Nectarines and diabetes are a relatively good pair, similar to peaches and diabetes. And that’s because nectarines are a variety of peach, one with a very similar nutritional profile and consequently, very similar effects on blood sugar metabolism. The only condition is that intake be kept low, according to the diabetic patient’s individual nutritional requirements and the restrictions of their condition. The fact that nectarines also contribute with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to the diabetic diet, despite their modest nutritional profile, further recommends them for consumption, just in limited amounts.
What makes nectarines good for diabetes?
The main reason why nectarines are ok for diabetics to eat is because they don’t raise blood sugar levels excessively, when consumed in limited amounts of course. Compared to peaches, nectarine carbohydrate content is only slightly greater, but not much different. 100 grams of the raw fruit with skin provides an average of 10.55 grams of total carbohydrates of which 7.89 grams are simple sugars, 0.96 grams other digestible carbohydrates that also ultimately become sugar following digestion, and 1.7 grams indigestible dietary fiber.
How many carbs in nectarines?
- One small nectarine (estimated weight: 130 g) has 13.61 grams of total carbohydrates of which 10.18 grams simple sugars, another 1.23 grams digestible carbohydrates that are also broken down into sugar following digestion, and 2.2 grams indigestible dietary fiber.
- One medium nectarine (estimated weight: 142 g) has 14.98 grams of total carbohydrates of which 11.20 grams simple sugars, another 1.38 grams digestible carbohydrates that become sugar after digestion, and 2.4 grams indigestible dietary fiber.
Are nectarines high in sugar?
You can say nectarines have an overall moderate sugar content: 7.89 grams of sugar in 100 grams of fruit, compared to 8.39 grams of sugar in 100 grams of peaches. After all, they are virtually the same fruit, except for the fuzz on the skin which is absent in nectarines. And while eating nectarines does make blood sugar go up, the rise in blood sugar levels is not excessive with reasonable intakes. So long as you consume the fruit in moderation, as per your individual nutritional requirements, meaning small amounts at once, nectarines are not actually bad for diabetes.
How carbohydrates affect blood sugar
It’s not just the sugar content in fruits and other foods that matters when looking to understand whether or not you can eat a fruit if you have diabetes. Other digestible carbohydrates aside from actual sugars also get broken down into sugar during digestion and contribute to blood sugar levels just as much.
So when you are looking to determine whether a fruit is good or bad for diabetes, or how much of it you can eat without experiencing side effects, look at the entire carbohydrate content. In nectarines, you have about 1 gram of other digestible carbohydrates that also contributes towards your daily intake and blood sugar level.
Fiber, which is also a type of carbohydrate in plant food, is indigestible and actually doesn’t get absorbed so it doesn’t contribute to blood sugar levels. Instead, it slows down digestion and the rate of sugar absorption into the bloodstream, contributing to a steadier rise in blood sugar levels which is a good thing if you have diabetes. You get over 2 grams of dietary fiber from a small and moderate nectarine, but most of it is in the skin of the fruit so make sure you eat the fruit whole if you want to get all the benefits it has to offer.
Glycemic index of nectarines: around 40 (low)
The glycemic index (GI) measures how fast the carbohydrates in a plant food raise blood sugar levels. Below 55 is a low GI. Between 55-69 is a moderate GI. Between 70-100 is a high GI. The lower the glycemic index score of a food, the steadier the rise in blood sugar levels and the better it is for diabetes. Find out more about the glycemic index.
Consistently choosing foods with as low a GI as possible can reduce your risks of diabetes and associated complications over time due to low GI foods helping you achieve better blood sugar control. Nectarine glycemic index is around 40 which is a low score and which recommends the fruit for consumption with diabetes, but in reasonable amounts.
Of course, not all diabetics will have an identical glycemic response following consumption of nectarines, and some may feel better than others after eating the same amount of the fruit. If you feel sick or unwell after eating nectarines, or other fruit or food, you can either reduce your intake, frequency of intake, or discontinue consumption altogether.
