In the past, diabetics were advised to avoid fruit due to the sugar content, but modern diabetes diets allow fruit as a part of an overall healthy and balanced meal plan. Diabetics need to maintain strict control over blood sugar levels and try not to consume unhealthy foods that can lead to diabetes complications.
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A diabetes diet should focus on controlling diabetes symptoms as well as preventing complications common to the disease. For most diabetics, this means eating a high-fiber diet that is low in fat, especially saturated fat. Saturated fat can contribute to arterial plaques, a common complication for diabetics. Diabetics need to limit carbohydrates, especially sweet foods that raise blood sugar. Eating carbohydrates in moderation and along with something containing protein is a good way to keep blood sugar under control. In general, two to three handfuls of fruit a day should be fine for most diabetics and grapes can be included in this fruit allotment.
Red Grapes and Carbohydrates
For a diabetic, eating foods with a lot of carbohydrates can send blood sugar soaring. Fortunately, fiber, protein and fat can mitigate this response. In one method of diabetic dieting, the diabetic limits carbohydrates at each meal to a specific amount based on his own typical blood sugar responses and any medication and insulin he might be taking. According to the American Diabetes Association, most diabetics can start off with around 45 to 60 g of carbohydrates per meal and adjust as necessary. In 10 grapes, there are about 8.8 g of carbohydrates. About 0.4 g is fiber and 7.6 g is made up of sugars.
Glycemic Index and Grapes
Some diabetics use the glycemic index to decide what they should eat. The glycemic index indicates how fast and high blood sugar rises in response to a particular carbohydrate-containing food. The glycemic load takes into account how many carbohydrates are in a serving of each food as well as the glycemic index of that food. Grapes fall in the middle of the glycemic index chart and have a low glycemic load. This is because the water and fiber in a single serving of grapes modulate the blood glucose response.
A component in red grapes might actually help fight diabetes. Resveratrol, a phytochemical found in red grape skins, modulates the blood glucose response by affecting how the body secretes and uses insulin in animal models of diabetes, according to a June 2010 review in the "European Journal of Pharmacology." Resveratrol might also have an impact on weight, reducing obesity that can raise the risk of diabetic complications.While further research in humans is needed, the potential benefits of grapes and their overall healthy nutritional profile makes them a good choice for part of your daily carbohydrate allotment.
- NetDoctor; My Father Has Diabetes - Can He Eat Grapes?; Apr 2011
- "Journal of Nutrition"; Type 2 Diabetes and Glycemic Response to Grapes or Grape Products; S. Zunino; Sept 2009
- American Diabetes Association: Carbohydrate Counting
- "European Journal of Pharmacology"; Resveratrol, Obesity and Diabetes; K. Szkudelska, et al.; June 2010
- USDA: Nutrient Data Laboratory: Grapes, Red or Green, Raw