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Are Grapes Good for Diabetes? Nutritionist Explains
Diabetes

Are Grapes Good for Diabetes? Nutritionist Explains

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 18
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5 min

Fruit consumption is a great way to meet your daily nutritional requirements. However, people with diabetes may be worried about the sugar content in most fruits. Can they eat grapes? Are grapes good for diabetes? Or can grapes raise blood sugar levels? We dig deeper into the nutritional information of grapes and their health benefits for diabetes.

Are grapes good for diabetes

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Diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels, which are caused by the body’s inability to make enough insulin or to use it effectively. It’s a severe, lifelong medical condition and the sixth most common cause of death in the US.

People with diabetes need to monitor their sugar levels closely and avoid eating unhealthy diets that can worsen their condition. Because of this, most of them avoid eating fruits because they think that fruits’ natural sugar may cause irregular spikes in their glucose levels.

Luckily, the modern diabetes diet allows fruit consumption as part of a healthy and balanced meal plan. Fruits containing a low GI value can be more beneficial for people with diabetes, and grapes fall into this category.

According to research, grape intake can help reduce metabolic syndrome. This is because grapes have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which make this possible. But are grapes good for diabetes? Read on.

Are Grapes Good for Diabetes?

Grapes are a fantastic snack for people with diabetes because they might lower the body’s sugar levels. They are packed with fiber and have a lower glycemic index, which is a critical factor for diabetes. This means grapes are safe for people with diabetes when consumed in moderate quantities.

Grapes also contain polyphenols such as quercetin, anthocyanins, and catechins. These substances have been found to help lower hyperglycemia and may help people with type 2 diabetes.

The peels of grapes not only provide beneficial vitamins and minerals but are also rich in fiber. Fiber helps you feel full and satiated between meals, and it also helps enhance digestion and improve blood sugar control.

Resveratrol, an essential nutrient in grapes, is a compound that helps increase insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss. This means it increases your body’s ability to process glucose and lower sugar levels.

Although there’s enough research to show that grapes are safe to eat for people with diabetes, it’s essential to consume them in moderation and manage your portion sizes.

Grape Nutritional Value

100g of grapes provides 69 calories, 0.7g of protein, 18g of carbohydrates, and 0.2g of fat. Grapes are packed with vitamins C and K. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and strong bones, whereas copper is a crucial mineral in energy production. Here is the nutrient value of red or green grapes as provided by the USDA.

Calories/Nutrient (per 100g)Amount 
Calories (kcal)69
Carbohydrates (g)18
Protein (g)0.7
Fat (g)0.2
Fiber (g)1
Sugars (g)15
Sodium (mg)2
Vitamin C (mg)3.2
Vitamin K (mcg)14.6
Vitamin A (mcg)3

Additionally, grapes are a significant source of the B vitamins – thiamine, riboflavin, and B6. While B6 is mainly needed for protein metabolism, both thiamine and riboflavin are essential for growth and development. Grapes also have high potassium content, which can help lower blood pressure.

Grapes glycemic index

Grapes are low glycemic index fruits, and because of the high amounts of skin, they’re packed with fiber. They have a GI of 53 compared to 75 of brown bread. Foods with a GI below 55 in small portions are considered safer for everyone with or without diabetes.

Which Color Grapes Are Best for Diabetes?

All grape varieties, including green, red, and blue-purple, are healthy for people with diabetes. Red grapes, however, are thought to be better for diabetes. According to a recent study, red grapes are more effective than green grapes at enhancing the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.

Red grape varieties provide more antioxidants than white or green grape varieties. They are also readily available and widely distributed all year round. Green grapes are only available during their season and can be pricey at other times of the year.

Still new to the diabetes diet? You can download apps like the Klinio app that can help calculate the GI and carb count of foods you plan to eat and give you recipes that have pre-calculated calories, macronutrients, and portion sizes. With patience and practice, you can develop a meal plan effortlessly, providing nutrition without spiking your sugar levels.

