Why kiwifruit is a good choice for people with diabetes

15/11/2016 15/11/2016
Poor blood sugar control is linked to obesity and associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Poor blood sugar control is linked to obesity and associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.It is therefore extremely important for people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar levels in check.


Taking control of your blood sugar

If you’ve got diabetes, you will know that the amount of carbohydrate you eat can have a major impact on your blood sugar levels—so you need to be wise about what you eat.

The glycaemic index (GI) (Internal link to Happy and Healthy /Other Health Benefits) ranks carbohydrate-containing foods according to how they affect blood sugar levels:

  • High GI foods (70 or more) are rapidly digested and absorbed, and cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. These types of foods, which include white bread, doughnuts, sweets drinks, should be limited.
  • Low GI foods (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised, and cause a lower and slower rise in blood sugar. These types of foods, which include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas and lentils), are a better source of carbohydrates for you.
diabetes-zespri_kiwiHigh GI foods diabetes-kiwi Low GI foods

How Zespri kiwifruit can help regulate your blood sugar

Because most fruits are sweet and contain simple sugar, you might expect them to raise blood sugar dramatically (giving them a high GI). However, this is not the case with high-fibre fruits such as Zespri kiwifruit.

Zespri kiwifruit can help regulate your blood sugar in two ways:

  1. Zespri kiwifruit have a low GI
    Zespri Green kiwifruit have a GI of 39,2 while Zespri SunGold kiwifruit have a GI of 49,3 putting them in the GI category of ‘low’. This is because the high fibre content of Zespri kiwifruit slows uptake of sugar during digestion, which means that the glucose is less rapidly taken up by the body and only slowly released into the bloodstream.

  1. Zespri kiwifruit can lower the rate of glucose uptake from other foods
    A new scientific study has shown that eating kiwifruit with your breakfast will significantly slow the update of sugars from your breakfast in your blood stream.4 This is because the fibre in kiwifruit has a very high water-holding capacity. When eaten, the kiwifruit fibre attracts water so that it swells and thickens like a gel. As your breakfast is digested, it is broken down into smaller sugars and these move more slowly through the gel. This results in sugar being taken up at a reduced rate into the blood and energy delivered more slowly.



Studies have shown that combining Zespri® kiwifruit with breakfast cereal improves the glycaemic (blood glucose) response


What’s more, the fibre in Zespri Green and Zespri SunGold kiwifruit is also a natural aid to digestion, and studies in elderly people have shown that regular consumption of kiwifruit helps prevent constipation.5 Another reason to eat Zespri kiwifruit with your breakfast every day!



  1. National Institute of Health: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Causes of Diabetes. Available at: (accessed 2 October 2016)
  2. New Zealand Ministry of Health. New Zealand FOODfiles 2014 Version 01. Available from: (accessed 29 September 2016)
  3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28 (2015)
  4. Monro J: Kiwifruit – a double agent for glycaemic control and nutrient enhancement: 1st International Symposium on Kiwifruit and Health. Tauranga, New Zealand 2016
  5. Rush EC, et al. Kiwifruit promotes laxation in the elderly. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2002;11:164–8

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