delicious, nutritious and convenient to eat.
Studies have shown that they have several health
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
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).
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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
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
Apples Only Moderately Affect Blood Sugar Levels
Apples do contain sugar, but much of the sugar found in apples
When fructose is consumed in a whole fruit, it has very little
effect on blood sugar levels (7).
Also, the fiber in apples slows down the digestion and
absorption of sugar. This means sugar enters the bloodstream
slowly and doesn’t rapidly raise blood sugar levels (4).
The glycemic index (GI) and the glycemic load (GL) are useful
tools to measure how much a food affects blood sugar levels
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
enough 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
The Antioxidants Found in Apples May Lower Your Risk of
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
There are multiple reasons apples might help prevent diabetes,
but the antioxidants found in apples likely play a significant
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
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
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
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
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
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