Apples are chock full of health benefits, such as improving digestion and reducing the risk of heart disease. After all, there’s a reason for the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” While they provide so many nutritional benefits, apples are also high in fructose. This might leave you wondering if apples affect blood sugar, and if individuals with diabetes should avoid them.
Understanding Sugar: Sucrose vs. Glucose vs. Fructose
Sugar isn’t as simple as you would think, but we are going to break it down as simply as we can. If you think of white sugar when you think of sugar, that’s sucrose. Sucrose is actually made of half glucose and half fructose. Fructose and glucose are both naturally-occurring sugars, but they are found in different things and are processed very differently by our bodies.
Glucose is most commonly found in breads, rice, pasta, and starchy vegetables.
Fructose is most commonly found in fruits, including apples.
Glucose is processed throughout the entire body.
Fructose is processed primarily through the liver.
Glucose produces insulin, which raises blood sugar levels.
Fructose doesn’t produce insulin, and it very slowly raises blood sugar.
So, Do Apples Lower Blood Sugar?
Apples don’t lower blood sugar, but they don’t seem to raise it either. Because they are high in fructose, not glucose, they don’t impact insulin levels. Additionally, the naturally-occurring fiber in apples slows down the rate at which the fructose is released, making any impact on insulin even smaller.
Eating fruits like apples in their whole form reduces blood sugar spikes. On the other hand, consuming apples in other forms, like apple juice, has a totally different effect. This is because there is no fiber to counteract the fructose absorption in the body. If you are concerned about blood sugar levels (which we should all be aware of, diabetic or not), stick with whole fruits!
You can also make a habit of pairing a protein with every carb you eat, whether it is a full meal or a small snack. This will slow down your body’s absorption of sugar and help maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
Local Michigan Apples
Is it just us, or are you craving apples now? If you live in or near the Grand Rapids area, be sure to stop by Robinette’s for the best apples around! If you don’t live nearby, don’t worry. We’ll ship our local apples right to you!