Although fruits pack a lot of healthy water, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they also contain carbohydrates. Like other carbohydrate foods (which include sugar, soft drinks, pasta, breads and granola bars) all fruits can also raise your blood sugar levels. Some fruits contain more carbohydrates per serving, especially when refined and concentrated, as with juices and dried fruits, and will therefore elevate your blood sugar levels more compared to fresh fruits that have a lower carbohydrate content, such as berries.
Fruit juices are not a good option if you are trying to control your blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, insulin resistance or polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is easy to finish a 16-ounce serving of unsweetened fruit juice, which contains about 52 grams of carbohydrate, or about 13 teaspoons of sugar, within a couple of minutes. Getting the same amounts of carbohydrates from fresh fruits would require you to eat three and a half oranges. In addition, most of the healthy natural fiber and nutrients found in fruits are removed during their processing into juices. Stick to fresh fruits to get more nutrition and prevent blood sugar spikes.
Drying fruits decreases their water content and concentrates their natural sugars. A handful of raisins, or about 1/4 cup, contains over 30 grams of carbohydrates, or about 8 teaspoons of sugar. Many varieties of dried fruits, such as dried cranberries for instance, also often contain extra carbohydrates from added sugars. If you can’t stick to a small serving of dried fruits and are tempted to overeat them, avoid dried fruits completely to prevent a sharp rise in your blood sugar levels.
Fresh fruits are healthier carbohydrate options compared to fruit juices and dried fruits, but the high carbohydrate content of some fruits can make them raise your blood sugar levels quite rapidly. For example, a large banana has 31 grams of carbohydrates and a mango has 50 grams of carbohydrates. Many large fruits, such as apples and pears, can easily provide between 30 and 36 grams of carbohydrates, which turns into the equivalent of 7 to 9 teaspoons of sugar.
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth healthily without disrupting your blood sugar levels, choose fresh fruits that have a lower carbohydrate content per serving. Berries have some of the lowest carb contents of all fruits. For example, strawberries contain only 11 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries also have a low carb content and will not make your blood sugar levels rise too much. Melons, such as watermelon and cantaloupe are other good options, with about 11 to 13 grams of carbohydrates per cup.
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