Many people who have the disease called diabetes, a condition in which higher than normal blood sugar levels circulate throughout the body, are reluctant to consume foods known to contain sugar. And fruits fall into that category. The simple sugar in fruit is fructose, and like all sugars, fructose is a carbohydrate.

As a person who is a type-2 diabetic with a non-diabetic wife who loads up the shopping cart every week with several varieties of fruit and all the berries in season that are available, I am faced with the dilemma of either giving in to temptation or resisting by giving up what I know are nutritious foods full of vitamins and minerals and fiber. From the blood glucose readings I get from my testing device after eating fruit, I seem to have higher than normal blood sugar levels for a longer time period than occurs with most any other categories of food I consume. What to do?

The American Diabetes Association, as stated in their literature, are very much in favor of including fruits in the diabetic menu because of the wholesome dietary benefits they offer, commenting that the best choices are fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars, and that's a pretty wide range of choices. But they do offer the advice to be cautious with portion sizes and suggest that they can be eaten "in exchange" for other carbohydrates on the diabetic meal plan, carbohydrates such as starches, grains or dairy items.

Another leading diabetes authority, the Canadian Diabetes Association, also recommends the inclusion of fruits in the menu and suggests that they are good to serve as snacks 3 to 4 servings each day.

Checking on opinions offered by the Mayo Clinic, also a reliable medical information source, I see they too are in favor of fruits on the diabetic menu. Their added comment is that the source of the carbohydrates is not the main factor, whether it be fruits or otherwise, but it is the amount of carbohydrates that is important. In terms of serving size for people with diabetes, one serving is usually considered to be a quantity of food that contains 15-grams of carbohydrate.

So with those "endorsements" for delicious and nutritious fruits in mind and their caveats regarding the amounts to consume, and to give an approximate idea of how mach is a suitable amount, here are a few examples of fruits listed in quantities of 15-grams.

♦ Apple: a small 2- inch diameter apple or a half of a large apple
♦ Banana: a small banana of 4-ounces or half of a large banana
♦ Peach: small, weighing about 6 ounces
♦ Pear: half of a large pear, enough to provide about 6 ounces
♦ Plums: about 2 or 3 small, weighing about 6 ounces
♦ Raspberries: one cup full
♦ Strawberries: about one and a quarter cups
♦ Watermelon: about one and a quarter cups, about 14 ounces

Personally, I must say that a 15-gram serving does not seem to be much of a snack to me. I will have to measure the effects on my blood sugar levels to see the result after my favorite fruit snack.

To really know how the fructose in fruits affects them, a diabetic person could determine how sensitive they are to the sugars in fruits by taking a blood test before eating a serving of fruit and then taking a blood test again after 2 hours and then, if necessary, periodically after that until the blood sugar levels return closer to normal. It would be best to know.