Three types of grapes piled together


Can people with diabetes eat grapes? The simple answer is yes, but there are some important things to think about. Here are the details and suggestions from a professional diabetes educator. 


My first experience with grapes was during my early childhood, in the 1980s, at my grandmother’s house. While playing in her backyard one day, my grandmother walked up to my brothers and me and asked us if we wanted some grapes. I looked in her five-gallon white bucket and was overjoyed by a large amount of big green grapes. My brothers and I took turns grabbing a handful of my grandmother’s harvested grapes. The grapes were so juicy. It didn’t take me long to realize a way to savor each grape. I peeled back the skin of each grape with my teeth, ate the skin, and then the grape’s flesh. Back then, there was no mention of portion control. We ate as many grapes as our grandmother permitted us to eat. 

Many of us grew up when we didn’t know about portion control, sugar, and diabetes. I understand that there is a lot of hesitation among people with diabetes (PWD) to eat fruits, including grapes. Originally, there was more attention given to exercise and medicines for diabetes treatment. Many people diagnosed with diabetes have had to make adjustments in their eating childhood eating habits because we know portion control plays a significant role in blood sugar management and the prevention of a diabetes diagnosis. 

Grapes are either consumed as table fruit, raisins, or as wine. Although grapes, like other fruits, live under the umbrella of foods to avoid, grapes can be a part of a healthy meal plan. 

Can PWD Eat Grapes? 

Yes. You can. The biggest issue I have found is that many people eat way larger portions without considering serving size of grapes. I can see why because grapes are so good. But, we must remember that grapes have sugar in them. We must also remember that any food in excess has consequences. Grapes have sugars (fructose and glucose) in them which can raise blood sugar if not properly planned for. 

History of Grapes

Research reveals that grapes have been around since the beginning of civilization. Grapes are considered to be berries. Wine-making is still the most popular use of grapes. Next in production are raisins, as 800,000 tons are produced annually. Surprisingly enough, only 12% of the world’s production of grapes is eaten as whole fruit. On average, Americans eat approximately eight pounds of grapes per year 

Nutritional Facts For Grapes

One serving of grapes is 12-15 small grapes and 8-10 grapes medium-sized grapes. Grapes provide 62 grams of calories (energy), 0 mg of fat, 2mg of sodium, 16grams of carbohydrates, 175 mg of potassium, and 13mg of Calcium. Grapes contain glucose and fructose, and Vitamin A, which supports eye health. The glycemic index of grapes is in the low range, approximately 43-53. 

Resveratrol is a chemical compound found in grapes. Resveratrol has known health benefits, including reducing inflammation and protecting cellular function, structure, heart, nerve cells, and other health benefits 

The skin and the seeds of the grape provide much of the cell-protecting antioxidants and fiber. 

Grape Recipes

Grapes can be added to cakes, kabobs, preserves, salads (fruit and greens), tarts, and yogurt dips. You can freeze your grapes for approximately ten to twelve months to use them longer. My children love frozen grapes. 

One of my best places to locate diabetes-friendly recipes is The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (eatright.org). Here is a recipe for a fruity guacamole dip

Here are a few other recipes featuring grapes to consider:

Keto Chicken Grape Salad (Gluten-Free and Low-Carb)

Honey Pistachio Frozen Grapes (moderate-carb sweet treat)

Sugar-free Grape Jam

Remember, you can always check your blood sugar two hours after a meal or snack and see if it is in the guidelines set by your health care professional.

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