Grapes are extremely sweet. But can they actually aid you in fighting diabetes? Or will they cause blood sugar spikes?
1) Grapes have been cultivated for thousands of years, and they come in a variety of colors, from red, green and pink to black. They all are generally low in calories and rich in antioxidants. BUT… they are easy to binge.
2) Grapes are high in simple sugars and carbohydrates, and they may store up to 29 grams of carbs per cup. That’s basically the equivalent of two slices of white bread.
3) Despite their sweet taste, grapes are actually low on the glycemic index, sitting at around 53. For some varieties of grape, the G.I. may reach as low as 46.
4) Most doctors and nutritionists believe that limiting your portions to 150 grams of grapes is adequate for keeping your glucose levels in check.
5) One cup of grapes contains over 25% of the recommended daily intake for both vitamin C and vitamin K. Both of these vitamins have been shown to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
6) Red grapes contain a generous amount of ANTHOCYANINS, powerful antioxidants which can help lower cholesterol, improve heart health, aid with obesity prevention, and can even reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer.
7) Grapes are also rich in RESVERATROL, another antioxidant renowned for its capacity to fight cancerous free radical damage. Studies have also revealed that resveratrol can improve insulin sensitivity.
8) Grapes are also an excellent source for other diabetes-fighting, heart-healthy minerals, including iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.
GRAPES! The original food of decadence. But lately all fruit seems to have become a no-no for those suffering from diabetes. As a rich source of natural sugars, you may be concerned about your consumption of fruit, especially if you closely monitor your glucose levels. But is fruit really the diabetes villain it’s been made out to be?
It is true that some fruits may be high in carbohydrates, and, thus, could become harmful to your health… if you re not careful. So what’s the deal with those classic, decadent grapes?
Grapes are exceptionally sweet, so they MUST cause our blood sugar levels to spike…
GRAPES: DO THEY HURT OR HELP BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE? Grapes are oh-so-sweet and convenient.
.. and easily accessible. They’ve been cultivated for thousands of years, and without grapes, we wouldn’t have wine. Grapes come in a variety of colors, from red, green and pink to black.
.. and they all offer a wide range of health benefits. Grapes are generally low in calories and rich in antioxidants. But with their exceptionally sweet taste, how can they possibly be beneficial in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels?
After all, most varieties of grapes can contain 9 or more grams of carbohydrates per cup, with only about half a gram of fiber to aid your body in processing the sugar load.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways grapes may do more harm than good for your blood sugar balance.
THE DOWNSIDES OF GRAPES
Yes, grapes are tiny. But they are nearly bursting with carb content. So, could these little wonders wreck your blood sugar balance? In a word..
. MAYBE. Why? Well, firstly..
Grapes Are Easy To Binge Over
Consumption of any food can lead to long term weight gain and heightened fasting glucose levels. But over-indulging in this high-carb fruit can also wreck your post-meal glucose readings.
Fruit, in general, is not very satiating. While most fruits are loaded with fructose and other carbohydrates, they tend to be low in blood sugar-regulating macro-nutrients, like protein.
And with such a sweet taste in bite-sized portions, it can be easy to go overboard when it comes to grapes. When we eat carbohydrates alone, our blood sugar is more likely to spike and we are less likely to feel satisfied encouraging the consumption of excess calories. Coming up, we’ll reveal our favorite tip to help you avoid a blood sugar spike when eating grapes, but first, let’s state the obvious…
Grapes Are Full of Sugar
Diets high in sugar have been associated with an increased risk for heart disease, including obesity and metabolic syndrome.
And regular consumption of high sugar foods can increase insulin resistance, raising the risk of diabetes and the compilations which follow. But, for the sake of context, you should know that not all sugar is created equal. After all, the sugar within a chocolate bar or a box of cereal will not necessarily impact your body in the same way as the sugar within a piece of fruit. Why?
We’ll reveal the POSITIVE effects you may receive from the sugar within grapes coming up. But, for now, it s important to understand that fruit contains high amounts of FRUCTOSE, a simple sugar that is also used as an added sugar in many processed and highly refined foods.
Simple sugars, like fructose, do not take long for the human body to process, and, thus, they can spill glucose into your blood stream in a short amount of time. So what does that say about grapes? In comparison to other fruits, grapes do contain a higher concentration of carbohydrates and simple sugars.
While a cup of certain varieties of grapes may store around 9 grams of carbohydrates per cup, it s been reported that some store-bought brands of red or green seedless grapes can contain almost 29 grams of carbohydrates per cup! That’s almost the equivalent of two slices of bread! Of those 29 grams of carbs, about 24 grams will be pure sugar. And this cup may only supply about 1 and a half grams of fiber. But does this mean you should avoid grapes entirely?
THE BENEFITS OF GRAPES
Sure, grapes can be looked at as Nature s Candy. But, in reality, this mouth-watering fruit will still give you some incredible diabetes-fighting benefits.
Like what, you ask? Well, firstly…
Grapes Are Low G.I.
Despite their sweet taste, grapes are actually low on the glycemic index, sitting at around 53. For some varieties of grape, the G.I. may reach as low as 46.
The glycemic index of food measures how quickly carbohydrate rich foods effect our blood sugar levels when eaten alone. Foods classified with a G.I. score of 55 or over are considered to be high on the glycemic index.