Alternatively, you can pair the fruit with a source of lean protein or fat to further reduce its effects on blood sugar. A small piece of cheese or a small serving of high-protein low-fat cream cheese or yogurt, 10 almonds, 1o grams of sunflower seed kernels or pumpkin seeds, or other raw nuts and seeds, even a boiled egg or some chicken can do the trick.
Just as important, know that just because other people with diabetes can eat a certain fruit or another kind of food and it’s good for them, that doesn’t automatically mean you can eat it too or that it’s good for you as well. So never force yourself to eat something that is physically making you feel sick.
How many nectarines can diabetics eat?
Serving sizes as low as 100 grams of the fresh fruit or one small or one medium nectarine at an estimated weight of 130-142 g are believed to be well tolerated by most people with diabetes type 2 and 1. Usually one serving a day is recommended – more than that and blood sugar control may be difficult to achieve.
However, it’s best to see your doctor or a dietitian with experience in diabetic diets and receive a personalized eating plan tailored to your individual nutritional requirements that includes a recommended intake of carbohydrates per day and per meal. This can help you better determine how much of different foods you can eat and continue to enjoy good blood sugar control.
It’s important to understand that there really isn’t one size-fits-all diet for diabetics. This being said, the rule of thumb when it comes to eating nectarines and other fruits with diabetes is to keep serving size low.
Serving size and frequency of intake are determined by multiple factors, including: the diabetic patient’s individual nutritional requirements based on current weight, height, age, level of physical activity and the restrictions of their condition (some may need to lose weight, some more than others), medication plan, tolerance to sugar in food, glycemic response etc.
How to reduce the effects of nectarines on blood sugar
Tips to reduce the glycemic effects of the fruit so that it’s better tolerated in a diabetic diet:
- Eat small servings of the likes of 100-150 grams or one small or medium fruit (estimated weight of one small and medium-sized nectarine: 130 to 142 grams).
- Eat no more than one serving a day. Choose a different fruit or food to get the rest of your carbohydrates from so that you enjoy the most varied nutrition possible.
- Split your intake over the course of an entire day. For example, if you feel one whole serving of the fruit tends to spike your blood sugar, you can always have half a fruit now and half later in the day.
- Eat nectarines separate from other fruits. More fruits at once means more carbs and a higher glycemic response. But eating one fruit at a time offers you better control over your condition, and diet.
- Never have fruit on an empty stomach. Always have fruit after a meal low in carbohydrates or a meal that provided lean protein and some fat. Fruit on an empty stomach will make your blood sugar go up fast.
- For a reduced glycemic impact, it’s best to have your serving of fruit after a light protein, low carbohydrate meal. The protein and, of course, fat, complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates that you will get will balance each other out for a reduced effect on blood sugar levels.
- Pair your fruit serving with sources of animal protein or fat. Both protein and fat take longer to digest and will slow down the digestion of the carbohydrates as well, reducing the likelihood of blood sugar spikes and helping you achieve better blood sugar control.
- Eat the fruit whole, with skin, to get as much dietary fiber you can in your diet. Dietary fiber is good for blood sugar control and helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Less ripe fruits have somewhat less of an impact on blood sugar. At the same time, know that choosing to eat somewhat underripe fruits may cause loose stools, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach pain, excessive burping, bloating and other digestive side effects in some people.
- Exercise after having fruit to further reduce effects on blood sugar metabolism.
Nutritionally speaking, nectarines are very similar to peaches and provide small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. They have only 1 g of protein per 100 g, less than 0.4 g of fat and only 44 kcal. Overall, they provide minor benefits for general health, do not promote weight gain and may encourage weight loss.
You can eat nectarines with diabetes type 2 and type 1 so long as you only have small amounts at once and not exceed your carbohydrate intake per day and per meal. Remember the fruit brings a significant contribution to your daily intake of carbohydrates and sugar. It’s preferable to eat the fruit whole, with skin, and always after a meal. Pair with chicken, yogurt, a little cheese or butter to reduce its glycemic effects even further. And remember, like most fruits, nectarines are only bad for diabetics when consumed in excessive amounts.
This post was updated on Monday / May 31st, 2021 at 10:25 PM