4 Health Benefits of Grapes: How Can They Help Manage Diabetes?

Grapes are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also contain a lot of water, which can help you stay hydrated. Grapes can offer protection against cancer, improve cognitive function, and help lower blood pressure. Here are more health benefits of eating grapes.

#1 Help relieve indigestion

The fiber found in grapes is known to increase the bulk of your stool and help food to pass smoothly through the digestive system. It’s also considered a light food, which is easy on the stomach. Grapes are also rich in insoluble fiber, which can help clean the system. 

The laxative properties of grapes gotten from sugar, organic acid, and cellulose, make grapes very effective in eliminating constipation.

Grapes may also help cure chronic constipation by toning up the stomach and the intestinal muscles. 

#2 Source of antioxidants

Since grapes are rich in antioxidants, they are the best bet when it comes to controlling oxidative stress and avoiding the occurrence of oxidative damage, thereby reducing the risks of health issues and chronic diseases.

Flavonoids in grapes and other fruits have high antioxidant properties that help reduce oxidative stress.

The concentration of antioxidants is found in the skin and seeds of grapes. And that’s why most research on grapes has been done on their skin and seed.

Red grapes contain more antioxidants due to anthocyanins that give them color.

#3 Reduce leg swelling

Grapes contain a mix of antioxidants, including flavonoids and resveratrol, which have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Flavonoids found in grape seed extracts have been shown to reduce leg swelling and other chronic venous insufficiency symptoms. However, there is limited evidence to support this usage.

#4 Might help lower blood cholesterol

Grapes contain compounds that may protect against high cholesterol by reducing cholesterol absorption. Additionally, diets high in resveratrol, such as the Mediterranean diet, have also been shown to decrease cholesterol levels.

Grapes have also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels in people with diabetes. This is because they contain phytochemicals called polyphenols, which have been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in people with diabetes.

FAQs

Do grapes have sugar?

Grapes do have sugar, but it is in the form of glucose, the body’s preferred energy source. Grapes contain 15g of sugar per 100g. That’s approximately 10 red grapes.

Do grapes raise blood sugar levels?

Grapes are low glycemic fruits, making them less likely to spike blood sugar levels. However, they should be consumed in moderation to avoid adversely affecting blood glucose levels. Eating too many grapes can cause significant fluctuations in insulin levels throughout the day leading to swings in blood glucose levels.

Can you eat grapes if you have type 2 diabetes?

Yes, grapes have a low glycemic index and glycemic load (GL), and since people with diabetes are advised to consume a diet of low-GL foods, grapes can provide health benefits and help improve type 2 diabetes.

Grapes and other fruits are rich in numerous polyphenols, including resveratrol, flavonol, quercetin, catechins, and anthocyanins, that have shown the ability to reduce hyperglycemia.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Just like other whole fruits, grapes are a rich source of dietary fiber and contain copper, vitamin C, and vitamin A. This means it’s entirely safe for people with diabetes if consumed in moderation.

Although fruit juice has the same nutrients as grapes, it should be avoided by people with diabetes. This is because grape juice doesn’t have the dietary fiber that helps in slowing digestion, and this means it may spike blood sugar levels.

Also, most grape juices, jellies, or spreads bought from the stores have added sugars, which can be high in calories.

Since grapes are available all year round, choose fresh grapes that feel firm to the touch and are wrinkle-free. Rinse them before eating to enjoy their health benefits.

You can incorporate grapes into your diet by slicing them and adding them to pasta salad, making a fruit cocktail with sliced peaches, strawberries, fresh grapes, and pineapple. You can also eat grapes as a dessert or freeze them and eat them as snacks.

Conclusion

Whether you have diabetes or not, it’s vital to include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.

Grapes contain several essential nutrients and powerful plant compounds that benefit your health. Though they contain sugar, they have a low glycemic index and don’t appear to raise sugar levels.

Grapes contain antioxidants, such as resveratrol, that help reduce inflammation, protect against cancer, and lower blood pressure.

Having diabetes does not stop you from consuming grapes. Remember to check your sugar levels regularly and choose nutritious, low-glycemic foods.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
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.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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