When you think of healthy snacks, fresh as well as dry fruits are often added into that category as great ways to keep hunger at bay. Raisins and grapes are often clubbed in this group as well. Everyone can tell that these fruits are generally on the sweeter side. In fact, they’re often touted to be healthier options for those who are trying to cut down on sugar but can’t ignore their sweet tooth. Frozen grapes are often recommended as a great sweet treat that mimics the taste of candy. But, could you be doing your body more harm than good by eating them?
Sugar Content And Glycemic Index
Glycemic index or GI is a rating given to food to measure its effect in raising blood glucose levels after its consumption. Raisins are usually rated low to medium on the glycemic index which means its effect on blood sugar is not alarming. In a 1.5 ounce box of raisins, the sugar content is 29 grams. Altogether this counts as 130 calories and 34 grams of carbohydrates.1
This is a reasonable serving size but the danger with raisins is how small they are. We’re more likely to gorge on them because we don’t feel as satisfied with just one serving. And these fruits really pack a punch on the carbohydrate front. Eating a box of raisins is the carbohydrate equivalent of two slices of bread.
Grapes are rated low on the glycemic index. Depending on the variety, a cup of grapes can contain between 15 and 28 grams of sugar. One serving of grapes (a handful or so) is about the same amount. But the added benefit of eating grapes is the water and fiber content as well as nutrients like vitamin K and vitamin A. 2
It all comes down to portion size. Since these are small fruits, it’s easy to get carried away if you don’t pay attention to how much you’re eating. This is possibly why they have a controversial reputation among those dieters who try to avoid sugar like it’s the plague. To avoid overeating, portion out individual serving sizes and store them separately.
So Does It Really Spike Your Blood Sugar?
It also depends on whether you have your blood sugar under control. If your blood sugar levels are stable, it’s unlikely that your sugar levels will spike if you stick to the recommended serving size. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, any significant source of carbohydrates can cause a spike in your sugar levels. Grapes and raisins may have this effect on your blood sugar as well if you are not careful with portion sizes. Keep monitoring your blood sugar levels and consult your physician to see what’s appropriate to add to your diet.
Add In Protein
It’s been seen that adding protein into your diet can help prevent a sudden spike in blood sugar and slow the release of glucose.3 When eating raisins, add in a few almonds as well to counter a rise in blood sugar. If you decide to go for grapes, eating a small slice of cheese could have the same effect.
Raisins and grapes are not inherently bad foods but as with anything, eating them in excess may have some ill effects. In moderation, they can easily be incorporated into a healthy eating plan.
|↑1||USDA Food Composition Databases. United States Department of Agriculture|
|↑2||USDA Food Composition Databases. United States Department of Agriculture|
|↑3||Gannon, Mary C., Frank Q. Nuttall, Asad Saeed, Kelly Jordan, and Heidi Hoover. “An increase in dietary protein improves the blood glucose response in persons with type 2 diabetes.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 78, no. 4 (2003): 734-741.|