Nutrition

Pros and Cons of having apples in Diabetes

Apples are delicious, nutritious and convenient to eat and also contain carbs, which impact blood sugar levels. But they are a  good source of fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants.

They also help us to feel full without consuming a lot of calories.

But the carbs found in apples affect our body differently than the sugars found in junk foods

A medium-sized apple contains about 25 grams of carbs and 4.4 of fiber.

Fiber slows down the passage and absorption of carbs through the intestines, causing them to not spike our blood sugar levels nearly as quickly

Apples definitely deserve  to be called “nutritional powerhouses”.

They contain the potential following nutrients:

  • Vitamin C -which is a potential natural antioxidant which is capable of blocking some of the damage caused by free radicals, as well as boosting the body’s resistance against infectious agents.
  • B-complex vitamins -like riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B-6 play a  key role in maintaining red blood cells and the nervous system in good health.
  • Dietary fiber- We all know that a diet high in fiber can help prevent the development of certain diseases(colon cancer, obesity etc) and may help prevent the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood from rising.
  • Apples are rich in polyphenolic compounds which protect our body from harmful effects of free radicals.
  • Minerals such as calcium,potassium and phosphorus.

Benefits

  • Apples contain sugar, but the sugar found in apples is fructose.
  •  And when the  fructose is consumed in form of a  whole fruit, it has little impact  on blood sugar levels
  • The fibre in apples delays  the digestion and absorption of sugar. This means sugar enters the bloodstream slowly and doesn’t cause rapid spike in blood sugar levels
  • Polyphenols, plant compounds found in apples, slow down the digestion of carbs and lower blood sugar levels
  • The glycemic index (GI) and the glycemic load (GL) are important tools to measure how much food affects blood sugar levels. Apples score relatively low on both the GI and GL scale wise, meaning that they cause a minimal rise in blood sugar levels
  • In a study of 12 obese women, blood sugar levels were found to be  over 50% lower after consuming a meal with low GL food, compared to a meal with a high GL foods
  • Apples contain plant compounds that improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance. Some beneficial antioxidants are found in plants are :
  • Quercetin delays down carb digestion, helping prevent blood sugar spikes
  • Chlorogenic acid: which helps our body to use sugar more efficiently
  • Phlorizin: delays down sugar absorption and lowers blood sugar levels.
  • The highest concentrations of beneficial antioxidants are found in Red Delicious apples. Apples on a regular basis may help prevent type 2 diabetes, as well as keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  • The National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) study showed that people who had eaten apples in any form over the past day were 27% less likely to have metabolic syndrome.
  • Quercetin, a phytonutrient helps make more oxygen available to our lungs, which can help us keep going longer.
  • Apples boost lung health. Apples’ anti-inflammatory properties play a role. Add this to the list of benefits, too: Eating apples may help to decrease the risk of asthma attacks.
  • Apples enhance gut health as it can help increase the number of healthy bacteria in your gut.

Choosing and storing apples

If we refrigerate apples, it will  help to slow ripening, maintains flavor, and preserves nutrients; a cold storage area in your cellar works well, too.

How we can enjoy the apple?

  • Here are a few ideas:

• By spreading apple slices with peanut or almond butter for a filling, blood-sugar-healthy snack.

• Adding the diced apples to a salad for crunch and flavor.

• Satisfying  a sweet tooth by eating an apple with a small amount of dark chocolate. The combination of antioxidants in both of these foods helps to  fight heart disease.

• Baking an apple in the oven, and sprinkle it with cinnamon. We can even top it with a dollop of Greek yoghurt

An old phrase that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, stands true. Toss one in your purse or tote bag if you’re on the go; a small apple is a great fruit choice, with just 77 calories and 21 g of carbs.

Apples are rich in fiber and are a very good source of Vitamin C. You should not peel your apples though — the skins are the most nutritious part, full of antioxidants.

Is there a Downfall to Eating Apples?

  • If we have diabetes, we must keep an eye on our carbohydrate intake. That’s because of the three macronutrients carbs, fat and protein. Among them, carbohydrates affect our blood sugar levels the most.
  • While apples generally do not cause spikes in our blood sugar levels, they do contain carbs. If we are counting carbohydrates, we must be sure to account for the 25 grams of carbs which is in an apple.
  • Diabetic people must watch their carbohydrate intake to make sure their blood sugar levels stay stable throughout the day.
  • According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are 25 grams (g) of carbs in total in a medium-sized apple, and in it around 19 g is sugar.

Impact on Blood Sugar

When digested, the carbohydrates present in apple are broken down into glucose, a simple form of sugar.

