University of Illinois Extension

The Fruit Group

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Foods in this group include fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruit as well as fruit juices. All fruits are grouped together because all of their calories come from carbohydrates. Fruits contain very little protein and no fat.

Although foods with carbohydrates raise blood glucose, people with diabetes do not need to avoid fruits or fruit juice. In fact, it is important that everyone eat at least 2 servings of fruit every day. However, as with other foods, fruits need to be part of the meal plan.

fruits in a bowl

One Serving from the Fruit Group

One serving from the Fruit Group contains about 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Examples of one serving from this group would include:

  • One small piece of fresh fruit (like an apple or orange that is the size of a tennis ball)
  • 1/2 cup of canned or fresh fruit (like fresh pears or peaches canned in water)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened fruit juice (like unsweetened orange juice)
  • 1/3 cup of some fruit juice that is naturally higher in carbohydrates (like prune juice or cranberry juice)
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (like raisins)

Tips for Choosing Foods from the Fruit Group

  • Choose fresh fruits more often than canned fruits or fruit juices. Unlike whole fruits, canned fruits and fruit juices are often higher in sugar and calories, and fruit juices usually do not have any fiber.
  • When choosing canned fruit, choose fruit canned in its own juice, not a syrup-packed variety. If choosing a generic product that is not labeled as “packed in its own juice” look at the Nutrition Facts label. Talk to your dietitian or health care provider if you have any questions about choosing appropriate canned fruit.
  • Dried fruit, when compared to the same amount of fresh or frozen fruit, will always be the higher in calories.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label if you are unsure of how many fruit servings a certain amount of food contains. For fresh fruit that does not have a Nutrition Facts label, follow the above guidelines under the section titled “one serving from the fruit group.”

Back to: Food Groups and Diabetes

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.