Whether you have diabetes or watch your blood sugars to maintain more stable energy levels, you know that some foods can raise your blood sugars more than others. Protein in meat, poultry and fish and fats found in oils and butter have little influence over your blood sugars. However, your consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods influences how high your blood sugars rise after you eat. The extent to which your blood sugars rise after eating oranges depends on the amount you have at one time, the size of the orange and its processing.
Blood Sugar Levels
The main factor that influences your blood sugar levels is the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Carbohydrates include the starches found in bread, potatoes and pasta as well as sugars found in sweets and desserts. Other types of sugars, such as lactose found in dairy products and glucose and fructose found in fruits, can also influence your blood sugar levels. Oranges, like other fruits, contain sugars that can raise your blood sugar levels.
The available carbohydrate content of your oranges will tell you how high it can raise your blood sugars. You can calculate available carbs by subtracting their fiber content from their total carbs because, unlike other types of carbohydrates, fiber does not raise your blood sugar levels. For example, a small orange containing 11.3 grams of total carbs and 2.3 grams of fiber has an available carb content of 9 grams, while a large orange, with 21.6 grams of total carbs and 4.4 grams of fiber, has an available carb content of 17.2 grams of available carbs. As a comparison basis, a slice of bread has 15 grams of available carbs. The larger the orange you eat, the higher your blood sugars will rise.
A glass of 1 cup of fresh orange juice has 25.8 grams of total carbs and 0.5 grams of fiber, corresponding to 25.3 grams of available carbs, while 1 cup of orange juice made from frozen concentrate has 26.8 grams of total carbs and 0.5 grams of fiber, for a total of 26.3 grams of available carbs. This means that a small glass of orange juice can raise your blood sugar levels almost to the same extent as two slices of bread. Many people serve their orange juice in a large glass, providing as many as 2 cups of orange juice per serving and corresponding to more than 50 grams of available carbs, or more than three slices of bread. Orange juice that contains added sugar has even more carbohydrates per serving.
Control Your Blood Sugars
To prevent your blood sugar levels from rising too high, avoid orange juice. Not only is the beneficial fiber removed during the processing of oranges into juices, but it is also too easy to drink a large amount in a matter of minutes. Stick with fresh, whole oranges. The peeling will slow you down, and the high fiber content of oranges will increase your satiety, helping you feel full with fewer carbohydrates and calories. Opt for smaller oranges to keep your carbohydrate intake low and your blood sugar levels in control.