Are Apples Good for Diabetics?

Table of Contents

A Quick Overview

  • Apples may help mitigate the risk of complications related to diabetes
  • A medium-sized apple has GI of around 37
  • Apples have all the vital nutrients and antioxidants

Apples and all other fruits are widely known as part of a healthy diet. But for a diabetic, choosing a fruit is not that simple as you may be concerned with its impact on blood sugar levels. Many fruits have natural sugars considered as carbohydrates. If you are counting carbs, be sure to consider how much you are consuming.

Like other fruits, apples also have natural sugar which is transformed into glucose. But eating too much carbohydrate can cause high blood sugar levels. According to American Diabetes Association (ADA), high fiber apples should be added in a diabetic meal plan as long as they work in your target of carbohydrate intake.

Health Benefits of Apples

The popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is made for a good reason. Apple is rich in vitamin C and fiber. These nutrients are found mostly in the fruit’s skin. Make sure not to leave that part. Apples are also rich in small amounts of calcium, vitamin A and iron.

Since they are rich in fiber, consistent consumption of apple may lead to promote your digestion system and to keep waste flushing out of the body. Fresh apples are cholesterol-free, fat-free, rich in fiber, and are sodium-free. Apples also have polyphenols and other natural antioxidants. These are found in both meat and skin of the apple. So, you are not going to miss them. These antioxidants are very vital for your body as they can help –

  • Slow down aging effects
  • Protects against disease
  • Promote bone health
  • In weight management

Can Diabetics Eat Apples?

A tennis ball-sized, small or one-half large apple has around 15g of carbohydrates in total, i.e. around 1 slice of bread. If you know your target carbohydrate intake, it can be easy to decide which carbohydrate-rich foods to eat. For instance, if your target is 45g of carbohydrates in lunch, you may prefer to eat ½ Apple with a whole sandwich (total 45g of carbohydrates) or eat the whole apple with ½ Bread at 15g. Either meal will lead to similar impact on blood glucose.

Form Counts

You should also consider in which form you take apple. Due to fiber content and their unprocessed form, whole apples are healthier as compared to processed apple foods like applesauce or apple juice.

Unprocessed, whole food usually digests eventually and gives slow rise in blood sugar. Despite the amount of carbohydrate, it may even protect against diabetes. Consumption of whole apples and fruits is linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in “British Journal of Medicine” in August 2013 edition. On the other side, fruit juice increases risk of diabetes, according to the same study.

Apples and GI Index

Foods are ranked from 1 to 100 scale in the Glycemic Index as per how quickly the food absorbs in bloodstream, which may impact in the management of blood sugar. The ranks given to each food are determined by how each item is compared to white bread, sugar or any reference item.

Can Diabetics Eat Apples

Usually, this approach is used by those who count on carbs to manage their diabetes levels. Usually, foods with high GI raise blood sugar more than foods with medium to low GI. Low GI is less than 55, a medium is usually 55 to 69, while a high GI is above 70. A medium sized apple is ranked 37, under low category.

Other Fruits You May Consume in Diabetes

If you are bored of eating apples every day, there are different fruit options available. Even though fresh fruit is always the best, you may usually add fruit which has been frozen if they don’t have added sugars. Be in the form of light syrup, dried fruit, or fruit juice, canned fruit may increase blood sugar level more than a frozen or fresh fruit.

Have a look on a few diabetic-friendly alternatives to apple which are also low on GI –

  • A small pear with GI of 37
  • 5 small apricots with GI of 34
  • A medium sized orange with GI of 40
  • A small or medium nectarine with GI of 43


If you keep track on your diet and see your doctor for regular checkups, it is fine if you add apples to your daily diet. Apples are more than just a tasty snack. Consuming it regularly can improve your health.

Add apples to your diet and always stay in track of such kind of dietary changes and other side effects you may have. If you experience any unwanted change in blood sugar, consult with your doctor. Also ask how to add apples to your routine and about its effects with your dietitian. They may help determine ideal portions and share recipes to work with your lifestyle.

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