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Mango and diabetes

How mangos affect diabetes and blood sugar levels

Mangoes are a delicious tropical fruit, but they're also high in sugar. This article explains whether you can eat mangoes if you have diabetes.

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This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts, and fact-checked by experts.
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Last updated on August 2, 2022, and last reviewed by an expert on July 18, 2022.

Often referred to as “the king of fruits,” mango (Mangifera indica) is one of the most beloved tropical fruits in the world. It’s prized for its bright yellow flesh and unique, sweet flavor.

This stone fruit, or drupe, has been primarily cultivated in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Central America, but it’s now grown across the globe.

Given that mangoes contain natural sugar, many people wonder whether they’re appropriate for people with diabetes.

This article explains whether people with diabetes can safely include mango in their diets.

Mango is very nutritious

Mangoes are loaded with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to almost any diet — including those focused on improving blood sugar control.

One cup (165 grams) of sliced mango offers the following nutrients:

This fruit also boasts small quantities of several other important minerals, including magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.

Summary: Mango is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber — key nutrients that can enhance the nutritional quality of almost any diet.

Mango has a low impact on blood sugar

Over 90% of the calories in mango come from sugar, which is why it may contribute to increased blood sugar in people with diabetes.

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Yet, this fruit also contains fiber and various antioxidants, both of which play a role in minimizing its overall blood sugar impact.

While the fiber slows the rate at which your body absorbs the sugar into your bloodstream, its antioxidant content helps reduce any stress response associated with rising blood sugar levels.

This makes it easier for your body to manage the influx of carbs and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Glycemic index of mango

The glycemic index (GI) is a tool used to rank foods according to their effects on blood sugar. On its 0–100 scale, 0 represents no effect and 100 represents the anticipated impact of ingesting pure sugar.

Any food that ranks under 55 is considered low on this scale and may be a better choice for people with diabetes.

The GI of mango is 51, which technically classifies it as a low GI food.

Still, you should keep in mind that people’s physiological responses to food vary. Thus, while mango can certainly be considered a healthy carb choice, it’s important to evaluate how you respond to it personally to determine how much you should include in your diet.

Summary: Mango contains natural sugar, which can contribute to increased blood sugar levels. However, its supply of fiber and antioxidants may help minimize its overall blood sugar impact.

How to make mango more diabetes-friendly

If you have diabetes and want to include mango in your diet, you can use several strategies to reduce the likelihood that it will increase your blood sugar levels.

Suggested read: How apples affect diabetes and blood sugar levels

Portion control

The best way to minimize this fruit’s blood sugar effects is to avoid eating too much at one time.

Carbs from any food, including mango, may increase your blood sugar levels — but that doesn’t mean that you should exclude it from your diet.

A single serving of carbs from any food is considered around 15 grams. As 1/2 cup (82.5 grams) of sliced mango provides about 12.5 grams of carbs, this portion is just under one serving of carbs.

If you have diabetes, start with 1/2 cup (82.5 grams) to see how your blood sugar responds. From there, you can adjust your portion sizes and frequency until you find the amount that works best for you.

Add a source of protein

Much like fiber, protein can help minimize blood sugar spikes when eaten alongside high-carb foods like mango.

Mango naturally contains fiber but isn’t particularly high in protein.

Therefore, adding a protein source may result in a lower rise in blood sugar than if you were to eat the fruit by itself.

For a more balanced meal or snack, try pairing your mango with a boiled egg, piece of cheese, or a handful of nuts.

Summary: You can minimize mango’s impact on your blood sugar by moderating your intake and pairing this fruit with a source of protein.

The bottom line

Most of the calories in mango come from sugar, giving this fruit the potential to raise blood sugar levels — a particular concern for people with diabetes.

Suggested read: 8 proven health benefits of dates

That said, mango can still be a healthy food choice for people trying to improve blood sugar control.

That’s because it has a low GI and contains fiber and antioxidants that may help minimize blood sugar spikes.

Practicing moderation, monitoring portion sizes, and pairing this tropical fruit with protein-rich foods are simple techniques to improve your blood sugar response if you plan to include mango in your diet.

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