Nutrition Faceoff: Apples vs. Oranges

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

We’re all familiar with the phrase “don’t compare apples to oranges.” We thought it would be fun to take that familiar phrase to heart and actually compare these two different fruits. Is there a clear winner between the two?

Nutrition Facts: Apples vs. Oranges

 AppleOrange
Serving Size1 small (165 g), skin on1 navel orange (140 g)
Calories101 kcal66 kcal
Carbohydrate24.4 g14.8 g
Fiber3.5 g2.8 g
Net Carb20.9 g12 g
Protein0.3 g1.3 g
Fat0.3 g0.2 g
Vitamin C7.6 mg82.7 mg
Potassium172 mg232 mg
Folate035 mcg
Glycemic Index29 – 44 (low)31- 48 (low)
Table 1. Nutritional Facts Comparison of Apple versus Orange
Nutritional Comparison of Apple and Orange

3 Nutritional Highlights

Oranges Have More Vitamin C

Orange is a well-known source of Vitamin C, and the numbers confirm it.

Both Apples And Oranges Provide Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is often associated with beans and lentils; but fruits also provide this cholesterol-lowering nutrient. A medium orange provides ~ 1.8 g of soluble fiber, while an apple provides ~ 1 g.

Both Apples And Oranges Can Be Enjoyed By People With Diabetes

Some of us may wonder if apples and oranges are appropriate for people with diabetes. This thought may have been sparked from their juice counterpart. As a whole fruit despite tasting sweet, both apple and orange can be enjoyed by people living with diabetes. As you can see from the table above, both fruits offer low glycemic index values. Just watch the portion size (i.e. choosing a smaller fruit), and pair your fruit with a source of protein to help slow down carbohydrate digestion and absorption.

Our Pick: They Both Have Their Own Nutritional Values

If we were looking strictly at the numbers in the table above, orange seems to be the winner. For fewer calories per fruit, oranges provide higher levels of Vitamin C, folate, potassium, and protein, as well as lower net carb content.

However, the benefit of fruits is more than just the identified nutrient levels above. What the table doesn’t show is what other antioxidants and phytonutrients are present in both apples and oranges. Apples, for instance, when eaten with their skin on, deliver polyphenols that have antioxidant benefits. These polyphenols are particularly good at preventing oxidation of fats in our cell membranes, which is a key factor in the development of atherosclerosis.

Furthermore, in this nutritional comparison, apples seem to have higher net carb content, making them appear not as ideal as oranges in a diabetic diet. However, a 2005 study found that women eating at least an apple a day was associated with a 28% reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, compared to others eating no apples.

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