Can diabetics eat oranges?

In this brief article we will address the query,”Can diabetics eat oranges?” We will look at the nutritional value of oranges. We will discuss the health benefits of oranges to diabetics. We will also talk about the amount of oranges that are safe to eat.

Can diabetics eat oranges?

Yes, diabetics can eat oranges and oranges can actually be a healthy component of a diabetes friendly diet though it is advised that you may be required to limit your intake.

In fact the American Diabetes Association has oranges and other citrus fruits such as lemons and grapefruits listed among diabetes superfoods. This is because they are a good source of Vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate and potassium which are beneficial nutrients to diabetics.

What is the nutritional value of oranges?

A serving serving of one orange weight 140 grams can typically have the below nutrients;

  • Calories: 66
  • Water: 86 percent by weight
  • Protein: 1.32 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 16.45 grams 6% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
  • Sugar: 13.09 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.4 grams 12% of the RDI
  • Total Fat: 0.17 grams
  • Vitamin C: 92% of the RDI
  • Folate: 9% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI

What are the benefits of oranges for people with diabetes?

They have a Low glycemic index

The Glycemic index is a measure of how fast a consumed food raises sugar in the bloodstream. Consumption of foods with a low GI is important in blood sugar management.

Foods that have a high GI score can result in a spike in blood sugar levels and these are foods such as dried fruits, bread and various breakfast cereals. 

Due to the low GI in oranges, they do not result in a spike in your blood sugar levels when consumed instead they trigger a slow and steady rise making them a good option for diabetics.

It should be noted that GI is not the only factor under consideration when it comes to blood sugar management. Blood sugar response can also be affected by other foods such as fats and proteins.

They are a good source of fiber

Fiber cannot be digested by the human body and also comes with health benefits which include disease prevention and management. Studies have found that consumption of foods that are high in fiber helps with blood sugar management.

A medium-sized orange contains about 4 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber assists in slowing the rise of blood blood sugar levels after eating, delays the emptying of the stomach and also shortens the period it takes for food to move through the gut.

They contain antioxidants

Oranges contain flavonoid antioxidants which have a no. of benefits to diabetics such as anti-inflammatory effects, reducing oxidative stress and insulin resistance. Flavonoid antioxidants can also increase insulin sensitivity

Flavonoid antioxidants are readily available in oranges making them a great choice for anyone looking to reap their health benefits. Oranges also contain anthocyanins which have been found by studies to assist in fighting oxidative stress, heart disease as well as having anti-inflammatory properties.

Good source of vitamins and minerals

Oranges are a good source of various vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for diabetics. Notably, one medium sized orange contains about 91 percent of the Recommended Dietary Intake for Vitamin C.

Vitamin C, aside from being essential in boosting the immunity, is also an antioxidant and has molecules that help fight oxidative stress by neutralizing any free radicals in the cells.

High blood sugar levels usually raise the oxidative stress and can result in damage to the cells and other diseases. Diabetics have an increased need for Vitamin C to help fight oxidative stress.

Oranges also contain folate with a medium sized orange having about 12 percent of the RDI. Some studies have suggested that this mineral can help in lowering insulin levels and improving insulin resistance. 

Oranges also contain about 6 percent of the RDI for potassium. Low potassium levels have been linked with insulin resistance.

How many oranges should you eat?

It is recommended that you limit your carbohydrate intake to 50-60 percent of all the total calories. To put that in context, if you consume a 2,000 calorie diet that should come to 1,000 to 1,200 calories from carbohydrates.

Different humans have different body sizes and activity levels so there is no set no. to the amount of oranges that are safe to consume.

One serving of oranges has about 16 grams of carbs and thus you can use that to safely eat oranges ensuring you don’t overeat.


In this brief article we have addressed the query,”Can diabetics eat oranges?” We have looked at the nutritional value of oranges. We have discussed the health benefits of oranges to diabetics. We have also talked about the amount of oranges that are safe to eat.


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