- Oranges are rich in fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium.
- Oranges are a low glycemic index (GI) food that can help people with diabetes meet their vitamin and mineral needs.
- Oranges are sweet, but they will likely not raise blood sugar levels as other sweet foods. Still, people with diabetes should still be mindful of how many oranges they eat at a time and what other foods they incorporate into their meal plan to avoid a sudden increase in blood sugar levels.
Keeping track of your overall carbohydrate intake is important when you have type 2 diabetes. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into smaller sugar molecules after eating, which can raise blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels can pose risks for people with diabetes, which is why making strategic choices with meal planning can help keep you healthy and your blood sugar levels stable.
Fruits like oranges are carbohydrates, but they can also be part of a healthy meal for people with diabetes when eaten in moderation. Oranges are less likely to spike blood sugar levels because they have a low glycemic index and a rich supply of nutrients. However, there are some factors you may want to consider when incorporating the fruit into your diet.
Nutritional Value of Oranges
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, and fiber. In fact, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) considers the fruit a “superfood” for its ability to support overall health.
Specifically, the nutritional properties of one large orange (or roughly 184 grams of the fruit) are as follows:
- 86.5 calories.
- 21.7g of carbohydrates.
- 4.42g of fiber.
- 17.2g of sugar.
- 97.9mg of vitamin C.
- 333mg of potassium.
- 55.2µg of folate.
Can People With Diabetes Eat Oranges?
Yes, people with diabetes can eat oranges. Rich in vitamins and fiber and relatively low in carbohydrates, they are less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels than other forms of carbohydrates.
Eating oranges offer several potential benefits for people with diabetes, including:
- Blood sugar management: Oranges are a good source of fiber, which can help to manage blood sugar levels. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that helps to slow the absorption of carbohydrates after eating by delaying the time it takes to empty your stomach. One review of fifteen studies found that fiber can help to reduce fasting blood sugar and HbA1c levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Increase in vitamin and mineral intake: Eating a balanced diet is an important component of diabetes management. Oranges are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and folate, three vitamins and minerals that can help to support overall health.
- Reduced risk of heart disease: Oranges are also rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that can be found in fruits, vegetables, and some drinks. The results of one review from 2020 suggests that eating foods rich in flavonoids may lower the risk of heart disease in some people, which is a known complication of diabetes.
There are no significant downsides to eating oranges if you have diabetes. However, as with any source of carbohydrates, it’s important to consider your portion sizes and what other types of foods you eat in a day (including sources of protein, fiber, and fat) to ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet.
How Much Do Oranges Raise Your Blood Sugar?
Identifying how much oranges can raise your blood sugar will depend on several factors, including how many oranges you eat in one sitting, the size of the orange, the type of orange, and what other foods you eat alongside the orange. However, oranges in general are less likely to raise your blood sugar levels than other types of carbohydrates because of their lower glycemic index and fiber content.
Glycemic Index of Oranges
Oranges have a low glycemic index (GI) rating of 35. The GI is a helpful rating system that rates foods that contain carbohydrates based on how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. This can be a helpful tool for meal planning for diabetes.
Foods that have a low GI rating, like oranges, green vegetables, and oatmeal, have a delayed effect on blood sugar levels.
Tips for Eating Oranges with Diabetes
There is no wrong way to eat an orange when you have diabetes. For example, you might enjoy eating them on their own or tossed into salads, yogurts, or smoothies. But there are some things you may want to keep in mind when you’re meal planning for diabetes:
- Eating whole oranges is less likely to spike your blood sugar than drinking orange juice (which is higher in carbohydrates and sugar and lower in fiber).
- To balance out the meal, you may consider adding a source or protein and fat (like nut butter or cheese) to help reduce the effects that eating the fruit may have on your blood sugar levels.
- Consider choosing whole, fresh, dried, frozen, or canned fruits that don’t contain added sugars, which can have a bigger impact on your blood sugar levels.
Other Fruits to Enjoy with Managing Diabetes
Fruit is a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Additional fruits you can incorporate into your diet include:
If you’re interested in adding more fruit to your diet, Nourish can connect you with a registered dietitian specialized in diabetes management and meal planning. If you need help optimizing your diet, consider booking a virtual appointment today.
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. If you have diabetes, there’s no reason to avoid eating oranges if you enjoy their flavor and taste. However, it’s important to consider your overall diet when meal planning for diabetes to ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet that won’t adversely affect your blood sugar levels.
Managing Diabetes with an RD
Working with a diabetes nutritionist can help you make food choices to satisfy your likes, cravings, nutritional needs, and cultural associations with food while supporting your health goals.
Book an appointment with Nourish and see a registered dietitian through your insurance.
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