High G.I. foods are typically loaded with carbohydrates, and they may spike your glucose levels.
In comparison, low G.I. foods are often rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which all work together in your body to reduce glucose levels.
A recent review concluded that low G.I. diets not only reduced long-term fasting glucose markers, but they also improved body weight in both prediabetic and diabetic patients. A low glycemic diet has not only been shown to improve blood sugar regulation, but it can also help to reduce cholesterol levels. So, with its high sugar content and relatively low amount of fiber, how do grapes still manage to be low G.I.?
For one thing, grapes still carry a relatively small amount of calories and carbohydrates per serving. That means you can healthfully eat a modest portion of grapes, on their own, without much fear of a blood sugar spike. The danger truly comes from over-eating grapes.
Most doctors and nutritionists believe that limiting your portions to 150 grams of grapes is adequate for keeping your glucose levels in check.
Plus, grapes will also supply a small amount of protein about 1.15 grams per cup. That means there’s actually almost as much protein as fiber contained with most grapes, and the protein can work in concert with the fiber to slow the release of sugar into your blood stream.
Grapes Are Nutrient-Rich
Grapes may be small, but they are a nutritional powerhouse!
And studies show that their micro-nutrient profile can help reduce inflammation while supporting blood glucose regulation! One cup of grapes contains over 25% of the recommended daily intake for both vitamin C and vitamin K. According to various studies, regular vitamin C intake can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by over 20%! Some research even indicates that having an adequate amount of vitamin C in your blood may lower your risk of becoming diabetic by as much as 62%! Vitamin K has been shown to protect against calcium build-up in arteries, and various studies show that regular vitamin K consumption lowers the risk of developing diabetes, in some cases by about 50%!
Red grapes contain a generous amount of ANTHOCYANINS.
These powerful antioxidants are not only responsible for their deep color, they also help lower cholesterol, improve heart health, aid with obesity prevention, and can even reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer. Grapes are also rich in RESVERATROL, another antioxidant renowned for its capacity to fight cancerous free radical damage. Have you heard that red wine can aid heart health? That s actually thanks to its supply of resveratrol, derived from the wine grapes.
And because of resveratrol’s ability to reduce inflammation, it has also been shown to decrease risk factors of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This antioxidant compound may also by improve ENDOTHELIAL FUNCTION, thus supporting the health of arteries and blood vessels. Studies have also revealed that resveratrol can improve insulin sensitivity. In fact, a recent meta-analysis revealed that a high dose resveratrol supplementation significantly reduced fasting blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes. Study participants also experienced a significant reduction in insulin levels, suggesting that resveratrol was beneficial in improving pancreatic beta cell function in those with type 2 diabetes.
Grapes are also a rich source of other beneficial minerals, including…iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.
Iron strengthens the immune system and is vital for red blood cell formation. Copper protects cognitive function and its antibacterial properties improve gut health. Low levels of potassium are linked with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Manganese has been shown to reduce inflammation, and recent studies show that it aids the pancreas with insulin production. So, all-in-all… what is.
.. THE VERDICT ON GRAPES…
As they are considered low glycemic and rich in heart-healthy, diabetes-fighting nutrients, it turns out that grapes CAN become a healthy addition to your blood sugar-balancing diet. While they are high in carbs, grapes still contain a modest portion of both fiber and protein, which helps to prevent blood sugar spikes. And the antioxidants within grapes can help modulate blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity. But wait..
. what about the level of fructose found in fruit? Despite a lot of controversy, fructose within fresh, whole fruit is not the same as the fructose used as an added sugar in processed foods. Studies show that fructose is harmful in larger quantities, and in foods that are highly processed.
Sodas, fruit juices, candies, and other less-than-healthy products can be loaded with high fructose corn syrup, an extremely processed variety of this simple sugar.
But at the end of the day, the sugar within fresh fruit has only a minimal impact on our health… when eaten in moderation. Plus, whole fruits, like grapes, supply needed fiber and water content, which aids satiety, thus helping you avoid both over-eating and the risk of a post-meal blood sugar spike.
However, if you are currently concerned about your blood sugar levels and, let’s face it, even if you re not overly concerned about your glucose levels, it is still important to be mindful of your portions.
While each type of fruit is unique in its carb content, in general, one standard serving of fruit contains around 15 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, when it comes to grapes, or most any fruit, doctors recommend sticking to one small serving, 1 to 2 times per day. And here comes our top tip for healthfully enjoying grapes and other delicious fruits..
. Try to pair your grapes with a source of lean protein, like mozzarella cheese or a handful of unsalted nuts. Adding extra protein to your meal or snack will slow the digestion of the carbs you get from your grapes, and can help prevent a significant blood sugar spike. And here’s one extra tip, for the road. While we believe you can healthfully include a small portion of grapes into your normal diet, we are not saying you should stock up on boxes of raisins!
The ever-popular dried version of grapes may be beloved by kids all across the globe, but, like most any dried fruit, they will contain concentrated levels of carbohydrates. So while grapes may contain between 9 and 29 grams of carbohydrates and possibly over 100 calories per cup, that same amount of sun-dried raisins may hold an astonishing 132 grams of carbs and 560 calories! Dried fruits, in general, may also be highly processed and loaded with chemical preservatives. Therefore, for grapes, and for most any variety of fruit, it’s important to avoid their dried versions when possible.