Does Orange Juice Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

Juicer With a Glass of Fresh Orange Juice
Freshly squeezed orange juice. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Orange juice contains natural sugar that will cause your blood sugar levels to rise after drinking it. Diabetics and people with hypoglycemia are often instructed to drink a glass of orange juice if blood sugar levels are low. Even though orange juice will raise blood sugar, it does not raise them as quickly as some other high-sugar foods and beverages.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is measurement of how much foods affect blood sugar. Foods with a glycemic index value less than 55 are considered low glycemic index foods, affecting the blood sugar less high-glycemic foods. Glycemic values between 55 and 70 indicate a medium effect on blood sugar. Foods over 70 have a high glycemic value, affecting blood sugar significantly and quickly. Orange juice has a glycemic value of about 50, as indicated by Harvard Health. This value indicates that orange juice is actually a low glycemic food.

Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, occurs when blood glucose values are less than 70 mg/dL, which can cause symptoms such as sweating, weakness, hunger and heart palpitations. When these occur, drinking a glass of orange juice boosts your blood sugar and relieves these feelings, although it may take 20 minutes or longer for your blood sugar levels to rise. Glucose tablets and other oral glucose products for diabetics raise blood sugar more quickly.

Types of Orange Juice

The sugar content of orange juice may differ between manufacturers due to the types of oranges used and whether it is made from concentrate. Some brands may include added sugar to sweeten otherwise tart juice. Other brands may use artificial sweeteners that do not affect blood sugar levels. Be sure to read product labels carefully. If orange juice has added sugar, add this fact into your decision about whether there are other, better choices for your health.

Considerations

When choosing orange juice, opt for juice with pulp, because 8 ounces of full-pulp juice provides at least 1/2 gram of healthy fiber. If you are diabetic, be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding diet and how to treat low blood sugar levels. Individuals who take insulin should be aware of how to treat conditions of low blood sugar in the event that too much insulin is given.

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