Can Diabetics Eat Oranges?

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Hardik Bambhania, M.B.B.S, Consultant Diabetologist March 31, 2022

Last updated on April 19th, 2022

A diabetic person might wonder whether oranges are safe for them or not. Diabetics must keep a check on their glucose levels, and diet affects them. Actually, diet, exercise, and medicines are helpful in controlling the levels of blood sugar.  Read this blog to know “Are oranges good for diabetes?.”

Seasonal and fresh fruits constitute an essential part of a healthy meal. They contain high amounts of nutrients like antioxidants and vitamins. All of them are vital in performing several body functions. Health professionals often stress the importance of adding fruits of all kinds and colours to one’s diet. However, if a person acquires diabetes, he or she requires to be slightly cautious of what he or she consumes. Fruits containing high sugar content or GI such as melons or chikoo are not good for diabetics. While intake of fruits such as tomatoes or guavas is associated with reduced glucose levels. Oranges as well, are quite beneficial for people with diabetes. Read further to understand why.

There’s a common misunderstanding that fruits like oranges are not good for diabetics and they must not eat them. In fact, oranges may be a healthy part of a diabetes-friendly meal plan. The point to remember is that person must limit his or her intake. This article describes how oranges have an impact on diabetic health.

Also Read: Normal Blood Sugar Level Chart For Adults

Nutritional Profile of Orange

Oranges are well-known citrus fruits. People often eat them as a snack or in fresh juices. One medium-sized orange consists of approximately:

  • 60 calories
  • 15.4 grams of carbs
  • 12 grams of sugar
  • 3 grams of fibre
  • 1 gram of protein.

It is free of any sodium or fat. Also, orange contains vitamins and minerals in amounts:

  • 70 mg of vitamin C
  • 237 mg of potassium
  • 14 mcg of vitamin A.

Summary

Diabetic patients must consume oranges as part of a healthy meal plan. To aid good blood glucose management, people must restrict their carb ingestion to half of their daily calories.

Benefits of Oranges For Diabetic Patients

Oranges are full of nutritional properties owing to their fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. When people eat them in moderation, this citrus fruit seems healthy for diabetics.

Low glycemic index

Oranges contains a low GI score. This fruit triggers a gradual rise in a person’s blood glucose levels. And, this makes oranges more beneficial for diabetics. Still, GI must not be the only factor a person should consider while managing their blood sugars. A person’s body’s blood glucose response also is based on combining it with healthy fats or proteins.

Fiber

Fiber remains in the gut in undigested form. It offers a number of health benefits such as disease management and prevention. Particularly, fibre-rich food products are seen to improve blood glucose control. One medium-sized orange packs about 4 grams of fibre. As per studies, in type 2 diabetics, fiber reduced the levels of HbA1C and fasting blood glucose.

Fiber delays the increase in glucose levels following a meal. It does so by delaying the stomach emptying and reducing the travel time of the food through the gut.

Vitamins and Minerals

Oranges comprise several vitamins and minerals especially favourable for diabetics. One medium-sized orange contains around 91% of the DV for vitamin C. This vitamin works as an antioxidant i.e., fights oxidative stress in a person’s body.

Particularly, high blood glucose levels induce oxidative stress. And, this might result in cellular damage and disorders. The diabetic patient might have a high requirement of vitamin C to reverse oxidative stress.

One medium-sized orange provides around 12% of the DV for folate. This mineral is found to reduce insulin levels and improve the following:

  • blood glucose control
  • insulin resistance
  • signs of diabetes-induced eye problems.

To conclude, oranges comprise 6% of the DV for potassium. Low levels of potassium might cause insulin resistance.

Also Read: Are Grapes Good For Diabetics?

Antioxidants

Flavonoid antioxidants are very beneficial for diabetic people. The roles of these flavonoids include fighting:

  • oxidative stress
  • inflammation
  • insulin resistance

Thus, they help in enhancing insulin sensitivity. Remarkably, orange is one of the most readily available sources of flavonoid antioxidants.

Additionally, blood oranges pack anthocyanins. It is a subclass of flavonoids commonly available as red, purple, or blue fruits and veggies. Studies propose that these compounds are helpful in combating cardiac problems, oxidative stress, and inflammation.

Summary

Oranges pack numerous benefits for diabetics. This is because of their low GI and nutrient profile. This may include vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, folate, and potassium.

Why are Oranges a Good Addition to a Diabetic Diet 

The ADA has enumerated citrus fruits including oranges among “Diabetes superfoods”. As per the ADA, citrus fruits are completely packed with fibre, vitamin C, folate and potassium. This gives a beneficial addition in a diabetic-friendly meal plan.

