Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

I am diabetic and am confused about whether I should drink orange juice. Is it OK?

That is an interesting question and actually one I get asked quite a lot by people trying hard to maintain their blood sugar by eating healthy meals.

Orange juice is often recommended to bring blood sugar up when it goes too low, a condition known as hypoglycemia, because of its ability to be digested and absorbed quickly by the body.

Therefore, because it has a tendency to raise blood sugar quickly, someone with diabetes should use caution when drinking orange juice between meals as it can lead to elevations above your target blood sugar level which could lead to complications.

A full glass (8 oz.) of orange juice has 28 grams of carbohydrate but a medium orange has only 14-18 grams. Most diabetic meal plans suggest a 4 oz. portion of juice. Portion control is an important key to the diabetic meal plan.

Generally, we recommend that when you drink any fruit juice, you drink it as part of the meal because the carbohydrate absorption can be slowed down by the contents of the rest of the meal. Having a glass of juice with breakfast can count as your allotted carbohydrate count but so would having the whole fruit. Remember that eating the whole fruit will offer you a little bit more nutrition including fiber which can help slow digestion and avoid quick increases in blood sugar. Fiber also helps keep your bowels moving regularly.

If you are thirsty between meals, it is best to reach for a calorie free beverage or water to quench your thirst without altering your blood sugar.

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