Here we explore Orange Juice and Diabetes. Many questions related to drinking orange juice and its effect on blood sugar will be discussed here to answer the ultimate question – is orange juice good for diabetics?
The issues of the Do’s and Don’ts of diabetics have been controversial over the years. There are so many speculations on what they should eat and what they shouldn’t eat. This has led many people with diabetes to be living on speculations and fear.
Fruit juices are generally healthy and refreshing to take. So many people prefer drinking juices provided it will keep them away from taking soda and sugar-based soft drinks.
Also, fruit juices are easy to make and economical; hence, they are easily accessible and available to many.
However, the same can’t be said for people with diabetes. They usually don’t have the liberty of taking just any fruit juice they wish to. This is because some of these fruit juices have a high content of sugar.
However, orange fruit sometimes can be an exception. Although some of them are not completely sugar-free, it is considered safe to some extent.
Orange in itself is a very good fruit with a delightful taste and pleasurable to take. It is one of the commonest fruit which can be found anywhere, and it is very much affordable. It is not surprising that a juice that is equally as good as the fruit is extracted from it.
In this article, we will explore the content of orange juice and further establish whether it is safe for diabetics or not.
But before jumping on to the effects of orange juice on diabetes, let’s find out the difference between Orange and Orange Juice…
Orange and Orange Juice – What’s The Difference?
Amongst the numerous fruits cultivated worldwide, orange fruits are the most popular.
They grow on orange trees (citrus and cinensis), and they belong to a very large group of fruits known as citrus fruits.
On the other hand, orange juice is the liquid extract of orange tree fruit. There are produced by squeezing oranges. It can come in different varieties depending on the orange variety, the process of making the juice and what you add to it (salt for example).
The major difference between orange fruits and orange juices is that juices are lower in fiber. Orange juices are usually less filling and can be consumed in excess if not watched.
The Nutritional Content of Orange Juice vs The Whole Orange
Orange and orange juice have different nutritional content, which has numerous health benefits. Each is unique with its unique contents and nutritional value.
After a close comparison, you may find that the nutritional content of orange and orange juice is quite similar. They are both excellent sources of vitamin C, which greatly boosts immune health. And there are also good sources of folate, which helps to decrease the risk of birth defects in pregnancy.
The only difference that comes is seen in orange juice, which is because of some nutrients usually lost during processing and storage. This leads to orange juice having lesser nutrients, especially fiber.
Let’s dig more into the content of orange juice and whole Orange. What do they really contain?
Nutritional Contents of Orange Juice
The carbs in half of a large orange are about 11.8 grams. Carbs and water are the main contents of Orange.
There are various forms of carbs, but the ones most prominent in orange fruit are simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. They all contribute to giving orange juice its sweet taste.
Despite the sugar content in oranges, they have been found to have a low glycemic index. Its glycemic index is about (GI) of 31-51.
Glycemic index is simply a measure of how fast sugar enters your bloodstream after each meal. It has been found that a low glycemic index gives rise to numerous health benefits.
The low glycemic index of oranges is attributed to their high polyphenol and fiber content, which in turn moderates the rise in blood sugar.
The fiber in half of a large orange is about 2.4 grams. There are many fibers contained in orange fruit, but the most prominent are pectin, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
There are so many health benefits that dietary fiber provides and amongst them are improved digestive health, weight loss, and cholesterol.
- Vitamins and Minerals
Oranges contain some important vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and potassium.
In terms of vitamin C, one large Orange can provide about 100% of the reference daily intake.
Oranges are also a good source of potassium, and a high intake of potassium helps in significantly lowering blood pressure. This is most beneficial for people who have high blood pressure.
Oranges contain some compounds which are good antioxidants. Amongst such compounds are phenolic. Examples of such phenolics are hesperidin and Anthocyanins.
Hesperidins are citrus flavonoids that make up the major antioxidants in oranges. They have been associated with so many health benefits.
Also, anthocyanins, another antioxidant is responsible for the red flesh of blood oranges.
It has been found that all citrus fruit, oranges inclusive, are high in carotenoids antioxidant, which is highly responsible for the rich color of oranges.
- Citric acid
Oranges are also high in citric acid, and this contributes to their sour taste.
Nutritional Contents of Orange Juice
We will take a closer look at the nutritional content of orange juice now…
Ober orange juice contains the below.
