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Can Diabetics Eat Fruit?

Fruit is a natural food that’s often vilified the most by many trends of natural health and raw food movements.

Even the Hippocrates Health Institute has launched a fear campaign on eating fruit, claiming that fruit eating is responsible for the common health problems experienced by the majority of raw foodists.

Let’s take a look at a few myths about fruit.

Overeating fruit will cause symptoms of blood sugar problems.

It’s still possible for some people to experience an adverse reaction from eating sweet fruit. However, it’s not the fruit that’s to blame in this case, but their overall diet which is too high in fat. This situation is best explained in the book “Breaking the Food Seduction,” by Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D.

“It may surprise you to know that you can change your body’s response to any food so that you are better able to handle whatever sugars it might contain. (…)

Marjorie was one of our research volunteers. In a laboratory test, we asked her to drink a syrup containing 75 grams of pure sugar. Taking blood samples over the next two hours, we saw what happened to her blood sugar. (…) It peaked at about thirty minutes, then quickly cascaded downward. That’s a pretty typical pattern. If your blood sugar falls too precipitously, you may be set up for another binge, which is your body’s way of bringing your blood sugar back up again.

Here’s the problem: insulin is the hormone that escorts sugar from your bloodstream into the cells of the body. It is like a doorman who turns the knob on the door to each cell, helps sugar go inside, and then closes the door. (…)

But everything changes when you eat fatty foods, or when you gain a significant amount of weight. Insulin can’t work in an oil slick. When there is too much fat in the bloodstream, insulin’s hand slips on the knob. Unable to open the door to the cells, insulin lets sugar build up in the blood. Your body responds by making more and more insulin, and eventually, it will get the sugar into the cells.

(…) Cutting fat from your meals improves what is called insulin sensitivity, meaning that insulin efficiently escorts sugar into the cells of the body. (…)

With our guidance, Marjorie adjusted her diet to cut fat and boost fiber scrupulously. A few weeks later, we repeated the test. She again drank exactly the same sugar solution, but the changes in her blood sugar were very different. Because the low-fat diet had tuned up her insulin, the blood-sugar was more muted, the peak was lower, and the fall was gentler than before. (…) In our clinical studies, we have found that simple diet changes alone boost insulin sensitivity by an average of 24 percent, and it can increase even more if you also exercise.”

Diabetics Should Not Eat Fruit

What about diabetes? Should people with diabetes avoid fruit altogether or should they not worry about it?

Again, it’s best to look at the root of the problem, rather than analyze it superficially.

Fruit-eating will NOT cause diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is caused by intra-cellular fat, preventing insulin from doing its job.

While type 1 diabetes occurs early in life and is rarely reversible, type 2 diabetes is simply an acute form of insulin resistance or, “reduced insulin sensitivity.” This type is reversible when a person addresses the root of the problem in time.

If you want to improve your body’s response to the natural sugar in fruit — and all of the food you eat for that matter — all you have to do is improve your insulin sensitivity by doing the following:

• Reduce your body fat to a healthy level.
• Eat a high-fiber diet (or should we say an “adequate” fiber diet).
• Eat a low-fat diet (15% or less of total calories).
• Exercise regularly (and favor cardio).
• Avoid animal foods.

These recommendations, endorsed by many health professionals with extensive experience healing with diabetes naturally (Fuhrman, Mc.Dougall, Ornish, Barnard, etc.), are perfectly compatible with a high-fruit, low-fat diet.

Most diabetics I know have done incredibly well on a fruit-based diet (as long as it’s a low-fat one), reducing dramatically the quantity of insulin they have to take, or eliminating it.

You should pay attention to all the important factors that can improve insulin sensitivity, the main ones being: losing weight, a low-fat diet, regular exercise.

An interesting website on the topic is:

It’s been created by two smart young guys who have adopted a fruit-based diet for their diabetes, with great success.


Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets.