Can You Eat Oranges If You Have Diabetes?
The major constituents of food are the complex molecules like carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. These are being broken down into simpler molecules during a process called digestion. The main intention of eating food is to get energy which is produced through many chemical reactions. These chemical reactions which are involved in the production of energy from food are collectively called as metabolism. Under certain circumstances, these reactions occur in a very different manner and disturb the usual metabolism process. The abnormalities and the disorders caused due to this are known as metabolic disorders.
Diabetes (commonly used for Diabetes mellitus) is one of such metabolic disorders diagnosed on the basis of increased sugar level in blood for a long period. Since, it is a metabolic disorder; taking control over the condition through diet is very easy and essential. Fresh fruits and vegetables play a major role here. There often exists a debate as to whether you can eat orange when you have diabetes or not. Before we look into it, let us first see the causes and treatment of diabetes to understand which food would be safe to consume when suffering from diabetes.
What are the Symptoms, Causes and Treatment for Diabetes?
The typical signs and symptoms of diabetes include unintentional weight loss, excessive thirst (polydipsia), excessive hungry (polyphagia) and frequent urination (polyuria). Some patients may also have fatigue, excretion of glucose through urine, itching of skin, blurred vision and wounds are healed slowly.
There are three kinds of diabetes namely diabetes mellitus type 1 in which pancreas fails to form sufficient insulin hormone. This occurs because of scarcity of beta cells which are responsible for the production of insulin. The second type is type 2 diabetes which is caused due to the failure of cells to respond to the presence of insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Over weight and lack of exercise are the most probable causes for this disorder. One more type is gestational diabetes where the pregnant women suffer from this disease.
The treatments for diabetes would be different at different stages. Along with medication, the disorder can be managed by bringing some lifestyle changes. Nutrition in this condition aims at prevention of possible complications of both short term (acute) and long term. Patients may have a wrong belief that they have to go without foods they enjoy. The thing is they still can eat the foods they want but have to take either less frequently or in a little quantity. Particularly in case of type 2, since the disease in noninsulin dependent, choosing foods in the diet plays a major role in managing it.
While preparing a diet chart for a diabetic patient, dietitians prefer foods with low glycemic index. Such foods having glycemic index less than 55 are digested and metabolized slowly in turn helping in rising blood sugar slowly1. Fruits belonging to citrus family have glycemic index approximately from 25 to 40.
Can you Eat Oranges if You have Diabetes?
Oranges with glycemic index 40 have more quantity of dietary fiber. Oranges are the great source of nutrients. They provide energy, vitamin C as well as fiber. Fiber is necessary for digestive system and also is slowly absorbed. Vitamin C acts as antioxidant and supports immunity. Hence, yes, you can eat oranges if you are diabetic.
However, the orange fruit should be consumed wholly. Juice may increase the risk of diabetes but eating the fruit reduces it. Moreover, juice does not contain any fiber; also increases the blood sugar level immediately. So the complete orange fruit is a better choice than orange juice. In case of hypoglycemia, orange juice would be more helpful. One orange contains 10 to 15 g of carbohydrates. This quantity of carbohydrates amounts to 62 calories of energy. This fruit causes very low rise in blood sugar. Hence, one orange can be included for one serving.
Foods To Have When Suffering From Diabetes
The kind of foods that are safe and one can have it when suffering from diabetes is:
- Protein found in foods like sprouted seeds (mainly split peas, chick peas), tofu, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs
- Whole grains like quinoa, wheat, cornmeal, barley, oats, rice.
- Dairy products which have low fat content
- Fruits like melon, bananas, grapes, oranges, apples
- Vegetables like broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, corn, green peas, carrots, green leafy vegetables.
In case of gestational diabetes, though the nutrients found in orange are very much essential, eating one portion per day in place of three or four times is advisable. This is because the fruits contain the natural sugar. Consumption of canned fruits must be strictly avoided as they are preserved in sugar syrups. Eating the fruit instead of juice in gestational diabetes would also be helpful.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the metabolic disorders which can be managed if the people have education and awareness. The disease does not cause any complications if the person maintains a healthy weight, does exercise regularly and following some diet plan provided by a registered expert dietitian.
- Beulens JW, de Bruijne LM, Stolk RP, et al. High dietary glycemic load and glycemic index increase risk of cardiovascular disease among middle-aged women: a population-based follow-up study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007;50:14-21.
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