How Much Sugar Is In An Orange?

Sweeter than other citrus fruits like lemons and grapefruits, oranges burst with a delicious flavor that is loved by young and old alike — but does all that sunny sweetness mean we should watch our orange intake? Are they packed with sugar that may do us harm? What about diabetics? Well, the truth is that yes, oranges do indeed contain sugar. However, it's not quite the same as the sugar found in processed foods, like candy or baked goods.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a single orange (approximately 154g) contains 14 grams of sugar. Only about half of this is sucrose, or pure sugar, while the rest is equal parts fructose and glucose. Fructose is known as "fruit sugar," while glucose is the main type of sugar found in the blood. Each one of these sugars interacts with the body differently, and the sugar found in oranges happens to be in a food that is also high in fiber and vitamins.

Is the sugar found in oranges bad for you?

Doctors and dieticians rate the effect of food on your blood sugar levels on a scale of 1-100 using what is called the glycemic index (GI). According to Oregon State University, the GI for oranges is 40, which is lower than other fruits, like apples and bananas. This makes oranges a low glycemic index food, despite the fact that they have a substantial amount of sugar. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) actually classifies oranges, along with other citrus foods, as a "superstar food" due to its low GI score and high amounts of fiber and vitamin C.

Not only is the sugar in oranges benign, but it can actually be good for you. According to the Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research (CHEAR) at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, natural sugars actually give you energy. As opposed to added sugars, which can result in a quick spike in blood sugar, natural sugars found in fruits give you a slower but more sustained spike that lasts for hours (via CHEAR). Eat all of the oranges you want! Orange juice, however, does not have the same fiber level as whole oranges and has a slightly higher GI index of 50 (via Oregon State University).