Apples are a nutritious snack, and the fiber present in apples may help prevent spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Apples also contain fructose, a natural sugar, which may be more beneficial for insulin levels than glucose.
This article looks at how consuming apples and other fruits might affect people with diabetes.
According to the
A review published in the
A person may want to consider working with a registered dietitian or a diabetes educator to discuss their individual nutrient needs.
Apples and the glycemic index
The glycemic index (GI) compares foods according to their likelihood of causing blood sugar spikes. Foods receive GI scores ranging from 0 to 100. Water has the lowest score, and glucose has the highest.
The body absorbs carbohydrates and sugars quickly from foods with a high GI score, such as candies. The carbs from foods with a low GI score enter the bloodstream more slowly, so there is a lower risk of a blood sugar spike.
Cornflakes, for example, score around 93 on the GI, depending on the brand and type. This is a high score. Apples score around 39. This is a relatively low score compared to that of cornflakes.
Altogether, apples may have a relatively low impact on the insulin and blood sugar levels in the body.
Apples and counting carbs
In the past, some doctors advised people to count their carbs as a way of managing blood sugar levels. However, current guidelines for diabetes management focus on individual needs and no longer recommend any specific carb intake.
It is still essential for someone to monitor any changes they experience after eating an apple so that they know what to expect in their body. A person with diabetes needs to check their blood sugar level regularly.
A doctor will advise a person on how often to check their blood sugar and what levels they should aim for, as it will depend on the individual.
Blood glucose monitors are available for purchase online.
A person should consider spreading fruit intake throughout the day to keep their blood sugar level stable.
They also lower blood sugar levels, which is crucial for people living with diabetes. When it comes to GI rating, apples generally score about 39.
The table below shows some different types of apples alongside their sugar and carb content. Granny Smith apples tend to have the least sugar.
|Type||Total sugar content per 100 g||Carbohydrates by difference per 100 g|
|Granny Smith||14.1 g|
However, fruits such as apples also contain healthy amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A person can eat any type of apple as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Many people love apples for their simplicity, but they are also very nutritious.
The table below shows the nutritional content of one medium apple, weighing around 182 g, according to the
|carbohydrates||25.13 g, including 18.91 g of sugar|
|calcium||11 milligrams (mg)|
|vitamin C||8.4 mg|
|folate||5 micrograms (mcg)|
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 recommend that adults consume
Specific flavonoids, such as quercetin, are present in apples. These may help improve blood glucose levels. A
All these factors make apples a good choice as a quick snack between meals.
Eating a varied diet rich in vegetables and fruit — including apples — is good for everyone, including people living with diabetes.
Learn more about diabetes, nutrition, and diet.
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits is
Eating fruits in their whole, raw form provides the most benefits since they contain fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Berries and cherries
Rich-colored berries such as the following may make healthy choices:
It is possible to buy berries fresh or frozen. Dried versions may be less filling but are also a healthy option. However, anyone with diabetes should check the labels for added sugar, as this is not always obvious.
A person with diabetes can eat any fruit in moderation, as long as they do not have an allergy.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) encourages the consumption of fruits. A person with diabetes may consider adding other fruits besides apples to their diet, such as:
- cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew melon
- citrus fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines
- stone fruits such as apricots, plums, and peaches
Most fruits have a low GI score, according to the ADA, but the following have a medium score:
A person should monitor how different fruits affect their symptoms and blood sugar, as each person’s sensitivities may be different.
Learn more about diabetes and other fruits.
However, an individual may be able to drink fruit juice depending on how their blood glucose levels react.
Four ounces of fruit juice contain about 15 g of carbohydrates. Being mindful of total carbohydrate intake during meals is important for managing diabetes. A person should include fruit juice in their carbohydrate tracking.
Apples are a highly nutritious food choice and can be a satisfying and healthy snack.
Regular monitoring of blood sugar and insulin levels after eating apples can help let a person know how apples will affect them. People should always eat a variety of fresh, healthy foods.
People may wish to opt for fresh apples rather than apple-derived products, as fresh apples contain more nutrients and fiber and do not have added sugar.