of dried fruit or juice can contribute to your blood sugar:

  • One-quarter cup of raisins delivers 120 calories, 32 grams of carbohydrates, and 24 grams of sugar.

  • One cup of unsweetened 100% fruit juice contains 130 calories, 33 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 grams of sugar.

Keep Portions in Check

The ADA recommends that about 45% of your daily calorie intake come from carbohydrates. If you are following a consistent carbohydrate meal plan, you need to factor in fruit as a carbohydrate choice.

Try to stick with one fruit serving per meal or snack. Limit your fruit servings to no more than about two to three per day.

Keep in mind that one fruit serving is about 15 grams of carbohydrates. How much of each fruit you can eat within that one-serving limit will depend on the type of fruit.

Here is a list of what is considered one serving of common whole fruits:

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  • 1 small apple, orange, peach, pear, or plum 
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 2 small tangerines or 1 large tangerine
  • 2 kiwi 
  • 4 apricots
  • 1 cup of melon (cantaloupe, honeydew)
  • 15 grapes or cherries 
  • 1/3 of a medium mango
  • 1-1/4 cup of strawberries
  • 3/4 cup of blueberries
  • 1 cup of raspberries and blackberries

Pair Fruit With Protein

Pairing fruit with protein can help slow down any rise in blood sugar. You can do this by including fruit in your meal allotment for carbohydrates or by adding protein to your fruit snack.

Here are some examples 

  • Pair 4 ounces of sliced apples with 1 tablespoon of almond butter.
  • Pair 1 cup of raspberries with 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Part one small peach with 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese.


If you have diabetes, eating fruit can sometimes be of concern. That's because the carbohydrates in fruit can cause blood sugar to rise.

Even so, fruit is an important part of a healthy diet when you have diabetes, providing fiber that can limit blood sugar spikes. It can also help lower cholesterol, which is especially important given that diabetes can put you at an increased risk for heart disease.

If you have diabetes, focus on eating whole fruit rather than dried fruit or juices. You should also favor fruits that are low on the GI index, keeping an eye on portion sizes and the carb count.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the lowest glycemic index fruits?

    Some of the lowest glycemic index fruits include cherries, grapefruit, pears, apples, apricots, tangerines, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and plums.

  • What are the highest glycemic index fruits?

    Some of the highest glycemic index fruits include watermelon, pineapple, and overly ripe bananas (under-ripened bananas fall into a moderate glycemic index).

  • How is diabetes managed?

    There are a variety of management and treatment options for diabetes, including keeping blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels in a healthy range. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and keeping up with regular doctor visits are also important ways to manage diabetes.

Is Pear Good For Diabetes? Let's Find Out - Blog

Pears are a sweet, juicy fruit belonging to the Rosaceae family’s Pyrus genus. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colours, ranging from green to yellow to red.

As pears ripen, their flesh becomes softer, and the core in the centre contains tiny seeds. Pears are harvested between late summer and early fall; people often consume them fresh, canned, or dried. They are also used to make jams, jellies, and other preserves. 

Pears are a great source of vitamin C, fibre, and copper, and they contain antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure and improve digestion.

Hence, it is considered one of the most nutritious fruits. This article will explore the impact of pears on blood sugar levels and how they can benefit people with diabetes.

Nutritional Value of Pear Fruit

Knowing the nutritional value of pears can help you make an informed decision regarding who can eat, how much to eat, etc.

As per USDA, one hundred grams of pear fruit contains the following nutrients.

  • Proteins: 0.36g
  • Energy: 57 kCal
  • Water:84 g
  • Fibre: 3.1 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg
  • Folate: 7 µg
  • Calcium: 9 mg
  • Vitamin A: 1 µg
  • Vitamin C: 4.3 mg
  • Vitamin K: 4.4 µg

Pears offer a wealth of essential nutrients, making them an excellent snack choice or addition to a meal.

They are a good source of dietary fibre, necessary for good digestive health, and contain 12% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake. This antioxidant helps protect the body from free radicals and boosts immunity. 

Pears also have vitamin K, vitamin B-6, and copper. Copper aids in energy production and the formation of red blood cells. Furthermore, pears are low in calories and have no cholesterol or saturated fat.

Glycemic Index of Pears

The glycemic index (GI) refers to the speed at which food raises blood sugar levels.

Foods are assigned a value on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a faster rate of blood sugar elevation. The glycemic load (GL) considers a food’s GI and the number of carbohydrates it contains.

As per the data, pears have a low glycemic index and load, with average values of 30 and 4.7, respectively.

It means that consuming this fruit does not result in a sudden increase in blood sugar levels. Therefore, even though pears contain carbohydrates, the amount is not enough to significantly raise blood sugar.

