Fruit: 13 Favorites and Their Calories, Carbs, and Vitamins

People with diabetes often have a complicated relationship with fruit. First, you hear that you should avoid fruit because of the sugar content. Then you’re given the go-ahead because fruit is (generally) low on the glycemic index.

The American Diabetes Association says that fruit has carbohydrates that you’ll want to account for in your meal plan, but they’re worth the carb-cost because of their vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Fiber, according to Joslin Diabetes Center, won’t raise your blood sugar levels, and most Americans only get about half of their recommended daily amount. Plus, if you’re trying to cut back on less nutritious forms of sugar, fruit can step in and provide the sweetness you might miss.

Here’s a list of 15 fruits and their benefits and considerations for people with diabetes:

Photo: pixabay/silviarita
Photo: pixabay/silviarita

1. Kiwis

Kiwis are so fun to eat! Slice in half and eat the fruit out of the skin with a spoon for a mini tropical getaway. Here are the kiwi stats:

  • Serving size: One whole, delicious kiwi (medium-sized).
  • Nutrition: One medium kiwi has about 45 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: One medium kiwi also has bout 120 percent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C. They’re also a good source of potassium, a mineral that can help reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke.
  • Fun Fact: Kiwi is actually a shortcut for the full name kiwifruit, and Europeans first called it a Chinese gooseberry. Growers in New Zealand began calling it kiwifruit for export since New Zealanders are called Kiwis, and the name caught on.
Photo: pixabay/rawpixel
Photo: pixabay/rawpixel

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2. Bananas

Bananas are a runner’s fruit of choice because of their easily digestible energy, but they are one of the starchier fruits and higher on the glycemic index. Here’s how they stack up:

  • Serving size: One medium banana or about 4.5 ounces. Many bananas are large, so eating half may be a good bet.
  • Nutrition: A medium banana has about 110 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrate (so this may be a great choice for low blood sugar).
  • Perks: Bananas are known for their potassium, but they’re also a good source of fiber, magnesium, riboflavin, and biotin (a vitamin necessary for healthy skin, hair, and eyes).
  • Fun Fact: A banana’s scientific name, musa sapientum, means “fruit of the wise men.”
Photo: pixabay/Alexas_Fotos
Photo: pixabay/Alexas_Fotos

3. Peaches

Peaches are one of summertime’s essential fruits and a cobbler-maker’s best friend. Here are the peachy facts on the whole fruit (not canned) variety:

  • Serving size: One medium peach or 5.3 ounces.
  • Nutrition: One serving of peach has about 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: Peaches are a good source of vitamin A and C as well as potassium and fiber.
  • Fun Fact: August in National Peach Month in the United States, and a giant 11 foot by 5-foot peach cobbler is made every year in Georgia.
Photo: pixabay/Couleur
Photo: pixabay/Couleur

4. Oranges

Hooray for citrus! If you’re a fan of juicy fruit and not afraid of stickiness, grab a highly portable orange the next time you’re off on an adventure!

  • Serving Size: One medium orange or 5.5 ounces.
  • Nutrition: Your orange serving will provide you with 80 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: Looking for vitamin C? One orange will provide 130 percent of your daily recommended amount along with 12 percent of your daily amount of fiber. It’s an efficient fruit, and oranges are also a good source of folic acid, which is essential in processing fats and carbohydrates.
  • Fun Fact: About 85 percent of all oranges grown are used for making juice, and orange peels can be used as slug repellant.
Photo: pixabay/pixel2013
Photo: pixabay/pixel2013

5. Strawberries

Strawberries are an all-time favorite! With a GI score of 41, strawberries are a low GI food that’s full of flavor.

  • Serving Size: 8 medium strawberries or 5.3 ounces.
  • Nutrition: 50 calories and 11 grams of carbohydrate in a serving.
  • Perks: A serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange, and strawberries, like most berries, are considered a superfood because of their antioxidants. Because of their high water content and because about a quarter of their carbohydrates come from fiber, strawberries are delicious and filling!
  • Fun Fact: The average strawberry has about 200 seeds on its skin.
Photo: pixabay/croisy
Photo: pixabay/croisy

6. Watermelon

No summer barbecue is complete without watermelon—preferably with a seed-spitting contest!

  • Serving Size: One serving is 2 cups of diced watermelon, or 10 ounces—quite generous!
  • Nutrition: A serving of watermelon has 80 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: Because watermelon is high in water (hence the name), it has very few calories for the nutrients you get. Eating watermelon or drinking the juice may help lower blood pressure, reduce muscle soreness, and improve insulin sensitivity. Watermelons also have a high amount of lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation.
  • Fun Fact: Don’t worry—you won’t grow a watermelon plant in your stomach if you swallow a seed. Seeds are actually a good source of magnesium and zinc. So no need to spit!
Photo: pixabay/Vivacia
Photo: pixabay/Vivacia

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7. Pineapple

Pineapple makes people think of tropical locations and exotic beaches, and the extra work required to slice one up is completely worth it!

