Diabetes Self-Management Blog

For the past two weeks, I’ve written about super fruits—exotic, unfamiliar fruits that contain higher levels of antioxidants than your “run of the mill,” everyday fruits, such as apples and oranges. However, many claims about the health benefits of super fruits have yet to be proven. And we shouldn’t overlook the garden-variety (literally) fruits and vegetables that brighten up the produce aisles in our local grocery stores.

You may remember the campaign to get Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables that started years ago called the “5 A Day for Better Health” program. This program began in 1991 and was formed by a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute and the Produce for Better Health Foundation. While this campaign hasn’t exactly gone away, the government is now trying another tactic, called “Fruits & Veggies—More Matters.” And, with September being Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Month, what better time to familiarize yourself with this campaign?

The More Matters program stems from the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released in 2005. If you think it was tough trying to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, brace yourself for this: we need to aim for between 4 and 13 servings, or 2–6 ½ cups, of produce every day! Of course, the amount that you need depends on your age, sex, and physical activity level. For example, if you need about 2,000 calories per day to reach or maintain a healthy weight, your goal is to eat at least 4 ½ cups of produce every day. Still sounds like an awful lot, doesn’t it?

Why the big push to eat more fruit and vegetables? Are apple orchard owners or vegetable farmers the driving force behind this? Well, they certainly have a vested interest, but the real reason is what we’ve learned over many years (at least 30) of population research. Nutrition scientists are pretty confident when they report that eating produce can help prevent heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, diverticulosis, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and Alzheimer disease. Pretty impressive, especially since Americans seem to be plagued with most of these diseases or conditions.

My patients would often ask me if it’s better to eat vegetables than fruit. Or they’d tell me that they really disliked vegetables, so was it OK to just eat fruit? As with many things, the ideal is to eat a variety of both. Vegetables are lower in calories and carbohydrate, so for the weight-watching set, aiming for more servings from vegetables makes sense. Also, some new evidence shows that eating more vegetables, rather than fruits, may slow down the rate of cognitive decline. On the other hand, fruit has an awful lot to offer in terms of nutrition, and the naturally sweet flavor is more appealing to some people.


  1. On the other hand, fruit has an awful lot to offer in terms of nutrition, and the naturally sweet flavor is more appealing to some people.

    Well, the sweet flavor in pies and cakes is also appealing to some people. Does this mean we should eat a lot of pies and cakes? Most fruit makes my blood sugar skyrocket.

    Posted by gretchen |
  2. Hi Gretchen,

    Yes, fruit is sweet, but is obviously more nutritious than cakes and pies - fruit is practically fat-free (and certainly doesn’t contain harmful trans or saturated fat). Plus, fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients. Fruit does contain carbohydrate - moreso than most vegetables, so it does need to be counted in your meal plan. In general, a small fruit (the size of a tennis ball) contains about 15 grams of carb. However, to be more precise, it’s helpful to use a carb counting book to look up actual carb values of the kind of fruit you like to eat.

    Posted by acampbell |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of Madavor Media, LLC., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.

Nutrition & Meal Planning
That Gut Feeling: How Bacteria Can Affect Your Weight (10/28/14)
Hype or Healthy? Ezekiel Bread and Whey Protein (10/20/14)
Hype or Healthy? Chia Pudding and Bulletproof Coffee (10/14/14)
Low-Carb Diet Improves Quality of Life in Type 2 Diabetes (10/07/14)



Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.