Raisins and Diabetes
A raisin is a kind of dried fruit typically made by sun-drying seedless grapes. It is typically consumed raw or as part of a recipe.
If you're concerned about consuming raisins as a diabetic, you may be worried about the fact that it is a fruit, meaning it contains sugar.
More specifically, it is a kind of dried fruit, and dried fruits are known to contain more sugar than fresh fruits.
The good news is that you can consume raisins if you have diabetes, as long as you do so moderately to ensure blood sugar control and prevent weight gain.
Interestingly, evidence suggests that raisins are better than other carb-heavy alternatives such as white bread because they don't affect a person's blood sugar and insulin levels as intensely.
Moreover, raisins contain many health-promoting nutrients that can positively affect various aspects of your health. Some benefits include lower blood pressure, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (and other cardiovascular risk factors), and improved digestive health.
Let's get started.
- Protein 3.3 g
- Carbohydrate 79.32 g
- Fat 0.25 g
- Fiber 4.5 g
- Sugar 65.18 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Raisins Nutritional Information per a Quarter Cup
Protein: 1 gram
Fat: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 29 grams
Of which fibers: 1 gram
Of which Sugars: 21 grams
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Raisins Glycemic Index
The glycemic index of raisins is about 66, which is considered a medium glycemic index.
Can Diabetics Eat Raisins?
Raisins are relatively high in carbs and sugar compared to other foods. They also have a medium glycemic index, which might be concerning because diabetics are usually told to opt for foods that have a low glycemic index.
Another issue is that raisins are a kind of dried fruit. Dried fruits have less water content than fresh fruits and carry more calories per weight than fresh fruits. As such, they can raise blood sugar levels and lead to weight gain.
Yet ultimately, diabetics can eat raisins, as long as they do so in moderation.
Since raisins are typically consumed in low quantities - usually as an addition to recipes such as salads - moderation shouldn't be a problem. Moreover, there are ways to mitigate the glycemic impact of raisins, as we'll discuss later.
It's also worth noting that there's evidence that raisins can help lower blood glucose. We'll discuss this in the next section, where we'll cover the health benefits of raisins.
Health Benefits of Raisins
Let's go over some of the health benefits of eating raisins.
May Help With Glycemic Control
In a study, participants were given three kinds of meals on four occasions over a 2 to 8-week period.
The first meal was white bread containing 50 grams of carbohydrates, the second meal was raisins containing 50 grams of carbohydrates, and the third meal was a smaller portion of raisins containing 20 grams of carbohydrates.
Results showed that the raisin meals resulted in a significantly lower glycemic response and insulin response than the white bread. These results led researchers to conclude that raisins seem to have a positive effect on blood sugar compared to other high-carbohydrate foods.
Another study compared the effects of raisin meals to alternative processed snacks. The results showed that participants who consumed raisins experienced a 23% reduction in postprandial glucose levels.
Another interesting result, although not deemed statistically significant, was that fasting glucose was reduced by 19% and hemoglobin A1c was reduced by 0.12%.
Reduced Blood Pressure
The study mentioned above also showed that participants who consumed raisins had an 8.7 mmHg reduction in blood pressure.
Another study performed over 12 weeks showed that participants who consumed raisins three times per day displayed a reduction in systolic blood pressure at 4, 8, and 12 weeks.
Improves Digestive Health
Raisin consumption is associated with improved digestive health because they contain a good amount of soluble fiber, which is known to aid digestion and mitigate gut problems.
They also contain tartaric acid, which has been associated with improved intestinal function and regulation of gut bacteria. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Improves Heart Health
Since raisins reduce blood pressure and blood sugar, they're a good addition to a heart-healthy diet.
Moreover, raisins are high in potassium. Potassium is known to be great for enhancing heart health because low levels of potassium are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
If your diet is high in sodium, potassium can also help you counteract its bad effects because it lessens the effects of sodium.
Additionally, raisins are high in iron and vitamin C. These nutrients, when combined, improve cardiovascular health by helping with blood flow.
High in Antioxidants
Compared to other dried fruits, raisins are considered to be an antioxidant-packed food. Moreover, the drying process enhances the activity of these antioxidants, allowing for a more impactful effect.
Consuming antioxidants offers a wide range of health benefits. It can lower oxidative stress and reduce the risk of various diseases, including cancer and osteoporosis. They also reduce the risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (which is the most common cause of vision loss in the elderly) by up to 25%.
Moreover, raisins contain oleanolic and linoleic acid, two kinds of antioxidants that can improve oral health due to antibacterial properties. They can prevent the formation of plaque and reduce the chances of cavity formation by maintaining healthy oral PH levels.
High in Calcium
Calcium is associated with improved bone health. It also enhances muscle function, making them a healthy pre-workout snack.
Tips for Eating Raisins
If you want to consume raisins, here are some tips for avoiding diabetes complications when doing so:
The key to enjoying raisins when you have diabetes is to keep your consumption moderate. A good serving size is two tablespoons of raisins, which contain around 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Eat Raisins Before Working Out
Raisins are a great pre-workout carb serving.
For starters, they contain natural sugar, which is a quick-acting source of energy. Moreover, the high levels of potassium and moderate levels of magnesium in raisins can help prevent muscle cramps.
Moreover, raisins contain copper and vitamin C, which aid in the formation of collagen, which is healthy for muscles. This can help in the prevention of injuries and pain.
Finally, it is well-known that sugar can lead to weight gain. By burning off sugar during workouts, you can sustain weight management and even lose weight.
Pair With Healthy Foods
Pairing raisins with healthy foods offers two benefits: it can help you lose weight and also minimize the blood sugar effect of the meal.
The best foods to pair raisins with are proteins and healthy fats. These kinds of foods slow digestion, making the meal's glycemic impact less pronounced. They can also decrease appetite.
Another great way to make a meal with raisins healthier is by pairing it with fiber-rich foods or a fiber supplement. Dietary fiber is known to enhance satiety, which will help you prevent overeating. It also slows down digestion, further minimizing the blood sugar spike.
Here are some fiber-rich foods to pair with raisins:
Seeds and nuts
Ultimately, raisins have a high nutritional value and are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth compared to other highly processed foods. They can be consumed by diabetics if portion management and other practices are taken into consideration to ensure glycemic control.
If you need help in tracking your food consumption, check out the Klinio app. It allows you to manage portion control and many other aspects that can improve your health.
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