This updated glycemic index fruit chart with added glycemic load for 2022 shows surprising numbers and reclassifies fruits!
Simple sugars in fruits can spike your blood sugar which is why glycemic index is a helpful tool to estimate how quickly it will happen, but it doesn't paint the whole picture. Learn why, and see the lowest glycemic fruits, plus the best fruits for diabetics.
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Table of Contents
- Glycemic Index Definition
- What Affects GI
- Lowering Glycemic Index
- What fruit can a diabetic eat?
- Interactive Glycemic Index Fruit Chart
- 5 Best Fruits for Diabetics
- Low Glycemic Fruits Chart
- Vegetables & More
What is Glycemic Index?
Glycemic index (GI) is a scale from 1 to 100 that shows how quickly, or how slowly, a food raises your blood sugar. Foods are assigned a value based on one serving, eaten alone, without the influence of other foods. (Be aware that the serving size changes for each food.)
Low glycemic foods have a smaller affect on blood sugar than medium or high glycemic foods.
Here's how the scale is broken into low, medium and high.
What Affects the Glycemic Index of a Food?
Glycemic index is determined by the food's nutritional information, such as:
- the number of carbohydrates
- the type of carbs (whether simple or complex)
- the amount of fiber
- the amount of fat
- the amount of protein
Additionally, a food's ripeness, processing, form (liquid or solid; long or short grain), cooking method, and more affect its glycemic value.
Simple Carbs vs Complex Carbs - Know Your Carbs
Simple carbohydrates, chemically speaking, are sugar molecules that stand alone, or are paired with one other sugar molecule. They are already in their simplest form, so they enter the blood stream quickly when eaten. If a food has a significant amount of simple carbs, it is likely high glycemic..
Simple carbs are found in fruits, table sugar, dairy, refined grains (white flour), and many common foods that fill the grocery store aisles.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are long chains of sugar molecules that need to be broken down into simple carbs. This takes time, so complex carbs enter the blood stream at a slower rate.
Complex carbs include beans, whole wheat, brown rice, vegetables, and more.
Lowering Glycemic Index
A food's glycemic index cannot be lowered on its own, but if you eat it with another food that has significant protein, fat, or fiber, you can slow down how quickly the carbs enter your blood stream. This fruit pairing chart has a few examples:
A food's glycemic value can be raised, however, by removing the more nutritious parts.
For example, eating an apple or pear without the peeling takes away fiber, and drinking just the juice from an orange removes the pith (white parts).
What Fruit Can a Diabetic Eat?
A diabetic can eat any fruit!
Fruits are abundant in nutrients and should not be avoided just because they have simple sugars.
No fruit should be ruled out of your diet until you've tested it by portioning and pairing with appropriate amounts of protein, fat and fiber.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect ratio. It's a trial and error journey.
Glycemic Load: How does it factor in?
Glycemic Load uses a food's glycemic index value and factors in portion size to better determine how the food will effect blood glucose. Glycemic load is already calculated in the chart below, but here's the simple equation:
Glycemic Index (x) Carbohydrate (/) 100 = Glycemic Load
To determine the glycemic load of a banana we take the index value (49) and multiply it by the carbs in the serving size (34), then divide by 100.
49 x 34 / 100 = 17 ~ Banana has a medium glycemic load.
To demonstrate the usefulness of glycemic load, compare banana to watermelon. Watermelon was high glycemic at a 76 index value but has only 12g carbs in 1 cup's serving, giving it a low glycemic load of 9.
76 x 12 / 100 = 9
Glycemic Index Fruit Chart
This chart (best viewed on desktop) has been updated to reflect the most recent glycemic index data from the 2021 update of the International Tables of GI and GL. If the 2021 review lacked data, the tables from 2008 or 2002 were used.
In addition to glycemic index and load, serving size and basic nutrition information are included from the USDA. The table includes common fresh and dried fruits. Any information left blank was unavailable.
Screenshot or Download!
5 Best Fruits for Diabetics
These fresh fruits are high in fiber and/or very low on the glycemic index, making them great for diabetes.
- Citrus - Oranges, Grapefruit
- Berries - Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Blueberries
Low Glycemic Fruits
This chart graphic is of the best low glycemic and low carb fruits, but remember that a fruit can be eaten with another food to slow your glucose response.
More Low Glycemic Fruits' Nutrition
Low Glycemic Index Fruits FAQ
Yes; all strawberries and blueberries are low glycemic. Blackberries and raspberries do not have an official glycemic index value but they extremely high in fiber and low sugar.
Apple - 44
Apricot - 42
Banana - 49
Blueberry - 53
Cherry - 22
Coconut - 59
Date, dried, pitted, medjool - 55
Date, pitted, deglet noor - 52
Figs, dried, uncooked - 54
Grape, green, seedless - 54
Grape, red, seedless - 50
Grapefruit - 47
Guava - 29
Jackfruit, fresh - 37
Jujubes, dried - 55
Mango - 48
Nectarine - 43
Orange, navel - 45
Papaya - 38
Pear - 33
Plum - 39
Prunes, pitted - 40
Raisins - 55
Strawberry - 40
Tangerine - 52
Watermelon - 50
Yes; grapes are low glycemic, but almost all of their carbohydrates are sugar.
Low Glycemic Vegetables
Starchy vegetables tend to be root veggies (beets, potatoes, turnips, etc.) and winter vegetables (acorn squash, butternut squash), but they also include green peas and corn. They are higher on the glycemic index.
Here's a plethora of non-starchy vegetables diabetics can enjoy without worry of spiking blood sugar.
What fruits or pairings work well for you? Let us know in the comments!