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.
But 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. However, 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 kick this fruit — or berries, in general — to the curb. 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 blood sugar.
If you have diabetes, you can still eat sweet treats like cake, cookies, and ice cream. But moderation is key to preventing blood sugar spikes.
Strawberries aren’t only delicious and refreshing, but they’re the perfect treat because their sweetness can satisfy your sweet tooth.
Eat in moderation
Beware of certain dishes 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 the overall sugar content may cause an increase in blood sugar.
Eating strawberries alone is healthy because the fruit is low in calories. On average, one cup of strawberries has about 46 calories.
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.
Strawberries are also a good source of fiber. One cup of whole, fresh strawberries contains about 3 grams (g) of fiber, or roughly 12 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Consuming fiber is important if you have diabetes because it helps slow the absorption of sugar. Not only does fiber improve your blood sugar level, but it can help you feel full longer. This also contributes to healthy weight management.
Vitamins and minerals
Other important nutrients and vitamins found in strawberries include vitamin C and magnesium.
According to research, magnesium can improve insulin resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and improving diabetes control.
In addition, vitamin C has been linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and it may help reduce blood sugar spikes after meals. The antioxidants in vitamin C may even help reduce certain complications of diabetes, such as high blood pressure.
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 fast or how slow 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, as the fruit doesn’t quickly raise glucose levels. You can eat them without worrying about a blood sugar spike.
Knowing the glycemic load of different types of food is helpful. It can help you decide what to eat.
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 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.
Also, it’s 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
- whole grains
- 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
Most women can consume three servings of carbohydrates per meal, while men 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 can 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 control your blood sugar, such as:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- quitting smoking
- exercising regularly
- eating a balanced diet
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.