Apples are delicious, nutritious and convenient to eat.
Studies have shown that they have several health benefits.
Yet apples also contain carbs, which impact blood sugar levels.
However, the carbs found in apples affect your body differently than the sugars found in junk foods.
This article explains how apples affect blood sugar levels and how to incorporate them into your diet if you have diabetes.
Apples Are Nutritious and Filling
Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the world.
They’re also highly nutritious. In fact, apples are high in vitamin C, fiber and several antioxidants.
One medium apple contains 95 calories, 25 grams of carbs and 14% of the daily value for vitamin C (1).
Interestingly, a large part of an apple’s nutrients is found in its colorful skin (2).
Bottom Line: Apples are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. They also help you feel full without consuming a lot of calories.
Apples Contain Carbs, as Well as Fiber
If you have diabetes, keeping tabs on your carbohydrate intake is important.
That’s because of the three macronutrients — carbs, fat and protein — carbs affect your blood sugar levels the most.
Bottom Line: Apples contain carbs, which can raise blood sugar levels. However, the fiber in apples helps stabilize blood sugar levels, in addition to providing other health benefits.
Apples Only Moderately Affect Blood Sugar Levels
Apples do contain sugar, but much of the sugar found in apples is fructose.
When fructose is consumed in a whole fruit, it has very little effect on blood sugar levels (7).
The glycemic index (GI) and the glycemic load (GL) are useful tools to measure how much a food affects blood sugar levels (9).
One study of 12 obese women found that blood sugar levels were over 50% lower after consuming a meal with a low GL, compared to a meal with a high GL (12).
Bottom Line: Apples have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels and are unlikely to cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, even in diabetics.
Apples May Reduce Insulin Resistance
There are two types of diabetes — type 1 and type 2.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not produce insulin, the hormone that transports sugar from your blood to your cells.
Bottom Line: Apples contain plant compounds that may improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance.
The Antioxidants Found in Apples May Lower Your Risk of Diabetes
One study found that women who ate an apple per day had a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than women who didn’t eat any apples (16).
There are multiple reasons apples might help prevent diabetes, but the antioxidants found in apples likely play a significant role.
Antioxidants are substances that prevent some harmful chemical reactions in your body. They have numerous health benefits, including protecting your body from chronic disease.
Significant amounts of the following antioxidants are found in apples:
- Quercetin: Slows down carb digestion, helping prevent blood sugar spikes (17).
- Chlorogenic acid: Helps your body use sugar more efficiently (18, 19).
- Phlorizin: Slows down sugar absorption and lowers blood sugar levels (20, 21).
The highest concentrations of beneficial antioxidants are found in Honeycrisp and Red Delicious apples (22).
Bottom Line: Eating apples on a regular basis may help prevent type 2 diabetes, as well as keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Should Diabetics Eat Apples?
Apples are an excellent fruit to include in your diet if you have diabetes.
Most dietary guidelines for diabetics recommend a diet that includes fruits and vegetables (23).
Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
In fact, a review of nine studies found that each serving of fruit that was consumed daily led to a 7% lower risk of heart disease (27).
While apples are unlikely to cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, they do contain carbs. If you’re counting carbs, be sure to account for the 25 grams of carbs an apple contains.
Also, be sure to monitor your blood sugar after eating apples and see how they affect you personally.
Bottom Line: Apples are highly nutritious and have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. They are safe and healthy for diabetics to enjoy on a regular basis.
How to Include Apples in Your Diet
Apples are a delicious and healthy food to add to your diet, regardless of whether you have diabetes or not.
Here are some tips for diabetics to include apples in their meal plans:
- Eat it whole: To reap all of the health benefits, eat the apple whole. A large part of the nutrients is in the skin (2).
- Avoid apple juice: The juice does not have the same benefits as the whole fruit, since it’s higher in sugar and missing the fiber (28, 29).
- Limit your portion: Stick with one medium apple since larger portions will increase the glycemic load (11).
- Spread out your fruit intake: Spread your daily fruit intake throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Take Home Message
Apples do contain carbs, but they have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels when eaten as a whole fruit.
They are highly nutritious and a great choice for a healthy diet.
A quick note from our founder-
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
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Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.