are cherries good for diabetics

Are cherries good for diabetics and should diabetics eat cherries

Cherries are naturally sweet fruits and therefore most diabetics wonder if cherries are good for them. 

They have a low glycemic index. This means that they are not likely to increase the blood glucose level sharply. That is good for diabetics since the body will be able to regulate the increase in blood sugar.

Also, cherries have a number of important health benefits to diabetics. This article explains in detail how beneficial cherries are to diabetics and whether they should consume them or not.

Who is a diabetic and why is this important

A diabetic is one who has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus either type 1 or 2 or any of its variant forms.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition associated with persistently elevated blood sugar beyond specified thresholds as defined by recommended guidelines [ADA guidelines]. 

It is associated with debilitating complications including; neuropathy (nerve damage), kidney damage, eye conditions (retinopathy), foot ulcers, stroke, hypertension, etc.

As a result, many management options are being sought and for that matter, dietary approaches to preventing and managing diabetes are of utmost importance.

Mostly, fruits with a low glycemic index are recommended for diabetics which include cherries.

What are cherries

Cherries are fruits belonging to the Prunus genus and the family Rosaceae.  It is a native plant in Western Asia and Europe and is widely cultivated in the USA. 

This fruit is enriched with nutrients including bioactive compounds and with low caloric content. The majority of sweet cherry consumption is fresh although some are produced as brined, canned, dried, frozen, or juiced.

Cherries, and in particular sweet cherries, are a nutritionally dense food rich in anthocyanins, quercetin, hydroxycinnamates, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and melatonin [Letitia M et al, 2011].

What are some of the nutritional and health benefits of eating cherries

Cherries have been found to give the following health benefits when consumed;

  • blood sugar regulation,
  • cardiovascular benefits,
  • anticancer properties,
  • antiinflammatory benefits and
  • importance in neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimers.

Do cherries increase the blood sugar level

As sweet as cherries are, you may be worried about it increasing your blood sugar. To draw a conclusion on how much cherries can affect your blood sugar level, you will need to know the glycemic index and the glycemic load values.

The glycemic index value gives you an idea about how quickly the fruit is able to increase your blood sugar. The glycemic load on the other hand indicates how easy it is for the fruit to increase your blood sugar levels.

Cherries have a glycemic index of 22 which is considered a low glycemic index value. The reference values for the glycemic index are indicated in the table below;

Below is the classification of the glycemic index

Low glycemic index0 to 55
Medium glycemic index56 to 69
High glycemic index70 to 100
Ranges for glycemic index

This means that cherries don’t have the potential to quickly increase blood glucose levels in diabetics.

The glycemic load for cherries is 3 which is also considered low as well. Reference values for glycemic load are presented below:

The classification of glycemic load is as follows:

Low glycemic load0 to 10
Medium glycemic load11 to 19
High glycemic load20 and above
Ranges for glycemic load [3]

Cherries are therefore fruits with low glycemic index and low glycemic load. As such cherries do not increase the blood glucose much and also it doesn’t increase it sharply.

This makes cherries a good fruit for people wanting to control their blood sugar levels.

Cherries for diabetics
Are cherries good for diabetics?

Are cherries good for diabetics

Cherries contain bioactive compounds such as anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamate, and flavonoids that enhance glucose uptake into tissues. These compounds enhance glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells. 

Research has also shown that these compounds exhibit inhibitory activities on alpha-glucosidase enzyme and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 enzyme thereby regulating blood sugar levels. 

Further evidence suggests a role for anthocyanins in reducing insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. 

In a study with diabetic women, concentrated tart cherry juice at 40 mL/day (anthocyanins 720 mg/day) for 6 weeks significantly decreased hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) when compared with the levels before the supplementation; fasting blood glucose (FBG) was also decreased by 8% but did not attain significance [Ataie-Jafari et al,]

Moreover, as most diabetics are associated with weight problems and lipid dysregulation, consumption of cherries has been found to have beneficial impacts in inhibiting the peroxidation of low-density cholesterol (LDL) as well as antioxidant properties. 

Cherries have high fiber content associated with low cholesterol levels and indirect effects on weight through its effect on satiety [Sulter, 2005; Keen et al, 2006].

Research has shown that cherries contain high amounts of potassium [USDA, 2006]. High potassium, low sodium diets have significant effects on reducing blood pressure and sympathetic activity and which are normally associated with uncontrolled diabetes. 

A meta-analysis of 121 publications suggests that low sodium and increased potassium result in a decrease in Blood Pressure and are associated with a significantly lower risk of stroke [Ding, et al].

How much cherries can a diabetic eat in a day

As indicated there exists evidence that consumption of cherries would support blood glucose control but what amount should be consumed per serving or day to obtain optimum benefits are still under investigation.  

Also, the lower glycemic index makes sweet cherries a potentially more appropriate fruit-based snack food (as compared with many other fruits) for individuals with diabetes. Therefore, diabetic individuals could add the consumption of cherries to their diet as one of the recommended fruits.


  1. Letitia M. McCune , Chieri Kubota , Nicole R. Stendell-Hollis & Cynthia A. Thomson (2010) Cherries and Health: A Review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 51:1, 1-12, DOI: 10.1080/10408390903001719.
  2. Shih, P.H., Yeh, C.T., and Yen, G.C. (2005). Effects of anthocyanidin on the inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis in human gastric adenocarcinoma cells. Food and Chem Tox. 43: 1557–1566
  3. Foster-Powell, K., Holt, S.H., and Brand-Miller, J.C. (2002). International table of glycemic index and glycemic load. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 76(1): 5–56.
  4. Ghosh, D. and Konishi, T. (2007). Anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich extracts: Role in diabetes and eye function. Asia. Pac. J. Clin Nutr. 16(2): 200–208.
  5. He, F.J. and MacGregor, G.A. (2003). Potassium: More beneficial effects. Climacteric. 6(S3): 36–48
  6. Ataie-Jafari, A.; Hosseini, S.; Karimi, A.; Pajouhi, M. Effects of Sour Cherry Juice on Blood Glucose and Some Cardiovascular Risk Factors Improvements in Diabetic Women. Nutr. Food Sci. 2008, 38, 355–360. 
  7. Ding, E.L. and Mozaffarian, D. (2006). Optimal dietary habits for the prevention of stroke. Semin. Neurol. 26(1): 11–23.
  8. USDA (2006). USDA MyPyramid nutrient data analysis program. (www.


Author at

Dr. Abel Daartey is a pharmacist by profession, a teacher, and a mentor by nature. He enjoys reading scientific journals and articles and publications in neuroscience and related topics. He aims at churning out content that educates the public and health care providers in meeting the healthcare needs of the populace.

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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