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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Is Lemon Good or Bad for Diabetes? Glycemic Index, Sugar Content

Is Lemon Good or Bad for Diabetes? Glycemic Index, Sugar Content

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 8, 2023
5 min read 1225 Views 0 Comments
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Lemons are a popular citrus fruit thought to have many health benefits. They’re used for weight loss and in treating common ailments like sore throats, but are lemons good for diabetes? In this article, we take a look at the health benefits of lemons for people with diabetes.

is lemon good for diabetes

Lemons are citrus fruits used in cooking, baking, and flavoring water. They have an acidic profile and are very rarely eaten on their own. Lemon water and lemon juice are often cited as healthy additions to your diet.

There is some evidence to suggest that consuming lemons in their various forms, including lemon juice, is good for diabetes. Indeed, some may even classify lemons as a “diabetes superfood.”

In this article, we’re going to take a look at lemons and the benefits they have for people with diabetes. Take a look now to learn more.

Is Lemon Good for Diabetes?

Yes, lemons are considered a good fruit for those with diabetes to safely consume. Lemons, and other citrus fruits, are actually classified by the American Diabetes Association as a diabetes superfood. This is because they provide you with fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium.

The vitamin C content in lemons is thought to be beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes, and it may even help to prevent the development of diabetes symptoms. Lots of the studies on the link between vitamin C and diabetes have been relatively small, and so more research is needed to confirm it.

Finally, lemons contain citrus flavonoids which have been linked to better blood sugar control. Indeed, it is thought that these compounds may inhibit the digestion of starches and slow the absorption of sugar into the intestines.

Does Lemon Contain Sugar?

Lemons contain 2.5g of sugar per 100g, and the carbohydrate content is around 9.32g. The carbs in lemon are made up mostly of soluble fiber, but 2.5g comes from simple sugars. The simple sugars in lemon include fructose, sucrose, and glucose.

While lemon contains a relatively small amount of sugar per 100g, it’s also got enough fiber to slow the absorption of the sugars into the bloodstream. This means that lemon will not cause a spike in blood sugar levels.

Fiber is incredibly important when it comes to fruit. The more fiber, the less likely the fruit will spike blood glucose levels. This is why it is important to eat the whole fruit, rather than just drinking the juice, to give you better control over your blood sugar levels.

Lemon Nutritional Profile

The nutritional profile of lemon per 100g is as follows:

Fruits & Berries
Are lemons keto
Keto If Limited
Key nutritional facts (per 100g):
Net carbs
Total carbs
Glycemic Index

Lemon also contains nutrients that have many health benefits for the body. Nutrients include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc, along with vitamins A, E, and C, and some B vitamins.

These nutrients are important for the body, and getting enough can be difficult. If you’re concerned about getting all of the minerals your body needs, you could try taking supplements to increase your intake.

Glycemic Index of Lemon

The glycemic index of lemon is around 20. This makes it a low GI fruit and a good option for those with diabetes looking to control blood sugar levels. Glycemic index refers to the rate at which simple sugars in a food are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Foods with a low glycemic load will not cause a spike in blood sugar levels, whereas foods with a high glycemic index will. Low GI is usually between 1–55, making lemon a low GI food. Lemon juice also has a glycemic index of 20.

The glycemic load of food will change when it is paired with other foods and cooked using different methods. If you’re looking for a way to keep track of your sugar intake, you could try out the diabetes management app.

5 Benefits of Lemon for Diabetes

Consuming lemon could have a number of benefits for those with diabetes. Below, we have summarized some of these benefits.

#1 Lowers blood pressure

There is evidence to suggest that consuming citrus fruits can help lower your blood pressure. One study suggests that combining a glass of lemon juice and walking daily could show significant improvement in blood pressure levels.

Lowering BP is important for people with diabetes as a combination of high BP and diabetes can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Additionally, diabetes can harden the arteries, which can increase BP, so keeping BP levels in check can help to improve overall health.

There are other ways to lower your BP levels, indeed, running in the morning may help to lower your BP overall.

#2 Promotes metabolic control

The high levels of vitamin C in lemon juice make it a good method of metabolic control. Studies have shown that vitamin C may be useful in reducing the risk of diabetic complications and could even help to lower blood glucose levels.

Additionally, some citrus flavonoids present in lemons may help reduce insulin resistance, helping to control blood sugar levels.

#3 Improves heart health

Consumption of lemons and lemon juice increases your vitamin C intake, which could improve your heart health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Additionally, like many fiber-rich foods, lemons can help reduce certain risk factors relating to heart problems.

This includes lowering blood cholesterol levels. It is also thought that some of the plant compounds found in lemons could reduce cholesterol levels too. High cholesterol can be dangerous in those with diabetes and can increase the risk of developing heart problems.

Other methods of promoting heart health include eating more healthy fats and increasing your activity level. To get more exercise, you could start running more regularly.

#4 Promotes weight loss

Weight loss is commonly advised for those diagnosed with diabetes, and losing just 5–7% of your body weight is thought to have a significant impact on your condition. There is an abundance of research that suggests lemons are a good fruit to consume for weight reduction.

One study suggests that the polyphenols in lemons help you to lose weight in various ways, while another study in mice showed these polyphenols slowed weight gain. These studies are generally done on animals, and the effects need to be replicated in humans to confirm the findings.

If you’re looking for ways to lose weight with diabetes, you could look into low-carb diets. The ketogenic diet is considered diabetes-friendly and will help you to lose weight safely.

#5 Full of antioxidants

Lemons contain many antioxidants, including vitamin C, which has antioxidant effects. These antioxidants can help protect the body against free radicals and oxidative stress, which has been linked to a number of chronic illnesses. In addition, they may help reduce inflammation which has been linked to complications in those with diabetes.


Is lemon low-glycemic?

Lemon has a glycemic load of 20 which makes it a low GI food. Lemon juice also has a GI of 20. Low GI foods will not cause a blood sugar spike.

Are lemons good for type 2 diabetes?

Lemons are thought to be good for those with type 2 diabetes. They contain plant compounds that may boost insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. They also contain lots of soluble fiber.

Does lemon decrease blood sugars?

Lemon has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar absorption, which can help to lower blood sugar levels. More research may be needed in human studies to confirm this.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Lemons have many health benefits for those with diabetes. They have high levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants as well as a good amount of soluble fiber. In fact, the American Diabetes Association classifies lemons as a diabetes superfood.

While lemons have lots of benefits for diabetic patients, they should not be the only measure you take towards controlling and managing your condition. Indeed, there are many other ways you can try and manage blood glucose levels when you’ve got diabetes.

You could begin by following a low carbohydrate diet. There are many popular options, including the Atkins diet and the keto diet. Be sure to speak with your doctor before trying a new diet to ensure it is safe.

You may also want to lose weight. You can lose weight by eating at a caloric deficit and burning more calories each day. The intermittent fasting dieting method is a great way to enforce a caloric deficit and could help maintain healthy fasting blood sugar. There are a few styles, including the 14:10 method and the 16:8 method.

You can burn more calories each day by increasing your activity level. You could do this by starting a new running regime, running for longer distances, or trying something new like pilates or hula-hooping.

While lemons show positive effects on those with diabetes, there is a lot more you can do to manage your condition too.


Lemons have been shown to have a positive impact on people with diabetes. They have high levels of vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients that can keep blood sugar within a healthy range. Though lemons are good for diabetes, you should not rely solely on them to manage your condition.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 8, 2023
5 min read 1225 Views 0 Comments

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