Have you ever considered eating grapes for weight loss? These fruits can satisfy your sweet tooth and help you cut calories while increasing fat burning. Enjoy them as a snack between meals, toss them over homemade desserts or add them to baked goods for extra flavor. Rich in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, grapes are a powerhouse of nutrition and can make clean eating easier.
Grapes are rich in resveratrol and other phytochemicals that suppress the formation of new fat cells, stimulate fat breakdown and induce fat cell death. However, you still need to consume them in moderation because of their high sugar content.
Replace your daily snacks with grapes to reap the benefits. These fruits are naturally sweet and can satisfy your cravings for sugary foods.
Nutrients in Grapes
These naturally sweet fruits are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and phytochemicals. Several varieties exist, and each has a different nutritional value. According to a review published in Plos One in March 2016, most grape varieties boast large doses of flavonoids, flavanols, phenolic compounds and anthocyanins. These antioxidants neutralize oxidative damage and promote optimal health.
Meili grapes, for example, are rich in gallic acid, p-coumaric acid, vanillic acid, resveratrol, catechins, quercetin, and kaempferol. Their skin contains salicylic acid, an anti-inflammatory compound from which acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin, is made.
Another research paper, posted in Plos One in August 2014, states that wine grapes and dark-colored grapes are higher in antioxidants than yellow grapes and table grapes. The highest flavonoid levels were found in Royalty grapes. The phytochemicals in these fruits may inhibit tumor growth and stop cancer cells from spreading. Furthermore, they protect against chronic diseases and free radical damage.
Calories in Grapes
If you're on a diet, though, you might be concerned about the sugar and calories in grapes. These fruits contain more sugar than apples or berries, but they are still a healthier choice than cookies or ice cream. Their nutritional value differs from one variety to another. Red seedless grapes, for instance, provide the following nutrients per serving (one cup), according to the USDA:
- 90 calories
- 24 grams of carbs
- 0.9 grams of fat
- 0.9 grams of protein
- 1 gram of fiber
- 23 grams of sugar
- 19 milligrams of calcium
- 15 milligrams of vitamin C
- 99 IU (international units) of vitamin A
According to the National Institutes of Health, the daily recommended allowance for vitamin C is 85 milligrams for adult women and 90 milligrams for adult men. One serving of red seedless grapes delivers 5 to 6 percent of the daily recommended vitamin C intake. This nutrient promotes wound healing, fights oxidative stress and supports collagen synthesis. It also plays a key role in immune function, iron absorption and mental health.
Red or green grapes have 87 calories, 22.8 grams of carbs, 19.5 grams of sugars and 1.1 grams of fiber. They also provide moderate doses of vitamin C, vitamin K, zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium.
A small apple, by comparison, has 84 calories, 19.6 grams of carbs, 13 grams of sugar and 4 grams of fiber. Although it contains less sugar than grapes, it has a similar caloric value. Bananas, on the other hand, boast 112 calories, 28.7 grams of carbs, 15.4 grams of sugar and 3.3 grams of fiber per serving.
Grapes and Weight Loss
As you see, the calories in grapes are not a reason for concern. In fact, some studies suggest that grapes may facilitate weight loss and offset the harmful effects of obesity.
A research paper featured in the August 2015 edition of Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism indicates that resveratrol, one of the most abundant antioxidants in grapes, may prevent obesity. According to the researchers, this polyphenol inhibits adipogenesis — the formation of new adipocytes, or fat cells. At the same time, it suppresses lipogenesis, the process by which your body converts carbs into fat.
Furthermore, resveratrol increases the oxidation of fatty acids and stimulates lipolysis aka fat breakdown. But, that's not all.
This phenolic compound also exhibits thermogenic properties, raising energy expenditure. Basically, it elevates your body's core temperature, which in turn, allows you to burn more calories throughout the day.
Another notable fact about this compound is that it induces apoptosis in fat cells. In other words, it causes fat cell death, leading to a reduction in adipose tissue. However, this effect is observed only at large doses of resveratrol, so eating grapes alone is unlikely to make any difference.
The Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism review points out that combining this compound with quercetin enhances its anti-obesity effects. Grapes contain both resveratrol and quercetin, so they may help you lose weight.
These fruits may also benefit people with metabolic syndrome — a major side effect of obesity. According to a January 2016 review published in Phytotherapy Research, grapes — especially their seeds — may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome due to their high antioxidant levels. The polyphenols in these fruits have been shown to protect against hypertension, elevated blood sugar, increased cholesterol levels and other risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
Grape seed extracts may also protect against DNA damage and inflammation, as reported in a September 2014 review in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Again, their beneficial effects are due to their high levels of phytochemicals. The antioxidants in grape seeds also possess neuroprotective activities and may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, as well.
Is Grapeseed Oil Healthy?
Now that you know more about the benefits of grapes for weight loss, you may wonder whether or not grapeseed oil is healthy. As its name suggests, this product is made from the seeds of grapes. It's an excellent source of vitamins, polyphenols and fatty acids that support overall health.
According to a review posted in Nutrition and Metabolic Insights in August 2016, grapeseed oil exhibits antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also promotes cardiovascular health and may protect against cancer. Its composition and nutritional profile depend on the grapevine variety and other factors.
As the researchers point out, this functional food contains more vitamin E than olive oil and soybean oil. Due to its high antioxidant levels, it fights inflammation and may induce colon cancer cell death.
Like most oils, grapeseed oil is high in calories. One tablespoon boasts 120 calories and 13.6 grams of fat. Despite its health benefits, it may cause weight gain when used in large amounts. If you consume four tablespoons per day, that's an extra 480 calories.
To reap its benefits, sprinkle it over salad or add small amounts of grapeseed oil to cooked meals. If you're on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, you may use it in larger amounts as long as it fits into your calorie goals. Both grapes and grapeseed oil have their place in a balanced diet, so go ahead and add them to your shopping list!
- Plos One: "Influence of Berry Heterogeneity on Phenolics and Antioxidant Activity of Grapes and Wines: A Primary Study of the New Winegrape Cultivar Meili (Vitis vinifera L.)"
- Plos One: "Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activities of Twenty-Four Vitis Vinifera Grapes"
- USDA: "Red Seedless Grapes"
- NIH: "Vitamin C"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Red or Green Grapes"
- USDA: "Apples, Raw, Granny Smith, With Skin"
- USDA: "Raw Bananas"
- Taylor & Francis Online - Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism: "Prevention of Obesity by Dietary Resveratrol: How Strong Is the Evidence?"
- Diapedia: "Lipolysis and Lipogenesis"
- ASBMB.org: "Adipose Tissue de Novo Lipogenesis"
- NCBI: "Adipogenesis"
- Wiley Online Library: "Grapes (Vitis Vinifera) as a Potential Candidate for the Therapy of the Metabolic Syndrome"
- NCBI: "Natural Bioactive Compounds From Winery By-Products as Health Promoters: A Review"
- NCBI: "Grape Seed Oil Compounds: Biological and Chemical Actions for Health"
- USDA: "Grapeseed Oil"