If you are searching for a diabetic-friendly snack that won’t cause your blood sugar to spike, you don’t have to look any further than your kitchen table or refrigerator. The idea that fruit is unsafe for diabetics is a misconception that several researchers and experts discard.
But how does dried fruit, specifically raisins, affect blood sugar? This article will examine the connection between raisins and blood sugar.
Raisins: An Overview
Raisins, or “Kishmish” as they are sometimes known, are dried grapes consumed worldwide. They are a great addition to baking, cooking, and brewing and provide various health benefits.
Research indicates the health-promoting elements included in raisins make them nutritional powerhouses.
Studies show that raisins are high in potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants and free from saturated fat and cholesterol. Furthermore, research suggests that raisins are an excellent source of dietary fibre.
What are the Different Varieties of Raisins?
Raisins are surprisingly full of nutrients, even though they are small. The drying process of grapes to make raisins is what makes them so nutrient-rich. They are packed with potassium, iron, and vitamin B and come in various colours, sizes, shapes, and flavours. You may not be aware of the many types of raisins available.
1. Green Raisins
Green grapes are transformed into green raisins, which retain the same texture, density, and tartness as their fresh counterparts. To ensure the raisins stay green, they are usually sun-dried in a shaded area with good air circulation. This process helps to retain their distinctive jade hue.
2. Black Raisins
These raisins are usually produced from seedless Thompson grapes and can be dried either by the sun or artificially. They change from brown to black as they dry, and when sun-dried, it takes around three weeks.
Zante currants, sometimes called “black currants”, are a type of dark raisin. They originated from an ancient grape variety traded out of the Corinth port in Greece. They are distinct from other kinds of currants, such as black, red, or white, and have a more sour flavour.
Thompson Seedless grapes, initially named for a Turkish green grape, are now used to create raisins worldwide. “Sultana” raisins are made from Thompson Seedless grapes and have a dark brown or reddish-amber hue. They are usually larger than black raisins and have a tangy flavour.
5. Golden Raisins
“Golden raisins” are typically dried using dehydrators with specific humidity and temperature levels, which helps them retain moisture and maintain a light colour. In addition, they are often treated with sulfur dioxide gas to prevent discolouration during the drying process. As a result, compared to black raisins, they have a more fruity and acidic flavour and less of a caramel or toffee taste.
6. Red Raisins
Red raisins, also known as flame raisins, are made from red-skinned, seedless grapes. These large raisins are a great snack option due to their sweetness, firmness, and high iron and dietary fibre content.
Raisins And Diabetes: Are Raisins Good for Diabetics?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects adults and children across the globe. Maintaining a balanced sugar and insulin level is essential for people with diabetes. Eating healthy foods with low sugar content is best to avoid high glucose levels. Unfortunately, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to devastating long-term health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness.
Raisins are known for their sweetness, with about 60% of their makeup being fructose and glucose. Therefore, many people think that raisins are an unhealthy snack. However, raisins contain a high amount of dietary fibre, ranging from 3.3 to 4.5 g per 100 g, which aids in the prebiotic action of the snack.
What Does Research Say?
Raisins possess remarkable antioxidant and antibacterial qualities, as demonstrated in both in-vitro and in-vivo experiments. The phenolic component concentration of raisins is mainly responsible for these activities. Research has revealed that some specific polyphenols, such as quercetin, procyanidins, and catechin, are accountable for raisins’ antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Eating foods high in antioxidants, mainly phenolic compounds like flavonoids, is essential to managing and preventing diabetes. Studies have found that flavonoids can help prevent type 2 diabetes (T2DM) by preventing the development of insulin resistance and protecting cells by reducing oxidative stress damage. Additionally, research indicates that raisins may benefit cardiovascular health.
Anthocyanins have also been investigated for their potential anti-diabetic effects, including reduced blood lipids and haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), enhanced insulin secretion, and reduced insulin resistance.
Raisins are a healthful choice for those with diabetes or insulin resistance, as they have a medium GI, which falls within the low (55), medium (55-69), and high (> 70) GI categories. The Glycemic index (GI) describes the blood glucose response after the ingestion of carbohydrate-containing food.