  • Serving Size: The FDA says a serving of pineapple is two slices 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 inches thick, or 4 ounces.
  • Nutrition: There are 50 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate in a serving.
  • Perks: One cup of pineapple supplies 130 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. It’s also a good source of beta-carotene, which may protect against prostate cancer.
  • Fun Fact: One pineapple takes nearly 3 years to fully mature.
Photo: pixabay/Security
Photo: pixabay/Security

8. Sweet Cherries

Cherries are so pretty that it’s no wonder we use “cherry” to describe something in prime condition. But the pretty stone fruits are good for you too!

  • Serving Size: One cup, or about 21 cherries.
  • Nutrition: A cup of cherries contains about 87 calories and 22 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: Besides their deliciousness, cherries provide a good source of flavonoids, melatonin (the hormone that helps control circadian rhythm), and vitamins A and C. In general, the darker the cherry the higher the concentration of flavonoids (which are important antioxidants).
  • Fun Fact: They may have killed the 12th president of the United States. Zachary Taylor died four days after eating a glass of milk and a bowl of cherries. He developed severe stomach pain after his snack, and some experts believe he may have contracted Salmonella from either the cherries or the milk.
Photo: pixabay/jill111
Photo: pixabay/jill111

9. Apples

Apples are unofficially the official fruit of teachers and everyone’s favorite after school snack (especially if served with peanut butter)!

  • Serving Size: One large apple or 8 ounces.
  • Nutrition: One serving has 130 calories and 34 grams of carbohydrate (so maybe a half an apple would be a better choice if you’re counting carbs).
  • Perks: Apples are definite winners when it comes to fiber content: one large apples contains 20 percent of your recommended daily amount. Apples are an especially good choice for people with diabetes because most of the sugar is fructose, which has less of an effect on blood sugar than sucrose or glucose, and the high fiber content in apples helps slow sugar absorption and stabalize blood sugar.
  • Fun Fact: Of the 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, only the crabapple is native to North America.
Photo: AdobeStock/kbuntu
Photo: AdobeStock/kbuntu

10. Mangoes

Mangoes are under-appreciated outside of the tropics, but the deep orange, sweet, and decadent flesh is absolutely worth going out of your comfort zone for. Try it with a squeeze of lime juice!

  • Serving Size: One half-cup of sliced mango.
  • Nutrition: A half cup of mango contains approximately 54 calories and 14 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: Mangoes are full of the good stuff: vitamin C, carotenes, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and fiber! Mangoes contain enzymes that improve digestion, and the fruit has been used to treat Giardia, or “traveler’s diarrhea.”
  • Fun Fact: Mangoes are at the top of the fruit chain—more fresh mangoes are eaten every day around the world than any other fruit .
Photo: pixabay/Meditations
Photo: pixabay/Meditations

11. Pears

The wood of pear trees is prized because it doesn’t splinter or warp, so it makes high-quality kitchen utensils, musical instruments, and even architect’s rulers. But the fruit is where the real value lies!

  • Serving Size: One medium pear, or half a pear if you need to restrict carbs.
  • Nutrition: A medium pear has about 100 calories and 26 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: Pears are full of fiber, and just one will deliver about 6 grams and almost a quarter of your recommended daily amount. They’re also a good source of vitamin K and will improve in flavor after they’re picked.
  • Fun Fact: Before tobacco, smokers in Europe used pear leaves to light up.
Photo: pixabay/Free-Photos
Photo: pixabay/Free-Photos

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12. Blueberries

Blueberries are the star of everyone’s favorite breakfast muffin and they’ve been hailed as nutritional powerhouses for years. Here are the numbers for the snackable berries:

  • Serving Size: About a cup (again, half that if you’re limiting carbs).
  • Nutrition: One serving has about 84 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: Blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants, which are responsible for their deep midnight blue to purple coloring. They’re also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber (the body needs both), manganese, and riboflavin. Blueberries are thought to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and are used to protect against macular degeneration. They can also help treat diarrhea and constipation!
  • Fun Fact: Blueberries freeze in just 4 minutes! This makes them perfect for buying fresh when they’re on sale and freezing for tasty smoothies!
Photo: pixabay/congerdesign
Photo: pixabay/congerdesign

13. Raisins

It’s only fair to include a dried fruit on the list! Raisins, and other dried fruits, are great for their portability and longer shelf-life, but their calories and carbs are more compact, so enjoy them wisely!

  • Serving Size: The convenient 1.5-ounce boxes area great serving size, equivalent to just over two tablespoons.
  • Nutrition: A small box of raisins has about 129 calories and 34 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Perks: Raisins are a good source of iron, which the body needs to make red blood cells and help them carry oxygen. Because they are dense and contain a lot of sugar (25 grams in that small box!), they are a good source of quick energy.
  • Fun Fact: April 30th is National Raisin Day in the United States, but they weren’t always so popular. In 1873, unexpected warm weather in California withered the grape crop, so the shriveled fruits were advertised as “Peruvian Delicacies” to make them marketable, and now California is the world’s leading raisin producer.
Photo: pixabay/WikimediaImages
Photo: pixabay/WikimediaImages

Hope you enjoyed our fruity facts! It’s important not to label an entire group of foods as “bad” when the reality is often much more complex than that. Fruits generally have a lot of carbohydrate grams per serving, but they have vitamins and fiber that often make them a wise choice, and they’re nature’s sweetest snack!

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