Are grapes good for diabetics?

Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious health condition, and it affects millions of people around the world. It is often thought that a piece of fruit might be harmful to diabetics because of its sugar content. However, fruits can still be enjoyed following a few tips.

Since diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels, people with diabetes must carefully monitor their blood sugar. It is important to eat foods that have a good effect on blood glucose control.1 They should be high in fiber and have a low glycemic index (GI).1

Are grapes good for diabetics?

Eating fruits with a low glycemic index, such as grapes, are less likely to spike blood sugar levels.1 Other high-GI fruits should be eaten in low to moderate amounts.

Fruits should be eaten as snacks and not with meals to prevent the overconsumption of sugar.1

Fruit juices should be avoided, because they are stripped of all the fiber needed for blood sugar control in diabetics.1

It is important for diabetics to eat raw non-processed fruits.1 Fresh fruits can provide the most nutrient benefits. Processed fruits likely contain added sugars that can be harmful to health.

Fruits should be eaten according to portion sizes as recommended by a healthcare professional. Especially for dried fruits. They contain more carbohydrates than non-dried fruits.1

Grapes are a healthy fruit choice for diabetics that can be eaten in a variety of ways.

Health benefits of grapes for diabetics

Nutrients

In 151 grams of grapes there are 27.3 grams of carbs, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, and 1.4 grams fiber.2

Their high fiber content makes them a good fruit choice for diabetics.3 Fiber helps with health management because it is not absorbed by the body. Instead, it passes through the stomach and intestines. For diabetics, it can normalize bowel movements, remove “bad” cholesterol, and slow down how much sugar is taken into the body.3 Grape fiber can also help with obesity-related diabetes. As an energy-dense low-calorie food, it improves the feeling of fullness.3

Grapes are packed with lots of essential vitamins and minerals. They are filled with vitamins C, K, and B6, as well as thiamine, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese.1 Vitamin K is good for proper blood clotting, and vitamin C is a great antioxidant source.1

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are important compounds for protecting against free radical damage that cause oxidative stress.4

Grapes hold most of their antioxidant chemicals in their seeds and outer skin.4 Depending on the type of grape they will have different antioxidants that give them their unique colors and health benefits.4

Grapes carry many antioxidants, such as resveratrol, anthocyanins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and others.4

Anti-inflammatory

Anthocyanins are an anti-inflammatory compound found in foods.4 Grapes are full of anthocyanins, along with other things that help decrease the amount of inflammation in the body.4

Control blood pressure

Grapes contain 6% of the daily recommended potassium intake (in 151 grams).2 Potassium is a key mineral for regulating blood pressure.5 The potassium from grapes can decrease blood pressure in the vessels of the heart and protect against disease and stroke.5

Lower blood sugar

Resveratrol is a chemical compound known to regulate the way the body handles sugar after a meal.6 Grapes contain resveratrol and for this reason, they can help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels.

A study done in 2015 showed that men who consumed 20 grams of grape extract a day had lower blood glucose levels, than those who did not.6

The purpose of the GI is to show how much or how little carbohydrates spick blood sugar.

The sugar in grapes, and other fruits, is called fructose.

One cup of grapes contains 23 grams of fructose.1 Although this may seem high, a single serving of grapes has a glycemic index of 25.4 This is a low score compared to other types of fruits. Grapes can be beneficial for diabetics because they rank lowly on the glycemic index.

When eaten in moderation, grapes can provide great health benefits for diabetics.

Reduce cholesterol

The polyphenols (nutrients from plants) found in grapes can help to control cholesterol levels.7 One study, involving 69 participants, has shown that eating three cups of red grapes was able to lower “bad” and total cholesterol levels in people.

Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to create a meal plan that’s right for you.

References:

  1. Fruit | ADA. (n.d.). American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/eating-well/fruit
  • grapes Nutrition Information. (n.d.). Nutrition Data. https://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-grapes000000000000000000000.html
  • Akaberi, M., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2016). Grapes (Vitis vinifera) as a Potential Candidate for the Therapy of the Metabolic Syndrome. Phytotherapy Research, 30(4), 540–556. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.5570
  • Pezzuto J. M. (2008). Grapes and human health: a perspective. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry56(16), 6777–6784. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf800898p
  • Yang, Q., Liu, T., Kuklina, E. V., Flanders, W. D., Hong, Y., Gillespie, C., Chang, M. H., Gwinn, M., Dowling, N., Khoury, M. J., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Sodium and potassium intake and mortality among US adults: prospective data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Archives of internal medicine171(13), 1183–1191. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2011.257
  • Urquiaga, I., D’Acuña, S., Pérez, D., Dicenta, S., Echeverría, G., Rigotti, A., & Leighton, F. (2015). Wine grape pomace flour improves blood pressure, fasting glucose and protein damage in humans: a randomized controlled trial. Biological research48(1), 49. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40659-015-0040-9
  • Rahbar, A. R., Mahmoudabadi, M. M., & Islam, M. S. (2015). Comparative effects of red and white grapes on oxidative markers and lipidemic parameters in adult hypercholesterolemic humans. Food & function6(6), 1992–1998. https://doi.org/10.1039/c5fo00100e
  • Image by NickyPe from Pixabay

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