Strawberries, which have antioxidants and fiber, are part of a healthy diet. People with diabetes do not have to avoid them, but it‘s important to know how they affect blood sugar.

You’ve probably heard at least one myth about diabetes and diet. Maybe you’ve been told that you must stay away from sugar or that you can’t eat fruit.

While it’s true that you should limit certain foods, fruit isn’t one of them.

Yes, sugary foods can increase your blood glucose level. But eating fruit affects glucose levels differently than eating chocolate cake or cookies. It has everything to do with the nutritional content and makeup of different foods.

So, if you’re a big fan of strawberries, you don’t have to give up on this fruit — or berries, in general.

Eating strawberries and other fruits is important for a healthy diet. Plus, strawberries are low in calories and a great source of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients.

But if you have diabetes, it’s still important to understand how these berries affect your blood sugar.

If you have diabetes, you can still eat sweet treats like fruit, cake, cookies, and ice cream. But moderation is key to preventing blood sugar spikes.

Strawberries are delicious and refreshing. They’re the perfect treat because they’re sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth while providing you with beneficial nutrients.

Eat in moderation

Watch out for certain recipes that may seem healthier than they are, simply because they include strawberries.

Some desserts, such as pies and cheesecakes, include strawberries as toppings. Yet many of these desserts aren’t exactly diabetes-friendly, as their overall sugar content may cause an increase in blood sugar.

Nutritional content

Eating strawberries on their own is healthy because the fruit is low in calories. On average, 1 cup of strawberries has about 46 calories and 11.1 grams (g) of carbohydrates.

This is helpful if you’re watching your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can lower blood sugar naturally and help you reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

Fiber

Strawberries are also a good source of fiber. One cup of whole, fresh strawberries contains about 3 g of fiber, which is roughly 12% of the recommended daily intake.

Consuming fiber is important if you have diabetes because it helps slow the absorption of sugar in your body. Not only does fiber improve your blood sugar level, but it can help you feel full longer. This also plays a part in healthy weight management.

Vitamins and minerals

Other important nutrients and vitamins found in strawberries include vitamin C and magnesium.

According to research from 2017, magnesium may improve insulin resistance, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and improves diabetes management.

In addition, research from 2021 links vitamin C supplements to better blood sugar and blood pressure control for people with type 2 diabetes. Yet more research needs to be done to confirm whether whole strawberries have the same benefits.

When deciding which fruits to eat and limit, you may want to know where they rank on the glycemic index.

The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates according to how quickly or slowly they increase blood glucose levels. People with diabetes often aim to eat foods with a low glycemic load, including low glycemic fruits.

Strawberries fall into this category because the fruit doesn’t quickly raise glucose levels. You can eat them without worrying about a blood sugar spike.

Knowing the glycemic index of different types of food is helpful. It can help you decide what to eat.

Other fruits

While fruits aren’t off-limits for people with diabetes, keep in mind that some fruits do have a higher glycemic load than others. But even fruits with a higher glycemic index are OK to eat in moderation.

Take watermelon, for example. It ranks high on the glycemic index, but it has a low amount of digestible carbohydrates. This means you would have to eat a lot of watermelon for it to have a negative effect on your blood sugar.

It’s also important to know that the glycemic index measures how quickly food causes your blood sugar to increase. It doesn’t take into account the nutritional makeup of food.

So, while a food may rank low on the glycemic index, it could be high in fat — and not the best choice if you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight.

Good nutrition is essential when maintaining a healthy weight and managing your diabetes. It’s all about balance. This involves eating a mix of nutritious foods, including:

  • lean proteins
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • legumes
  • low fat dairy products

You should also limit any beverages or foods with added fat and sugar. If you’re not sure what to eat, your doctor can recommend a dietitian to help you come up with a healthy eating plan.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 45% of your calories should come from carbohydrates.

Most females can consume three servings of carbohydrates per meal, while males can consume up to five servings per meal. One serving consists of 15 g of carbohydrates.

When snacking in between meals, limit your carbs to about 15 g. A cup of strawberries falls within this range, so you can enjoy this snack without it affecting your blood sugar too much.

Of course, eating raw strawberries might get boring after a while. Here’s a look at a few diabetes-friendly strawberry recipes from the American Diabetes Association to try this week. Each recipe has under 15 g of carbohydrates.

It’s important to monitor your blood glucose level on a regular basis and take your diabetes medication as instructed. Certain lifestyle changes can also help you manage your blood sugar, such as:

If you have trouble keeping your blood sugar within a healthy range, consult your doctor. You may need to adjust your diabetes medication. Your doctor can also refer you to a diabetes educator or dietitian.

People with diabetes can eat strawberries and many other types of fruit. Fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet, but the key is to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.