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Real Fruit vs Fruit Juice

Fruit and fruit juices provide important vitamins and minerals, and can be a part of a healthy diet to help prevent and manage diabetes. They are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and to help stay hydrated. Fruit and fruit juice both contain carbohydrates, so it’s important to count them as a carbohydrate choice in your meal plan and to watch the amount you eat or drink at one time.


Whole fruits have natural sugars, and as a result can affect blood glucose levels. Different fruits will affect your blood glucose differently. Most whole fruits have a low Glycemic Index, and will not cause a spike in blood glucose levels. Here are some tips to help make good fruit choices:

  • Choose fresh whole fruit with the edible skin or peel. These have the benefit of fibre. Fibre helps control blood glucose levels, curb appetite, and may help to manage management and lower blood cholesterol levels
  • Canned fruit with no added sugar, packed in juice
  • Frozen fruit with no added sugar
  • Less ripened fruit. A fruit’s Glycemic Index rises as it ripens
  • Small portions of dried fruit. They are nutritious, but are less filling and have a lot more sugar than other choices.

Enjoy fruit as a snack or dessert. If you enjoy more fruit at one time, eat them in exchange for other carbohydrates such as bread, rice or potato2. Try to keep your fruit intake to 2-3 servings each day.

What’s a serving of fruit?

1 medium fresh fruit
½ or 1 small banana
½ mango1
½ cup frozen or canned fruit
¾ - 1 cup fresh berries and melons
2 Tbsp (30g) dried fruit


In moderation, juice can still be enjoyed to quench your thirst. But choose water and whole fruit over juice whenever possible. Juice contains more calories, more carbohydrates, and has a higher Glycemic Index than whole fruits. Plus, processing removes the beneficial fibre. This means juice has a greater effect on blood glucose levels. When choosing juice go for 100% juice with no added sugar instead of fruit punches and fruit drinks, which contain added sugars, and have higher amounts of carbohydrates and calories.

One serving of juice is ½ cup, which is a lot less than most people usually drink at one time. To help keep blood glucose levels under control, add plain or sparkling water to your juice to make a bigger serving without adding extra sugar. ¾ cup of juice can also be used to treat a low blood glucose level.

Fruit and fruit juice add colour and sweetness to any diet. People with diabetes can enjoy fruit and fruit juices, but need to take into account the carbohydrate content of these foods. Talk to a Registered Dietitian or Diabetes Educator about including fruit and fruit juice in your diabetes meal plan, and whether juice is the best option for your hypoglycemia.