Apples are among the most nutritious fruits loaded with vitamins C, antioxidants, fibers, and other micronutrients, making them a perfect addition to diabetics and non-diabetics diets. However, they have carbs, and you have to keep portion sizes limited if you are watching your carb and calorie intakes.
Besides berries and grapefruits, apples are among the earth’s most nutritious fruits, which is why they are popularized worldwide. A medium-sized apple has vitamin C, fibers, antioxidants, and other micronutrients the body needs to function well. The antioxidants in apples slow down their carb digestion; hence they don’t raise blood sugar and insulin levels as fast as processed and refined sugars. Besides, they have a medium glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) on the glucose scale, meaning their overall effect on blood sugar levels is not detrimental. Still, they are loaded with carbs which you have to account for if you are watching your calorie and carb intakes. Here is everything you need to know about how apples affect blood sugar levels and diabetes.
The nutritional profile of an apple
The nutritional profile of any food or dietary element is critical in determining how the food in question affects the body and the overall contribution it makes to health. Consequently, reviewing the nutritional profile of apple shows how valuable it is to health. A medium-sized apple offers 9 mg of vitamin C, 27 g of total carbs, 4.8 g of fiber, 22.2 g of net carbs, and other micronutrients. This shows that apple is nutritious, although it is packed with many calories. You can enjoy apples while keeping your calories in check by minimizing your consumption to one apple per day.
Apples are quite filling
If you are looking for a fruit that will help you feel full for longer, you can opt for apples. You can never go wrong with these fruits, especially because they are loaded with fibers. An apple typically has 27 g of carbs, but 4.8 of this comprises fibers. Fibers are indigestible carbs that the body needs for many functions, including lowering blood sugar, insulin, and cholesterol levels, keeping blood pressure low, and improving gut health. The fibers in apples add bulk to food, slow down digestion, making you feel full. Consequently, apples would make a perfect addition to your diet if you are watching your weight. However, you must consume them in moderation because they are loaded with calories which can jeopardize the weight loss quest if not controlled.
Apples only have a moderate effect on the blood sugar levels
Like most fruits, apples contain simple sugars called fructose which the body easily absorbs into the bloodstream. However, the fructose in apples is not absorbed as fast as in honey or table sugar; hence, apples will only moderately affect blood sugar levels. The primary explanation behind this is that the fibers in sugar slow down fructose digestion as well as its absorption. Consequently, more action time is allowed, and the sugar enters the bloodstream slows, resulting in no spikes in sugar and insulin levels.
Furthermore, the glycemic values of the fructose in apples are low. Glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) are two values indicating the overall effect of carbs on blood sugar levels. Apples only have moderate values for these two parameters, making them less detrimental to blood sugar and insulin levels. Besides, the polyphenol antioxidants in apples also slow down fructose digestion and absorption, further limiting the adverse rise in blood sugar and insulin levels.
Antioxidants in apple improve insulin resistance
Apart from lowering blood sugar levels, the polyphenol antioxidants in apples may help improve insulin resistance, which is one of the leading causes of diabetes, including types 1 and 2 diabetes. It does this by sending signals to the pancreas to produce more insulin and activating the cells to respond to insulin. This makes the cells more sensitive to insulin, lowering the risk of diabetes further. As such, taking apples in moderation may help manage types 1 and 2 diabetes better and also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Apples may be a good fruit for diabetes if eaten in moderation
A 2013 study showed that consuming apples helped manage and lower the risk of diabetes type 2 the same way blueberries and grapefruit did. One reason behind this is that the fibers in apples help slow down sugar digestion and absorption, reducing the rollercoaster action of sugar and insulin spikes and falls that often causes diabetes. The other reason is the polyphenol antioxidants in the apples, which studies have found to perform different roles, all of which contribute to reduced risks of diabetes type 2. Here are the main antioxidants in apples and how they affect blood sugar levels;
- Phlorizin- most studies are inconclusive about its role, but some show that it might help scale down how sugar is absorbed and its levels in the blood
- Chlorogenic acid- helps the cells utilize sugar more efficiently to reduce sugar load in the cells
- Quercetin- may help lower the sugars in the blood
The redder and honeycrisp versions of apples have higher concentrations of these antioxidants, meaning their effects on blood sugar levels are more far-reaching.
Apples are hydrating
We have talked about apples’ many benefits on blood sugar levels and diabetes. Still, we cannot overlook how hydrated apples are. The total weight of a medium apple has more than half of it comprising water, making it a good hydrator. Of course, it does not compare to watermelon, but it does not hurt to bite an apple the next time you feel thirsty and hungry. Remember, some of the antioxidants in apples are not found in watermelon.
I have diabetes- should I eat apples?
Apples are ideal fruits even if you are diabetic. Diabetic patients need to take fruits and vegetables at least daily to boost their total antioxidant count, and apples will certainly help with this journey. Besides, studies have shown that apples will help lower blood sugar levels; hence the body will manage diabetes better. Still, do not forget that they are loaded with calories and carbs, and so you must lower portion sizes.
Apples are nutritious fruits packed with fibers, vitamin C, antioxidants, and other micro and macronutrients. They make good fruits for diabetics and non-diabetics because the fibers and antioxidants in them can help lower blood sugar levels improve insulin resistance. However, they are loaded with calories and carbs, and you need to minimize a serving to one apple to avoid excess calorie and carb intake, especially if you are watching your weight.