The HealthifyMe Note

Pears are an excellent option for people with diabetes or those trying to manage their blood sugar levels, as they are considered a low glycemic index and load food. The glycemic index and load of a pear can vary depending on the variety and ripeness, with ripe pears having a slightly higher glycemic index than unripe ones. Therefore, it is better to consume unripe pears as they have a lower glycemic index and glycemic load. 

Is Pear Fruit Good for Diabetes?

Pears are an excellent choice for people with diabetes due to their low glycemic index, which prevents a spike in blood sugar levels. Experts suggest that eating whole pears is more beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels than other pear products. 

Research shows that consuming foods rich in anthocyanins also lowers the risk of type-2 diabetes. Anthocyanin in pear fruit strengthens blood vessels and improves heart health. Therefore, eating pears as part of a healthy diet is a great way to help manage early-stage diabetes.

Pear Fruit Benefits for Diabetes

Low Glycemic Index

Pears are an excellent choice for those with diabetes, as they have a low glycemic index and glycemic load. Eating foods with a low glycemic index and load can help to keep blood sugar levels in check, which is essential for those living with diabetes.

High in Fibre

Research shows that fibre slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, thereby preventing blood sugar levels from increasing too quickly.

Furthermore, it can help to improve digestion and regularity of bowel movements, which can be beneficial for people with diabetes who may struggle with digestive issues.

Vitamin C

As per research, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, protecting those with diabetes from the damage caused by high blood sugar.

In addition, vitamin C can potentially reduce inflammation, which is essential for people with diabetes, as inflammation can lead to diabetes-related complications.

Low in Calories

Pears are a beneficial choice for people with diabetes as they are low in calories. By controlling calorie intake, a person can maintain a healthy weight, key to diabetes management. Furthermore, pears contain essential nutrients and no cholesterol or saturated fat.

The HealthifyMe Note

Pears are an excellent option for people with diabetes due to their low glycemic index, glycemic load, and high fibre content. They also have a high vitamin C content, are low in calories, and contain no cholesterol or saturated fat. Therefore, eating a moderate amount of pears can aid blood sugar management, digestion of fibre, and overall health.

Diabetes Friendly Ways to Consume Pear Fruit

One can enjoy pears in a diabetes-friendly way by eating them unripe and without adding sugar. Some ideas for incorporating them into meals include:

  • Eating fresh pears is the best way to get the most out of them. In addition, consuming unripe pears is a great way to enjoy them, as they have a lower glycemic index and glycemic load than when they are ripe. 
  • Incorporating pears into your salad is an excellent way to enjoy them. Try a combination of leafy greens, nuts, and a vinaigrette dressing for a delicious and nutritious meal.
  • A pear chutney is a tasty and diabetes-friendly option for eating this fruit. One can enjoy it with chapatti or rice.
  • One can incorporate pears into Indian curries for a hint of sweetness. When combined with vegetables or meat, they can add flavour complexity and help reduce the overall glycemic index of the meal.
  • Pear and Yoghurt: Enjoy a diabetes-friendly snack by mixing chopped pears with plain yoghurt. This delicious combination can also be served as breakfast. 
  • Pear Raita: Make diabetic-friendly raita by combining grated or mashed pears with yoghurt and adding spices and cumin. This raita makes a tasty accompaniment to any meal.

How one eats pears can affect their glycemic index. Asian pears, commonly found in India, are the healthiest when eaten raw with the peel on. However, one can also cook or combine them with other ingredients for increased effectiveness.

The HealthifyMe app offers a range of easy-to-cook, diabetes-friendly recipes using pears to suit your needs.

Furthermore, you can talk to registered HealthifyMe nutritionists to determine the quantity and time of consumption to reap maximum benefits according to your particular health status and needs. 


To summarise, pears can be an excellent snack for people with diabetes. With their low calorie and low glycemic index, they will not cause blood sugar levels to rise suddenly.

Additionally, they are a good source of fibre, which helps to regulate blood sugar and aid digestion. However, people with diabetes must keep an eye on portion sizes and monitor their blood sugar levels when introducing new foods.

Overall, pears can be an excellent addition to a diabetic’s diet as part of an overall balanced diet.

Research Sources

1. The U S Department of Agriculture

2. Glycemic Index Guide

3. Różańska D, Regulska-Ilow B. The significance of anthocyanins in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Adv Clin Exp Med. 2018 Jan;27(1):135-142. doi: 10.17219/acem/64983. PMID: 29521054.

4. Flourié, B. (1992). The Influence of Dietary Fibre on Carbohydrate Digestion and Absorption. In: Schweizer, T.F., Edwards, C.A. (eds) Dietary Fibre — A Component of Food. ILSI Human Nutrition Reviews. Springer, London.

5. Dakhale GN, Chaudhari HV, Shrivastava M. Supplementation of vitamin C reduces blood glucose and improves glycosylated haemoglobin in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomised, double-blind study. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2011;2011:195271. doi: 10.1155/2011/195271. Epub 2011 Dec 28. PMID: 22242019; PMCID: PMC3254006.

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