Is It Safe to Eat Pineapple If You Have Diabetes?

Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, CNE, COI on May 31, 2016Written by Natalie Silver on May 31, 2016
pineapples and diabetes

Pineapple and Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to track the food you eat. Although maintaining your blood sugar levels is important, you must also consider your carbohydrate intake.

Fruits such as pineapple can be a healthy a choice for people with diabetes. Certain fruits contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can be beneficial to your diet. But they also can contain carbohydrates that can affect your blood sugar, so moderation is key.

We’ll share some tips for balancing your diet and break down the pros and cons of pineapple.

Tips for balancing your diet

A healthy diet is crucial to managing your diabetes. You should track your daily carbohydrate consumption and maintain a healthy meal plan.

Your diet should consist of foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. These can be found in:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • legumes

You should avoid foods that are high in fat, foods that are highly processed, and sweets.

A nutritionist or doctor can help you determine a balanced diet that manages your condition.

Carbohydrate counting

Many people with diabetes count their daily intake of carbs. This is because carbs are responsible for raising blood sugar levels. You may use a meal plan that counts the carbohydrates you consume at each meal. This approach can help you manage your blood sugar levels effectively.

The number of carbohydrates you consume at each meal and snack depends on many factors. These factors include:

  • any medications you’re taking
  • your weight
  • your activity level
  • your goals for your blood glucose readings

A rule of thumb for carbohydrate counting is 45-60 grams of carbs per meal and 15-20 grams of carbs per snack.

Glycemic index monitoring

Along with counting carbs, you may also factor in the glycemic index when eating. The glycemic index measures how carbs raise your blood sugar. Some foods cause the blood sugar to rise more rapidly than others.

Factors contributing to glycemic index in foods are:

  • fat
  • fiber
  • processing
  • ripeness
  • cooking method
  • variety

If a food has a high glycemic index, it can raise your blood sugar quickly. You can still eat these foods, but you should balance them with low glycemic foods at meals.

A closer look at pineapple

Pros

  1. Fresh or frozen pineapple is generally low in carbs.
  2. It’s high in vitamin C and low in sodium.

Cons

  1. Pineapple usually registers as a medium-glycemic index fruit.
  2. Pineapple juice is high in sugar.

Pineapple is considered a “medium” fruit on the glycemic index, so you should consume it in small portions. A serving of ¾ cup of fresh pineapple has a glycemic index score of 56.

When using pineapple in meals, it’s best to pair it with foods that have a low or medium glycemic index score. This can help you avoid sugar spikes.

Some good foods to pair with pineapple include:

  • pasta
  • converted rice
  • barley
  • bulgur
  • rolled or steel-cut oatmeal
  • legumes
  • whole wheat bread

Foods that are high on the glycemic index include:

  • white bread
  • pretzels
  • saltine crackers
  • russet potatoes
  • instant oatmeal

Fresh or frozen pineapple generally contains the lowest amount of carbs per serving. Pineapple juice and dried pineapple often contain more sugar. That means their serving sizes are smaller for those managing their carbs.

You can eat canned pineapple too, but look out for sugary syrup used to preserve the fruit.

The bottom line

If you have diabetes, you can eat pineapple as long as you do so in moderation. You should also balance your pineapple consumption with other foods. If you’re introducing pineapple into your diet for the first time since your diagnosis, you should watch for any changes to your blood sugar levels.

If you find that pineapple is causing your blood sugar levels to become dangerously high or low, you should remove it from your diet. Your doctor can work with you to determine whether pineapple is suitable for your diet.

Check out: 10 recipes that make the most of the pineapple »

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