Nectarines will raise blood sugar in diabetics and non-diabetics, irrespective of intake. But the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels is what makes them either good or bad for you, diabetic or not. The more you eat at once, the more your blood sugar levels will go up. The lower the intake, the less significant the effects. Whether you’re diabetic or not, your goal should be to avoid dietary excesses of any kind, including fruits, by aiming for reasonable intakes.
It’s natural for all plant foods to raise blood sugar levels. That’s because they contain digestible carbohydrates, a type of essential nutrient that the body processes into sugar which then gets absorbed into the bloodstream contributing to blood sugar levels (also called blood glucose levels, glucose being the form of sugar that the body uses for energy). Carbohydrates are easier to digest compared to other nutrients (fats and protein) and so they provide quick energy.
The simpler the carbohydrates, the faster they’re digested. For example, sugars from nectarines and other fruits are a type of simple carbohydrates. This means they doesn’t require much digesting and will get processed really fast, providing very quick energy for the body to use in the form of glucose in the blood.
If you haven’t eaten in a long time and feel sluggish or feel like you are about to faint, then it means your blood sugar levels are running low. A ripe and sweet nectarine can help restore your energy levels in a matter of minutes, and good mood in addition to that. All thanks to the sugars in it which get digested almost instantly and absorbed into the bloodstream to be used as an energy source. One fruit such as a nectarine is all you need to reverse low blood sugar levels, also known as hypoglycemia.
Do all carbohydrates in food become sugar?
Fruits contain several different types of carbohydrates. Some are simple sugars such as fructose and glucose and some are more complex sugars such as sucrose – both types count as simple carbohydrates and get digested fairly easily, raising blood sugar levels and contributing to energy status.
Other more complex carbohydrates in fruits also get broken down into simple sugar forms, but take longer to be digested because they are more complex. And this is good for you because it ensures a steadier rise in blood sugar levels, and more steady energy levels across a longer timespan. It’s actually better for you to eat more complex carbohydrates rather than simple ones so that you prevent extreme fluctuations in blood sugar levels and energy highs and lows.
Lastly, there is dietary fiber, a very complex form of carbohydrates that doesn’t actually get digested. That is, it passes more or less unchanged through the digestive tract. While you don’t get nutrition from dietary fiber because it doesn’t get digested, you do enjoy important benefits for health. For example, soluble dietary fiber gets fermented and feeds gut flora for good gut health.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t get digested at all, and doesn’t ferment either. Instead, it adds bulk to stools for good transit and, at the same time, slows down digestion contributing to a more gradual absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Nectarines and many other similar fruits are good sources of both dietary fiber and sugar, but not very good sources of other complex carbohydrates. This is why they tend to raise blood sugar levels fast after eating.
Are nectarines high in sugar?
Nectarines are a moderate source of natural sugar actually. Although some voices may say moderately high. How much sugar in nectarines? A serving of 100 g of the fresh fruit has on average 7.89 g of simple sugars (in the form of fructose and glucose) out of a total of 10.55 g of carbohydrates. One small nectarine estimated at 130 g has 10.18 g of sugar out of a total of 13.61 g of carbohydrates. One medium nectarine estimated at 142 g has 11.2 g of sugar out of a total of 14.98 g of carbohydrates. So it’s not very much, but not a negligible amount either.
What makes nectarines good or bad for you is how much of the fruit you eat. The less of the fruit you eat in one sitting, so the smaller the serving size, the lesser the effects on blood sugar. The more you eat, the more pregnant the effects.
If you have diabetes, then you are likely experiencing a state of consistently high blood sugar levels (officially called hyperglycemia). Diabetes also means that your body is having difficulty in regulating its glucose metabolism due to problems producing or responding to the hormone insulin. In this case, it’s imperative that you limit your intake of carbohydrates from food per day and per meal, nectarines and other fruits included.
How to eat nectarines with diabetes
First off, can you eat nectarines if you have diabetes? Despite the common misconception that fruits are bad for diabetics, know that it’s actually good for you and strongly recommended to eat fresh fruit even if you have diabetes. But it’s important to eat fruit in moderation, especially with the metabolic condition.
For diabetics, a good serving size of nectarines is somewhere along the lines of 100-150 grams of the fresh fruit, preferably with skin. That could mean less than a small fruit, one small fruit or one medium fruit.
It’s advisable to have only one serving a day, and keep it separate from other servings of fruits. Ideally, eat the fruit after a meal low in carbohydrates and containing light protein (chicken breast, turkey breast, cod or other white fish), not on an empty stomach. Or pair it with a small piece of cheese or a small serving of raw nuts and seeds. Protein, and fat, delay digestion of carbohydrates and contribute to a steadier absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, limiting the glycemic impact of foods that are sources of carbohydrates.
You can even spread your intake, that one serving, over the course of an entire day to further limit the effects on blood sugar and achieve better blood sugar control. Find out more about nectarines and diabetes.
Nectarines glycemic index: around 40 (low)
The extent to which nectarines affect blood glucose metabolism can be explained by the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) measures how fast the carbohydrates in a plant or animal 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. Ideally, food with a lower GI are better for you whether you’re diabetic or not because they don’t spike blood sugar. Find out more about what is the glycemic index.
Nectarine glycemic index is around 40, which makes it a low GI food. In other words, having one small fruit won’t have that big of an impact on your blood sugar levels, or negatively impact blood glucose metabolism long-term, diabetic or not. Yes, eating nectarines will raise blood sugar levels rather quickly, but not excessively due to the limited amounts of carbs in the fruit, which is a good thing.
Only if you eat too much of the fruit at once will you get a sudden and significant rise in blood sugar. Other than this, the fruit is ok to eat even with diabetes, and a source of some pretty great benefits for health. Discover the 12 excellent benefits of eating nectarines.
When eaten in small amounts, nectarines don’t raise blood sugar to extreme levels which why they are relatively well tolerated in diabetic diets. The key is to limit serving size and the number of servings per day and per week. The fruit itself is low glycemic and does not impact blood sugar too much to begin with, provided intake is reasonable. To further reduce the effects of nectarines on blood sugar, eat them with a source of protein such as a small piece of cheese, lean meat or white fish, even a small serving of raw nuts or seeds.
This post was updated on Monday / May 31st, 2021 at 9:28 PM