Highlights

  • Fruits can be a healthy choice for people with diabetes.
  • Pineapple is rich in nutrients but can be high on the glycemic index.
  • Fresh pineapple may be a better option than canned, dried, or juiced pineapple.

If you have diabetes, you can eat any food, including pineapple and other fruit, but you’ll need to consider how the food you eat fits in with the rest of your diet and lifestyle.

The type of diabetes you have can also have an effect.

Doctors advise people with diabetes to:

  • eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • keep track of the food they eat, especially the carbs
  • have an exercise plan that fits with their carb intake and medication use

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) encourages people with diabetes to eat a variety of fresh foods, including fruit.

However, since fruit contains carbohydrate, including natural sugars, you need to account for it in your meal and exercise plan.

There are three main ways of balancing diet with type 2 diabetes:

  • carb counting
  • the plate method
  • the glycemic index (GI)

Here, find out how to account for pineapple in each approach.

Many people with diabetes count their carbohydrate intake every day because carbs are responsible for raising blood sugar levels.

To keep glucose levels within a healthy range, you need to have a steady intake of carbs throughout the day.

When carb counting, most people aim for 45–60 grams (g) of carbs per meal and 15–20 g of carbs per snack, depending on calorie goals for the day.

But, the amount will also vary depending on individual factors, such as medications and exercise levels. A healthcare provider or dietitian can help you make a plan after identifying how many carbs you need.

Balancing carbs means you can eat what you like, but you need to make sure the total number of carbs in one session is within a specific range.

So, if you add one high-carb ingredient, such as pineapple, into a meal, you may need to do without a potato or a piece of bread, for example, so that you have the right number of carbs.

The following table shows the number of carbs in various servings of pineapple:

Unit of pineappleApproximate weightCarbs
Thin slice2 ounces7.4 g
Thick slice3 ounces11 g
1/2 Cup4 ounces15 g

However, it’s worth noting that, of the carbs in a thin slice of pineapple, 5.5 g are naturally occurring sugar.

A 3-ounce slice contains 8.3 g of sugar, and a cup of pineapple chunks contains 16.3 g. The body digests sugar more quickly than other types of starch, and it’s more likely to trigger a glucose spike.

A 6-ounce cup of canned pineapple chunks, drained of juice, will contain almost 28g of carbohydrate.

Pineapple chunks in heavy syrup will have a higher carb value. Check the label on the can to find out the carb value for a specific product.

Just one fluid ounce of 100 percent pineapple juice contains almost 13 g of carbohydrate.

Juicing a fruit partly breaks down its fibers, which means that sugar from juice will enter the bloodstream more quickly than sugar from whole fruit.

Drinking a large glass of pineapple juice will likely trigger a glucose spike even if the juice is labeled “unsweetened” or “100 percent juice.”

Some people manage their diet by balancing the food types on their plate.

Starting with a 9-inch plate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend filling it with:

  • one half non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, salad, or carrots
  • one quarter lean protein, for example chicken, tofu, or egg
  • one quarter grain or starchy food, including whole grains, pasta, or potato

Alongside the plate, the ADA suggest adding a medium-sized piece of fruit or a cup of fruit, and low-fat dairy.

Whether you’re counting carbs or using the plate method, the glycemic index (GI) can help you decide whether or not pineapple is for you, and if so, in which form.

The GI is a way of ranking foods according to how quickly they cause blood sugar to rise. Glucose has a score of 100, while water scores zero.

Factors contributing to the score include:

  • sugar and starch content
  • fiber content
  • the amount and type of processing
  • ripeness
  • cooking method
  • the variety of fruit or specific canned or other product

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

Fruits can be very sweet, but they also contain fiber, which makes them slower to digest and less likely to cause a sugar spike. For this reason, they do not always score high in the index.

According to an international table of GI scores, pineapple compares with glucose and other fruits as follows:

  • pineapple: between 51 and 73, depending on the origin
  • papaya: between 56 and 60
  • watermelon: around 72

However, the score can vary widely. One early study put the GI score of Malaysian pineapple at around 82.

Other factors that can affect the GI score are processing and ripening. These increase the amount of sugar the fruit can release, and how quickly the body absorbs it.

For this reason, whole fruits will have a lower score than juice, and ripe fruit will have a higher GI score than unripe fruit. The GI can also be affected by the other food components present in the same meal.

If you have diabetes, foods with a lower GI score are usually a better option than those that score high.

Pros

  1. Pineapple can satisfy a sweet tooth..
  2. It’s a good source of vitamin C.

Cons

  • Pineapple and its juice can be high in sugar.

Pineapple is a sweet and tasty fruit that contains some essential nutrients.

One thin slice of pineapple provides 26.8 mg of vitamin C. Adult females need 75 mg of vitamin C per day, and adult males need 90 mg. Vitamin C is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, among other functions.

Pineapple also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, folate, and various antioxidants that can help boost your overall health.

However, it can also contains sugar that must be accounted for in the daily allowance for carbs.

If you have diabetes, you can eat pineapple in moderation and as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Choose fresh pineapple or canned pineapple without added sugar, and avoid any sugary syrup or rinse the syrup before eating.

When eating dried pineapple or drinking pineapple juice, remember that the sugar content will be higher for what looks like a smaller serving.

If you’re introducing pineapple into your diet for the first time since your diagnosis, watch for any changes to your blood sugar levels.

If you find that pineapple affects your glucose levels significantly, you may wish to consider a smaller serving or eating it with a lower carb meal.

Pineapple and other fruit can be part of a varied and balanced diet with diabetes.

Your healthcare provider or dietitian can help you work out how to incorporate fruit into your meal plan.