Diabetes is fast growing into a major health concern among healthcare providers in India. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which there is a complete absence of insulin secretion in the body. .This leads to high sugar levels in the blood and requires external insulin administration to manage blood sugar levels. In Type 2 Diabetes, either the body fails to produce sufficient insulin or the cells in the body are unable to absorb insulin to process glucose Diabetes is fast growing into a major health concern among healthcare providers in India. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which there is a complete absence of insulin secretion in the body..This leads to high sugar levels in the blood and requires external insulin administration to manage blood sugar levels. In Type 2 Diabetes, either the body fails to produce sufficient insulin or the cells in the body are unable to absorb insulin to process glucose Diet plays an important role in blood sugar management. We all are aware that fruits are very important in our diet. They contain antioxidants (to fight against infections), phytochemical (to fight against cancers), fibre (to help improve gut health and stay away from obesity) as well as carbohydrates in the form of fructose.People with prediabetes or those with Diabetes often face the dilemma of 'whether fruits are safe for them' or 'should they worry about blood sugar levels after eating fruits'. For a person with Diabetes, fruits are safe when eaten in the right quantity, at the right time and with a good combination of food. According to the American Diabetic Association, fruits are the best way to curb sweet cravings. A 2013 study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that the consumption of whole fruits like apples, blueberries and grapes is significantly associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.Let's take a look at the nutritional benefits of some fruits that are commonly eaten:MelonsCantaloupe, watermelon and muskmelon are rich in Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, vitamin 86 and fibre. The glycaemic index (GI) of watermelon is 72, which is high but the glycaemic Load (GL} is 2 per 100 g. If a person with Diabetes eats a moderate amount in between two meals along with any protein source, he or she can balance its glycaemic index which is safe for their health. 1 cup of melon pieces contains 15 g of carbohydrates which is a safe amount to consume by a person with Diabetes in one meal. Drinking any melon fruit juice with added sugar is not safe at all.Mango100 g of mango contains around 48 kcal, 10 g carbohydrates and 2 g fibre along with antioxidants and other nutrients likevitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate and potassium. People with Diabetes do not need to avoid the fruit completely. They can enjoy the fruit in small amount along with good exercise. The GI of mango is 52which fall under the moderate category but the intake should still be limited to avoid complications. In animal studies, the plant compound in mango has been found to render protection against Diabetes.Consuming 2-3 slices in between two meals is safe. It is advised to avoid sugar added 'aamras' in meals, mango milkshakes, mango pulp and juices.BananaBananas are rich in fibre, potassium and their GI is 51. A small banana contains 15 g of carbohydrates and is permitted to be consumed as a snack before exercise.Citrus fruitsIndian gooseberry (amla), pineapple, oranges, sweet lime, guava and grapes are rich sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium along with rich content of fibre. 17 small grapes contain around 15 g of carbohydrates which is safe for people with Diabetes.BerriesBerries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries are rich in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium and folate. They are also known as a superfood because they are rich in antioxidants which help to fight against infections. Research studies have shown that blueberries help to reduce blood sugar levels, aid in weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity. The GI of blueberries is 50-55 and strawberries have relatively low GI than other fruits. 1 cup of blackberries / 3/4th cup of blueberries / 1 cup raspberries Il4th cup strawberries contains 15 g carbohydrates which are safe for consumption in Diabetes.AppleApples are rich in a fibre called 'pectin', vitamin C, vitamin K and B complex vitamins. Apples are also abundant in antioxidants which promote heart health and reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. The Antioxidant properties of apple are linked to increased bone density.FAQs about fruitsCan a person with Diabetes eat fruits 1-2 hours before or after meals?Fructose i.e. the sugar present in fruits can increase your blood sugar levels faster when consumed along with meals.Research studies have shown that eating fruits as a snack paired with a high protein, fibre and fat food can help balance the GI which is a better choice for a person with Diabetes. The reason behind this is that protein, fibre and fat can cause the stomach to release food into the small intestine more slowly, thus reducing post meal blood sugar spike.Can a person with Diabetes drink fruit juice?We know that fruits are rich in fructose and half a pint of juice contains more sugar than the recommended quantity.A 250 ml glass of unsweetened orange juice contains around 100-120 calories but a whole fruit contains 60 calories.Juices are also low in fibre so consuming them can cause a significant spike in blood sugar levels. The GI of fruit juices ranges from 66-76, which is high. Fructose needs to be processed by the liver and research studies suggest that a diet high in fructose may cause the liver to be overwhelmed, leading to problems such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.Table sugar is made up of 50 per cent sucrose so adding sugar to a fruit juice may further impact blood sugar levels.Are canned fruits safe for Diabetes?The National Institute of Diabetic and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommends that people with Diabetes should avoid fruit juices or canned fruits with added sugar which create problems regarding blood sugar levels. Fruits consumed in the form of smoothies also contain high sugar content and are more rapidly absorbed leading to greater spikes in the blood sugar levels as compared to whole fruits. So it is better to go with whole fruits to keep good control of blood sugar levels.How many fruits should Iconsume per day if I have Diabetes?One serving means a medium-sized fruit or a serving of the size of a baseball. Smaller fruits such as berries make one cup as the serving size. One medium-sized apple, one small size banana or half portion of a large banana, two kiwis, six lychees, one pear and one orange, one slice of papaya and one slice of pineapple contain 15 g carbohydrates and are safe for consumption.Ms Gayatri Kulkarni is a Clinical Registered Dietician anda paediatric Nutritionist.