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Include lots of fruit in your diet


You can only imagine how my mouth is watering right now, as I think about all the fruits in my sweet Vincyland. Fond memories of buying a 50-cent bag of Bequia plums during lunch, or stoning grafted mangoes off a tree (never mind who owned the tree…).

Overall, you should have fresh fruits and vegetables as a major part of your diet, diabetic or not.{{more}} Many vitamins, minerals and fiber, all integral to our health and good function of our bodies, are found in these sources. Please do not feel as though they need to be eliminated from your diet. It is quite the opposite.

When I was much younger (MUCH), we had a popular soca by Burning Flames called “Sugar Apple.” They could not have chosen a better symbol as a sweet nickname. There was a mad scuffle in my family anytime a sugar apple made it past the doorstep. My Grandmother used to hide them around the house so she could give them to her grandchildren, instead of one of her sons devouring them. But sugar apples also carry a bad reputation for being sweet and causing trouble. Well, the answer to this dilemma, as with a julie mango, golden-apple or other sweet fruit, is the same—they are just fine, in the right amounts. Yes, you can have the sugar apple! But eat it with your eyes opened: fruits count as carbohydrates, just like bread, rice and potatoes. They all have the potential to raise blood sugars, but the exact effect will vary from person to person. Other factors may also be important, like eating on an empty stomach versus after a meal, eating before or after your medication, time of day etc. The best way to know the effect is to check your blood sugar about 1 hour after eating. Some people have a big jump, others have not much happen. You will need to vary the amounts and types of fruit you eat, depending on what effect they have on you. But overall, fruits get the green light.

The main concern with fruit juices is the amount of added sugar. When you make juices at home, limit the sugar. When you buy a box of juice, look at the label—if sugar or corn syrup is the first ingredient listed, put it back on the shelf or dilute it with water when you get home. Many companies get away with selling “fruit juice” when really what they are selling is sugar water. Buyer beware…

Most Important: BE AWARE OF PORTION SIZES. You should aim for 2-4 servings of fruit per day, with one serving being about the size of a small mango (not a Julie mango) or mid-size golden apple. And it should ideally be spread throughout the day, not eaten in one gulp in the middle of the morning. Many patients get into trouble because they overeat and not from the fruit itself.

So with moderation, enjoy those fruits! And keep some for me when I get back home…

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227