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January 11, 2002

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Reston, Virginia, USA:

I notice that all diets (those for people with and without diabetes) recommend four to five fruits a day. I have type 2 diabetes, and this amount of fruit shoots my blood sugar levels higher. What is your advice regarding fruit for diabetes?


Sometimes, “healthy food” makes the sugar go high. You might find you tolerate some fruits more than others. Personally, I often recommend to my patients with diabetes that they try to get the daily requirement of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in low calorie vegetables rather than in fruit that raises their blood sugar. You do need vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but not specifically fruit. You also want to limit your total calories (not necessarily a fat free diet, but a low fat diet).

I suggest you meet with a dietitian who will sit down with you, calculate all your dietary requirements, listen to you and your doctor about what foods affect your blood sugar and weight, and then try to work with you to come up with an individualized meal plan that best suits both your general nutrition and diabetes specific needs.

Additional comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian:
I wonder if snacks of fruit are raising your blood glucose, because if you had fruit
as part of a mixed meal, it would have less of an effect. Because fruits are such a storehouse of nutrients, we often recommend fruit with meals.