After glucose enters the blood, insulin is needed to help convert this sugar into energy.

It helps to eat moderate portions of carbohydrate-containing foods and to spread these foods throughout the day to manage blood glucose levels.

Apples and Diabetes Research

There’s no denying fruits and vegetables are a healthy and important part of the diet for everyone, including diabetics.

Eating whole fruits lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a 2014 study published in British Medical Journal.

But according to the same study, drinking fruit juice is linked with a higher risk of diabetes.

Some studies have tested  the protective effect of cloudy apple juice on diabetes (in case of  lab rats).

 In a  study in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, diabetic rats that were given cloudy apple juice and apple peel extract for a period of  21 days observed their fasting blood glucose and cholesterol levels decline.

As long as we  monitor our blood sugar levels and don’t overdo it with too many servings of fruit, we  can enjoy nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber in lots of fruits.


Apples are good for diabetics that research done on people with prediabetes found that apples could even keep people from developing diabetes.

Fruits: 1 Serving

1/2 banana
1 small apple, orange, or pear
1/2 cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruits

Does Apple have any Ill Effects too?

There have been no such reports of any fatal side effects. But the seeds of the apple contain a poisonous compound which is life-threatening and eating too many apple seeds can be lethal.

The usual cases of allergy from apple may include groups of people who are allergic or sensitive to all the fruits belonging to the Rosaceae family and not just apple.

Some Caution

  • Apple juices are a major concern in the case of diabetic patients. It is always better to have apple as the natural raw fruit .

Question finally comes- Can Diabetics Eat Apples?

  • The dietary guidelines for diabetics recommend a diet that includes fruits and vegetables
  • Fruits are full of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Diets high in fruits have repeatedly been linked to lower risks of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer
  • In a review of nine studies, it was found that each serving of fruit that was consumed daily led to a 7% lower risk of heart disease
  • According to the American Diabetes Association, eating apples or any other fruit is not a problem for a person with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
  • Diabetic person should be aware of how apples affect them in order to include this fruit in a diabetes-healthy diet.
  • But People with diabetes must watch their carbohydrate intake to make sure their blood sugar levels stay stable throughout the day.
  • According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are about 25 grams of carbs in total in a medium-sized apple, and around 19 g of that is sugar. Most of the sugar in an apple is in the form fructose, and this may have a different effect on the body than other sugars.
  • The USDA stated  that a medium apple contains around 4 g of dietary fiber, and this fiber may delays the absorption of sugars in the body, which could help prevent spikes in sugar and insulin.
  • pairing fruits with a healthy fat or protein can also lower the spike in blood sugar and make a person feel fuller for longerperiod .
  • Apples have a low impact on the insulin and blood sugar levels in the body and are considered a low-glycemic fruit suitable for people with diabetes.B ut It is still essential to monitor any changes they have after eating an apple, so they know what to expect in their body when they do so.
  • A person feels full after eating an apple due to the combination of fiber, water, and nutrients.
  • Specific flavonoids like quercetin found in apples may, in fact, protect a person from diabetes.
  •  A review from 2011 reports that eating apples linked  with a lowered risk of diabetes.
  • Apples contain soluble fiber which helps keep us full, and slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
  • Soluble fiber also has anti-inflammatory effects that may help  in the recovery from diabetes-related infections.

Recommendations

The daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women, 38 grams for men. The skin of an apple alone gives 3 grams of fiber, about 12 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Serious side effects are linked to apple consumption.

  • Apple seeds contain contain cyanide. Eating too many apple seeds can potentially be fatal.
  • Also apples are fairly acidic, they could be up to four times more damaging to teeth than carbonated drinks.

Conclusion

Apples are well recognized as part of a nutritious diet. But if you have diabetes, we may be concerned about this fruit’s impact on your blood glucose levels.

Apples are rich in sugar too which the body converts into glucose. Eating too much carbohydrates  at once can lead to elevated blood glucose levels.

But the American Diabetes Association recommends the inclusion of fiber-rich apples, in a diabetes meal as long as these foods are fit into your carbohydrate targets.

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Subarna ghosal

Subarna Ghosal, a graduate and postgraduate in Food and Nutrition from the University of Calcutta and also a Certified Diabetes Educator from. Dr Mohan's Academy (NDEP), worked with ABBOTT as nutritionist, GOQiias lifestyle Counsellor and healthify me as a nutritionist. and also has specialization in Sports Nutrition from IAPEN believes in making lifestyle changes which are Specific measurable attributable. My main motto is to spread awareness and make people aware of the complications of the disease and how we can manage by easy remedies.

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