By Johanna Hicks,
Hopkins County Family & Community Health Agent
With summer upon us, many individuals turn to excellent, refreshing fruits to satisfy tastebuds. Those with diabetes can benefit from the vitamins and minerals provided by fruits but must be mindful of the carbohydrate counts. In addition, fruits have several health benefits, including reducing the risk of obesity, heart attack, and stroke.
However, all fruits contain sugar, which can be challenging for those with type one or two diabetes. Understanding the carb content will help individuals enjoy healthy and delicious food without spiking blood sugar. Remember that fresh and frozen fruit are always better choices than fruit in a can or jar because of potential added sugars in those products. Dried fruits also contain extra sugar.
Allison Caggia with Diabetes Daily provides a list of ten fruits that are lower in carbs while still providing fiber which can help keep you feeling fuller, promote good digestion, and support overall blood sugar management. These fruits have ten grams of net carbs or less:
- Tomatoes: the tomato is a fruit and perhaps one of the most versatile. They can be eaten over a salad, served with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, roasted to bring out the flavor, or turned into a sauce to add to a favorite protein. Tomatoes contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and only 4.8 grams of net carbs for an average-sized tomato.
- Avocados: This is an excellent choice full of healthy fats and antioxidants while containing only 1.7 grams of net carbs per 3.5 ounces. Avocados are high in fiber and contain potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and folate. Adding avocado to a salad is a flavorful way to get some good nutrients without spiking blood sugar or turning it into guacamole to serve with your favorite crunchy dipping veggies.
- Strawberries: A favorite for many, this fruit contains eight net grams of carbs per cup. Strawberries are high in vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other health benefits. Use this versatile fruit to make smoothies, toss them on your favorite leafy green summer salad, or dice them into Greek yogurt.
- Lemons and limes: While people don’t eat whole lemons and limes, either is an excellent addition to water. Both contain only seven net carbs per serving, so use them generously in your water and season meals. And they are a great source of Vitamin C.
- Blackberries: Of all the fruity fruits, blackberries contain the lowest carbs – only eight net carbs per cup. Blueberries, by contrast, contain 17 net carbs per cup. Blackberries are packed with vitamins and are high in fiber, making them a great choice.
- Kiwi: Kiwis are berries, and like most other berries, they have minimal sugar, containing eight net carbs per kiwi. They are packed with vitamins and antioxidants and are high in fiber, which helps aid digestion.
- Plums: This fruit only contains 7.5 net carbs per average-sized plum. They found they reduce blood sugar thanks to a hormone, adiponectin. The fiber may also help avoid a quick spike in blood glucose levels.
- Rhubarb comes in at only one gram of net carbs per cup, and it packs vitamins, antioxidants, and numerous health benefits, such as aiding collagen production and fighting inflammation. Most recipes use a lot of sugar to eliminate rhubarb’s sour and bitter flavor, but you could use a zero-carb sweetener instead.
- Watermelon: With only 8 grams per 3.5 ounces, watermelon is deliciously refreshing. Not just high in vitamins and antioxidants, watermelon also contains lycopene, which helps lower blood pressure, among many other health benefits.
- Cantaloupe: Like watermelon, cantaloupe only contains eight grams of carbs per 3.5 ounces. It is full of vitamin A, C, and potassium. Try this succulent fruit alone, or add it to water for a little flavor.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t matter – Francis Chan.
Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
P.O. Box 518
1200-B W. Houston
Sulphur Springs, TX 75483