Vegetable Juice and Diabetes

Q: I have heard I should avoid fruit juice since I have diabetes.  What about vegetable juices?  Can I have tomato juice and other vegetable juices?

A: Vegetable juice, just like fruit juice, has been processed so that the healthy stuff – the peel and pulp have been removed. Also, because these juices  are in liquid form, they easily pass through your stomach quickly and can feeling less full than a solid fruit or vegetable. And then of course, there is always the added sugar and salt that often come in  these juices which you won’t find in the natural form.

However, I won’t tell you that you can’t have either type of juice. Any food or beverage can be incorporated into a healthy diet. But…it is important that you be aware of portions. Fruit juice, depending on the type, has a serving size of 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup for 1 carbohydrate serving (or 15g of carbohydrate). For some, eating 17 grapes sounds better than drinking 1/3 cup of grape juice.

Some vegetable juices can pack just as much of a carbohydrate punch as fruit juice. It is important to check the label, just because it is a juice made with a free vegetable like tomato, celery, or a blend –  it doesn’t mean the juice will be free of sugars/carbohydrate. Vegetable juices can range from 5g of carbohydrate per serving (usually 8oz) to upwards of 20g per serving.

To get the best of both worlds, you can use a blender (or a juicer that keeps the fiber in the drink) to make your own juices at home from whole fruits or vegetables. The only draw back to juicing at home is the expense.


Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.