Making Carbs count: Counting carbs for the diabetic diet, the carb content of citrus fruit

KITLIVINGLIVING

Citrus fruits are quite a

big group, including

oranges, lemons,

limes, clemantines,

tangerines, satumas,

mandarins, grapefruits, and pomelos.

Their zingy fresh taste is reflected

in their zesty colourful outers. They

are so intertwined in our culture that

their colours and names of the fruits

are interchangeable - orange, lemon

and lime are colours commonly used

in logos and marketing to grab our

attention.

Juicy and sweet oranges make are

an easily unwrapped snack, even peeling

them smells great and can raise your

mood. They are one of the most popular

fruits in the world and are generally

available from winter through summer

with seasonal variations, depending on

the variety.

There's often a lot of debate about how

sugary citrus fruits are. One of the main

sugars in these fruits is fructose (literally

fruit sugar). It is the sweetest of all naturally

occurring carbohydrates. However, the

sugars in the fruits need to be digested so

the sugar hit is not immediate. One way to

understand it is via the Glycaemic Index

(GI). As a reminder, the Glycaemic Index

is a scale shows how a food will affect

blood sugars, if they will make them rise

slowly or quickly. The higher the GI rating

is, the faster the increase of sugar in the

blood after eating it (a number that might

change if the food is eaten in combination

with another food).

However, all citrus fruits fall into the MAKING CARBS COUNT: UPDATE

category of 'low GI' though within the

group there are variations. Oranges have

a GI around 50, lemon and grapefruit

have a very low GI of around 25, so their

natural sugars don't cause a big spike in

blood sugar.

If you take your citrus as a drink, such

as freshly squeezed, be aware that blood

sugars will rise more quickly. You're likely

to drink the equivalent of 3 or 4 oranges

in a large glass of orange juice, and the

body absorbs liquids faster, so the hit

will be faster and higher. Stick to freshly

squeezed if you can, canned and bottled

drinks are often concentrated or have

added sugar.

Citrus fruits are low in calories, while

being able to help regulate cholesterol

as they include pectin, a soluble dietary

fibre which helps control blood cholesterol

levels.

Vitamin shots

These colourful fruits can be little vitamin

bombs, with tangerines and pink

grapefruits are particularly rich in vitamin A

(beta carotene) as well as potassium. The

real kicker when it comes to citrus though

is their vitamin C content. One good sized

orange can give you around 90% of your

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).

Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble

antioxidant in the body, disarming free

radicals and preventing damage that can

lead to cancer. A good intake of vitamin C

is directly associated with a reduced risk

of colon cancer.

Vitamin C is also associated with

reduced severity of inflammatory

One small orange, one-half of a small

grapefruit and one large tangerine

are all equal to about 100 grams. You

would have to eat almost two small

lemons to consume 100 grams and

gain the same amount of nutrients

Nutritional values of 3 citrus fruits

continued over

in one small orange. The numbers

below refer to 100g of the fruit.

The percentages are for your

recommended daily allowance.

None contain any fat. Grapefruit: 42

cals, 6% dietary fibre, 11g carbs (7g

conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis,

and rheumatoid arthritis. As there is a

field of thought that suggests that Type

2 diabetes is an inflammatory condition

high intakes of vitamin C might help

prevent it. Vitamin C is also vital for the

proper function of a healthy immune

system, which is why your grandma told

you to have vitamin C if you had a cold.

Consuming vitamin C supplements does

not provide the same protective benefits

as eating fresh oranges or drinking fresh

juice.

Citrus fruits health benefits continue

with their fibre, which has been shown to

reduce high cholesterol levels. Fibre can

also help keep blood sugar levels under

control. Oranges are classified into two

general categories-sweet and bitter-

with the former being the type most

commonly consumed. Popular varieties

of the sweet include Valencia, Navel

and Jaffa oranges, as well as the blood

orange, a hybrid species that is smaller

in size, more aromatic in flavor and has

red hues running throughout its flesh.

Bitter oranges are often used to make

jam or marmalade, and their zest serves

as the flavoring for liqueurs such as Grand

Marnier and Cointreau.

Use grapefruit and orange segments

as a delicious additions to salads this

summer, and squeeze a good squirt of

lemon onto any foods you fancy as, a bit

like vinegar, there are some that say that it

can help fight weight gain.

sugar), 23% vitamin A, 52% vitamin

C. Orange: 47 cals, 9% dietary fibre,

12g carbs (9g sugar), 88% vitamin C,

5% vitamin B-6. Lemon: 29 cals, 9g

carbs (2.5% sugar) 11% dietary fibre,

88% vitamin C, 5% vitamin B-6.

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