4% of the RDI
137% of RDI
18% of RDI
7% of the RDI
11% of the RDI
2% of the RDI
7% of the RDI
14% of the RDI
RDI=Recommended Dietary Intakes
Can Diabetics Have Orange Juice?
Fruit juices generally have healthy benefits. Orange juice is very good, but as a person with diabetes, it is very much recommended that you take whole fruit rather than the juice.
This is because some orange juice has an added sugar content. And, you need to be extra careful when taking it.
However, diabetics can have orange juice if the juice is added sugar-free. Orange juice is very healthy for all.
How Orange Juice Affects The Blood Glucose Level?
Orange juices have been found to have a significant effect on the blood glucose level.
Generally, the glycemic index is used to measure the effect of foods and fruits on blood sugar levels. On a scale of 100, orange juice has a glycemic index rating of 66 and 76. There are so many factors that can impact the juice.
Orange juices come in handy in cases of hypoglycemia.
For people with diabetes who have low blood sugar levels, orange juices can be used to increase their blood sugar levels quickly. (Just like a banana!)
However, the sugar levels in fruit juice can also increase or cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which will significantly increase the risk of hyperglycemia.
What Does The Research Say?
Although orange juice is largely regarded as a healthy juice, recent researches have shown that regular and frequent consumption of orange juice might increase the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
When is Orange Juice Bad For Diabetics?
Orange juice can be very bad for people with diabetes in cases of hyperglycemia or if your diabetes is severe.
People with diabetes suffering from severe hyperglycemia or unstable blood sugar levels need to stay clear of orange juices, especially those containing sugar.
Although so many brands claim that their juices are sugar-free, one can never be completely sure, so it is very much necessary that you stay off orange juice if you have severe hyperglycemia.
Alternate Fruit Juice Which May Be Better For Diabetics
There are numerous fruit juices globally. However, with the vulnerable nature of people with diabetes to sugar contents, it is advised that they choose carefully when selecting fruit juices to take.
This is because many of the fruit juices have high sugar content.
Except in cases of hypoglycemia, people with diabetes should opt for fruit juices that have zero sugar content
or low sugar content.
This is to avoid having a spike in sugar level, which will, in turn, lead to hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia episodes are very detrimental to the health of people with diabetes.
Here is a list of fruit juices with no sugar content, and they are highly recommended.
- Apple Juice
We must be familiar with the slogan which says that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. This is why doctors and health care professionals generally ask that we take an apple a day.
When it comes to apple fruit juice, it is not an exception. This means that it also has wonderful health benefits, just like the apple fruit itself.
In terms of sugar-free fruit juices, there are speculations that apple juices top the radar. Taking a glass that contains 100% pure apple juice will provide you with numerous healthy contents.
Since apple juice is free from ‘sugar’ with a small amount of cholesterol and saturated fats, it is very much recommended for people with diabetes.
Additionally, apple juice contains pectin, which helps to lower the insulin level and eliminate harmful toxins. Therefore, taking a glass of apple juice as a diabetic leaves you with numerous health benefits. Just make sure you don’t add any sugar into it.
- Carrot Juice
Carrot is a very good fruit, and it is considered one of the healthiest in the world.
Carrot is made up of numerous vitamins and minerals and is also known for its antioxidant functions in the human body. This antioxidant function is due to its content of carotenoids.
Carrot juice is highly sorted after by diabetic patients because it is sugar-free. It also contains a good amount of plant insulin. This insulin helps to lower the sugar level and reduce the risk of diabetes.
- Grape Juices
Grape juices are highly recommended for people with diabetes. They have been found to contain fibers, low calories, minerals, and other important and beneficial nutrients.
When you take grape juice without any additional sugar or ingredients, your health as a diabetes fighter will be significantly increased.
Grape juice has so many functions. Having a glass of grape juice can significantly lower your glucose level.
It can help increase the rate of metabolism, which in turn helps protect the human body from many diseases.
Moreover, asides from diabetes, grapefruit can also be very beneficial for people suffering from excess acidity, fatigue, and constipation.
The cucumber has been associated with so many functions. So many people speculate that cucumber helps in hair growth, fighting acne, and other functions which have been attributed to it.
However, cucumber has high water content. It contains numerous types of vitamins (Vitamin A, B-complex, and C).
It also contains silica, sulfur, and minerals that are alkaline-forming. They help in eliminating bacteria and healing various diseases.
