Do Fruits Spike Insulin Levels?
By Rachel Nall
, last updated March 19, 2012
You rely on fruits in your diet to provide you with needed nutrients and fiber to maintain digestive health. Fruits are considered carbohydrates because they break down into smaller glucose molecules that can affect your blood sugar levels. Before the fruit can affect your insulin levels, it must first stimulate your pancreas to release insulin, which helps to introduce glucose into your cells. The insulin release, however, is typically not enough to “spike” or cause an excessive insulin response.
The degree to which fruits affect your insulin response depends upon the types of sugars in the fruit. For example, fruits that are high in glucose tend to cause your blood sugar levels and insulin to spike more substantially. An example of a high-glucose sugar is watermelon. Other fruits high in fructose tend to cause less of an insulin impact. An example of a fruit that contains both glucose and fructose is apples.
The glycemic index is a measurement that determines how significantly a carbohydrate-containing food will impact your blood sugar levels, which in turn affects your insulin. Knowing the glycemic index measurement of a food can particularly help you if you are a diabetic because maintaining steady blood sugar levels is important in preventing diabetes complications. The higher a food is on the glycemic index, the more it impacts your blood sugar. For example, a white baguette is rated 95, while an apple is rated a 38, according to Harvard Health Publications.
High and Low Insulin Impact Fruits
Fruits that are high in fiber tend to be lower in terms of how they impact your insulin levels. Fruits that are higher in fiber and lower on the glycemic index include apples, grapefruit, pears and prunes. Foods that are rated higher than 40, but less than 64 on the glycemic index include bananas, grapes, oranges and peaches. High-glycemic index fruits that are higher than 70 on the glycemic index, including watermelon and dates.
While glycemic index measurements are available for fruits, this does not mean that fruits will affect your blood sugar the same as they do another person’s. If you are a diabetic, measure your blood glucose levels before and after you eat a fruit to determine how it impacts your insulin and blood sugar levels. Also, fruit juices will have a higher impact on your insulin and blood sugar levels than their whole-fruit counterparts, according to Diabetes New Zealand.