The HealthifyMe Note
Eating raisins in moderation can be a part of a healthy strategy for diabetes prevention. However, people with diabetes need to pay attention to their overall intake of carbohydrates, including natural sugars, as they can affect blood sugar levels. It is best for people with diabetes to work with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that fits their needs.
Is Raisin Water Good for Diabetics?
Raisin water is made by soaking raisins in water for a while and then straining the liquid. Although some believe it has health benefits, such as helping to manage diabetes, there is limited scientific evidence to back up these claims.
Raisins contain natural sugars, like glucose and fructose, which may bring potential health benefits. However, people with diabetes should still consume raisin water in moderation. High amounts of sugar can cause an increase in blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for those with diabetes.
People with diabetes need to keep track of their blood sugar levels and eat a healthy and balanced diet with limited added sugars. Furthermore, they should consult a certified nutritionist to understand the impact of raisin water on their sugar levels.
Experts advise soaking 15-20 raisins overnight and eating them the following day to reap the benefits of magnesium and potassium, which are abundant in raisins. Doing this regularly helps flush the body’s toxins, maintain good kidney function, and aid in weight loss.
How to Include Raisins in Your Diet?
You can consume raisins in moderation to stay healthy, only on the recommendations of a registered nutritionist. It is especially true for people with diabetes. You can include a few raisins in your meals to enjoy the advantages. You can add raisins in:
Regarding diabetes, it’s essential to remember that balance is vital. For example, eating raisins can provide substantial health benefits, but consuming them in moderation is necessary. If you want to discuss your diet and diabetes with a professional, talking to your doctor or healthcare provider is always a good idea.
To take charge of your diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels in check, HealthifyPro is an excellent technological solution. It offers real-time personalised coaching, tracks blood sugar minute-by-minute, and counts calories.
The new HealthifyPro 2.0 includes a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), which allows users to track their blood sugar levels at any time. With its accurate readings, the CGM records spikes in blood sugar levels related to food consumption. Managing normal blood sugar levels is essential in avoiding severe health issues, including heart disease, vision loss, and renal illness, in the long term.
The Research Sources
1. Schuster, Margaret & Wang, Xinyue & Hawkins, Tiffany & Painter, James. (2017). A Comprehensive Review of Raisins and Raisin components and their relationship to human health. Journal of Nutrition and Health. 50. 203. 10.4163/jnh.2017.50.3.203.
2. Parker TL, Wang XH, Pazmiño J, Engeseth NJ. Antioxidant capacity and phenolic content of grapes, sun-dried raisins, and golden raisins and their effect on ex vivo serum antioxidant capacity. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 17;55(21):8472-7. doi: 10.1021/jf071468p. Epub 2007 Sep 20. PMID: 17880162.
3. Bell, Stacey. (2011). A Review of Dietary Fiber and Health: Focus on Raisins. Journal of medicinal food. 14. 10.1089/jmf.2010.0215.
4. Williamson G, Carughi A. Polyphenol content and health benefits of raisins. Nutr Res. 2010 Aug;30(8):511-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.07.005. PMID: 20851304.
5. Olmo-Cunillera A, Escobar-Avello D, Pérez AJ, Marhuenda-Muñoz M, Lamuela-Raventós RM, Vallverdú-Queralt A. Is Eating Raisins Healthy? Nutrients. 2019 Dec 24;12(1):54. doi: 10.3390/nu12010054. PMID: 31878160; PMCID: PMC7019280.
6. Anderson JW, Waters AR. Raisin consumption by humans affects glycemia and insulinemia, and cardiovascular risk factors. J Food Sci. 2013 Jun;78 Suppl 1:A11-7. Doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12071. PMID: 23789931.
7. Belwal T, Nabavi SF, Nabavi SM, Habtemariam S. Dietary Anthocyanins and Insulin Resistance: When Food Becomes a Medicine. Nutrients. 2017 Oct 12;9(10):1111. doi: 10.3390/nu9101111. PMID: 29023424; PMCID: PMC5691727.