Concerning people with diabetes, taking cucumber juice is very beneficial because it contains zero sugar.
- Bitter Gourd Juice
Bitter gourd juice provides a good cardiovascular support function. Asides its bitterness, it is a very good juice for people with diabetes with high nutritional contents.
It is very rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, and iron. This nutritional content will significantly improve your overall health.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, bitter gourd juice contains an ingredient called polypeptide-p that plays a significant role in the control of diabetes.
Due to its sugar-free content, nutritional value, and antioxidant property, bitter gourd juice will help protect a diabetic’s body from numerous relevant symptoms.
Now, let’s turn on to the best orange juices you could buy if you are really fond of sipping some orange juice while monitoring your blood glucose status.
5 Best Orange Juices For Diabetics
1. Tropicana Pure Premium Vitamin C + Zinc
Tropicana pure premium vitamin C + zinc has been said to be one of the best-selling brands of orange juice suitable for people with diabetes.
It is an ideal unsweetened fruit juice for diabetics that enables you to have a large portion of the juice without fear of having a spike in blood glucose. This means that if you like to have orange juice but lack the time always to squeeze it out every morning, then Tropicana can be an easy way out.
It has a very delicious flavor, and each serving provides you with 110 calories.
One very good thing about Tropicana is that it does not contain any artificial sweetener, additives or preservatives.
It is said to be a low sodium juice, and it is highly vegan. You don’t need to worry about additive animal products when taking the juice.
It also contains an additional amount of vitamin C compared to the normal orange juice, so it strengthens the immune system.
Other additional nutrients include zinc, folic acid, vitamin B1, and potassium. These nutrients will help in the control of diabetes, and help to improve your cardiovascular health.
2. Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company
This particular brand is well-known for its unique flavor. You can hardly distinguish between the orange juice and the main orange fruit.
The brand always commits a lot of time and always engages in minimal production. The production in small quantities makes them produce with very good quality.
The brand has both the standard orange option, which contains some small bit of pulps, with great texture and also an organic orange variety that is smoother and sweeter with hints of pineapple.
It contains no sugar or fructose, making it ideal for people with diabetes.
3. Simply Orange
Simply Orange brand is also known for its sweet flavor. It doesn’t leave a sugary aftertaste on the tongue. The flavor does have too much acidity or sourness, though.
Simply Orange produces a pulp-free orange that contains calcium and vitamin D variety.
Most importantly, they are added sugar-free, which means that a person with diabetes can take it without fear of a sugar spike.
4. Uncle Matts Orange Juice
Uncle Matts orange juice contains calcium and vitamin D option. This brand is unique for its full-flavored genuine orange taste with a smooth mouthfeel.
It contains a blend of organic Hamlin and Valencia oranges which provides the bottle with its flavor.
While taking Uncle Matts orange juice, you might taste some hints of mango with a considerable amount of acidity, which helps to balance out the delightful sweetness.
It is also sugar-free.
5. Florida’s Natural Orange Juice
Not everyone wants to have a sweet sip of orange juice in the morning. Some want to have their juice with a little bitterness and tartness. If this is you, then Florida’s Natural Orange Juice is very much ideal for you.
The brand boasts highly of a subtle sweetness with a bracing tartness that’s tastes slightly bitter, just like a grapefruit.
Unlike other brands, Florida has a floral flavor which makes it unique.
It is also marketed as sugar-free.
People with diabetes can also enjoy the pleasure of enjoying fruit juices. It is only left for them to check the content and go for the ones that will have the most minimal negative effect on them.
This is because people with diabetes ought to be especially responsible and selective in what they do because a little spike in blood sugar will be very detrimental to their health.
There are so many fruit juices with very low sugar contents and will be healthy and safe for diabetics.
Orange juice, when taken in moderation, will not cause you harm. One or two glasses of orange juice are very much safe and suitable for diabetics.
However, in cases of hyperglycemia (episodes), orange juice should be avoided. However, orange juice might be taken in quantities in cases of hypoglycemia as this will help boost the glucose level in the body.
If you are taking orange juice and discover any unusual symptoms, you must seek the help of your health care professional or dietitian.
If in any case, you are advised not to take orange juice by your health care professional or dietitian, you must avoid it no matter how tempting it may be.
Also, having fruit juice is generally better than having soda drinks. So always stay healthy with a glass of sugar-free fruit juice, such as orange juice.