Oranges packs vital fibres. It takes a long time for fibre to break down and digest. This allows the slow release of glucose into the blood. This would further guarantee stability in the sugar levels for a longer duration. Furthermore, the GI of raw oranges is in the range of 40 to 43. People with diabetes are advised to add more low GI foods in their meals.

Also Read: Best Glucometer in India

What About Other Orange Products?

In spite of everything, a person must limit one’s consumption of other orange products if he or she has diabetes.

Canned mandarin oranges

The ADA suggests canned oranges in juice instead of syrup to restrict their consumption of extra sugar. A person must also look for phrases on the can like “no added sugars” or “unsweetened”.

Orange juice

100% orange juice offers vital vitamins and minerals. Also, it lacks fibre (a vital component in blood glucose control). In addition, orange juice contains a high GI value and can be combined with other carb-rich foods. This might enhance the risk of high blood glucose levels. Hence, diabetic patients must restrict their consumption. However, if a person’s blood sugars fall too low (a condition called hypoglycemia), a 120-mL serving of orange juice may return the levels to normal.

A diabetic person must struggle to consume a range of whole fruits, like oranges. Fruit plays a key role in maintaining health of a person. Whole oranges offer a wide range of vital nutrients required for blood glucose control. And, they must be anyone’s first choice over 100% fruit juice.

Summary

A diabetic patient must limit his or her intake of orange juice. And, they can purchase canned oranges packed in juice. On the whole, whole oranges are an improved choice owing to their fiber content.

Diabetes Care: Consume Whole Oranges, Don’t Juice Them 

Ensure that a person has the fruit in a raw and whole form for gaining supreme benefits. Intake of its juice might cost a person with few healthy fibres. Also, it might elevate their levels of blood glucose. As per a study, consuming citrus fruits may reduce the risk of diabetes in females, however, intake of its juice can be harmful to glucose levels. The GI value of unsweetened orange juice is approximately 50 than the GI value of whole orange 40.

How Many Oranges Can a Person Eat?

To maintain blood sugars within a normal limit, it’s a must to limit one’s carb consumption to 50 to 60% of the total calories. Due to different body sizes and physical activity levels, there’s no magic number of oranges a person can eat. Still, a person may safely consume numerous servings of oranges daily. Remember that one serving of carbs is around 15 grams.

One serving of orange products is:

  • a medium-sized orange
  • half a cup of canned mandarin oranges
  • 120 mL of 100% orange juice

The number of carbs needed at each meal and snack varies by body size and activity level. You should plan to eat around the same number of carbs at meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar levels steady.

For a meal plan that meets your individual needs, consult a registered dietitian (RD) or certified diabetes educator.

Risks of Over-intake of Oranges For Diabetics

Owing to their fiber, consuming too many oranges may cause indigestion. Also, it may result in abdominal cramps and prompt diarrhea. It is a must to adhere to one portion daily.

Summary

If a person is diabetic, consuming a range of fruits like oranges maintains overall health. Whole oranges might keep the glucose levels stable. This is particularly true because of their low GI, fibre content, and other nutrients. The antioxidant and vitamin content of oranges may combat cardiac problems, inflammation, and oxidative stress due to high blood pressure. On the whole, it’s good to have whole oranges as compared to orange juice. If anyone requires any help adding oranges in one’s diet, it is better to discuss with a dietician or an expert diabetes educator.

FAQs:

Is it good to have two oranges in a day?

Oranges work great for any person, however if they enjoy them in limits. Having oranges in large amounts may give them GI signs especially if they are sensitive to high fiber content. Hence, it is always better to eat not more than one orange in a day.

Is it safe to eat oranges at night?

Even if the high vitamin C content of oranges makes them an exceptional inclusion to any diet, it is good to avoid citrus fruits near bedtime.

Are there any risks of oranges for diabetics?

There are no risks of consuming whole oranges if a person is diabetic. Actually, the ADA encourages diabetic patients to add citrus fruits like oranges.

What is the recommended number of oranges for a diabetic in a day?

If possible, a person must adhere consuming only one portion of orange in a day. People with high blood sugars must eat oranges in moderation.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/are-oranges-good-for-diabetics#recommendation
  2. https://www.ndtv.com/food/diabetes-is-it-safe-for-diabetics-to-have-oranges-heres-the-answer-1942722
  3. https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/how-many-oranges-can-a-diabetic-eat-per-day/

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 

Disclaimer

The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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