According to the American Diabetes Association, the myth that people with diabetes need to avoid all fruits is a persistent one. Although naturally sweet fruits do contain more carbohydrates than non-starchy vegetables, fruits also provide the fiber, minerals and vitamins you need to stay healthy. If you choose super-sweet fruits like raisins or dates, however, portion control is crucial. Consider using small amounts of chopped dates or raisins to accent a baked dessert or even a savory main course, rather than making these sugary treats the main ingredient of a meal or snack.
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In general, people with diabetes should aim for fruit servings that don’t exceed 15 grams of carbohydrates. For that reason, you can usually eat more juicy fresh fruit than concentrated sweet treats like dates and raisins, which are higher in calories and carbs. For example, 3/4 to 1 cup of melon is equal to 1 serving, while you’ll need to restrict yourself to 2 tbsp. raisins or 3 dates to avoid having too many carbs or calories.
A 1 cup serving of seedless raisings contain almost 500 calories and 100 g sugar. They also have 131 g carbohydrates. Nutritional benefits include 24 percent DV for dietary fiber, and at least 10 percent of the DV for iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and several B vitamins.
A 1 cup of serving of chopped dates contains 415 calories and almost 95 g sugar, as well as 110 g carbohydrates. On the plus side, dates contribute almost half of your daily fiber needs. They also provide at least 10 percent of your DV for magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper and vitamin B-6.
Comparisons to Fresh Fruit
Because they have naturally concentrated sugars and a low water content, raisins and dates are much higher in sugar, calories and carbohydrates than most other fruits, especially the juicier varieties. Compared to the 15 to 20 percent water content of dates and raisins, fresh berries and watermelon are 85 to 90 percent water. In consequence, each cup of watermelon, strawberries or blueberries is between 45 to 85 calories and 11 to 21 g carbohydrates, with a sugar count of between 7 and 15 g. In other words, fresh fruit contains only about 15 percent of the calories and sugar, and 10 percent of the carbohydrates, that dried fruit has. Depending on the variety, fresh fruits like berries and watermelon are also high in nutrients, especially vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.