Can People with Diabetes Eat Durian?
Like the other fruits, people with diabetes can enjoy durian as long as the portion is well controlled.
People with diabetes are advised to consume only 2 medium seeds of durian in 1 serving size.
According to Malaysian Dietary Guidelines 2010, we are recommended to take at least 2 servings of fruit per day.
How about Durian as a Meal or Durian Buffet?
Many Malaysians shared the same experience where the durians would be taken as main meals, especially when they are in season. Apart from taking durians, some may have experience taking durians with rambutans and mangosteens, which are usually in season as well. Bear in mind that all fruits contain natural sugar, and they are rich in carbohydrates.
Avoid taking durian as a meal, especially combined with other tropical fruits, which come in season together such as mangosteens and rambutans. Excessive intake of carbohydrate will increase the blood sugar level and result in hyperglycemia, this will cause poor control of diabetes and increase the risk of complications.
Durian buffet is easily available when the durian is in season. If you would like to take 1 whole fruit of durian all by yourself, you might be consuming up to 3 scoops of rice, or 6 pieces of bread or even 18 pieces of biscuits. One whole durian can easily give us about 6 exchanges of carbohydrates. Therefore, it is very important to count your carbohydrates and do not feast on durians as they are high in carbohydrates.
How about a Less-Sweet or Bitter Durian?
Durian is found in different species and all these different species are famous with their unique flavor, aroma and taste. Taste of durian does not play a role in deciding on the carbohydrate content. Some durians might taste bitter, but this does not mean that carbohydrate content is less in this group of durians. Carbohydrate content in durian is based on the portion size of the fruit, the bigger the size of the durian, the higher the content of carbohydrate. People with diabetes are advised to consume only 2 medium seeds of durian in 1 serving size, regardless of the species of the durian.
Example of 1 exchange carbohydrate:
- Two medium seeds durian (25g fresh)
- Three small seeds of kampung durian
- One large seed of Musang King durian
How about Durian Products Such as Durian Chips / Durian Cheese Cake?
Durian products such as durian chips, durian ice cream, and durian cheesecake are popular nowadays. These products are usually higher in calories and some of them even higher in sugar content. Take cendol durian as an example. Cendol itself is a sweet dessert that is high in sugar content, when it is topped with durian, there will be additional carbohydrate that will increase the total carbohydrate in the dessert. All these will contribute to higher blood sugar level.
Pulut durian, durian chips and tempoyak are also very popular among Malaysians. These foods are usually high in sugar content and carbohydrate content due to the combination of different carbohydrate foods.
Reminder for those who want to enjoy the durian products, do check on the food label if it’s available so that you know what you are eating, as well as to help you control the carbohydrate intake. Otherwise, try to avoid taking durian products unless the portion is well controlled.
In short, moderation is always the key. Durian intake should be controlled before consumption in order to avoid fluctuation in blood sugar. People with diabetes can enjoy durian as long as they follow the recommended portion size, which is 2 medium seeds of durian in 1 serving size.
This article is written by Ms Poh Kai Ling, Clinical Dietitian from Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya.