Raisin Your Nutrition

– A blog about the energy benefits of raisins –

Diabetes_blog

Trying to Lower Blood Sugar Levels? Raisins May Help

November 12, 2015 by

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Here, Dr. Suzanne Nelson explains how raisins can still be enjoyed by diabetics because they are a low glycemic index food—they don’t cause sharp spikes to blood glucose.

 

RAISINS AND DIABETES

Recently, while answering consumer-related health questions at a Sun-Maid exhibit booth, I was approached by a middle-aged woman. She said “I’m so disappointed, I love Sun-Maid raisins but I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and can’t eat them anymore because they’re high in sugar.” I quickly responded, ” I’ve got great news for you! Let me explain.”

 

The reality is that including raisins in your diet is completely acceptable even when you’re trying to control your blood sugar levels. The key is to balance your intake of carbohydrates with fat and protein to prevent major blood glucose fluctuations.

 

If you’re following a carbohydrate exchange meal plan to help control your diabetes, 2 tablespoons of raisins count as a single carbohydrate exchange, or approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates. You can use one serving of raisins in place of any other carbohydrate source in a given meal, such as a 15-gram serving of grains, starch or dairy. Note: Always check food labels – unlike Sun-Maid, some manufacturers add sugar to raisins.

 

Another important tool for diabetics to use is the glycemic index, which is a measure of how your blood sugar may respond to different foods. Certain types of foods have a low glycemic index, meaning that they do not cause sharp spikes in blood glucose levels. Raisins help contribute to blood glucose control because they have a relatively low glycemic index compared to other food and they also contain fiber and antioxidants.

 

THE PROOF IS IN THE RAISIN PUDDING

Researchers studied 46 adults who had slight increases in glucose levels but no previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. They were divided into two groups: The first group was instructed to snack on raisins three times per day for 12 weeks, while the second group ate snacks that did not contain raisins or other fruits or vegetables.

 

The findings were very interesting. Researchers found that snacking on raisins reduced blood glucose levels by 16% compared to the control group. This favorable glucose effect of raisins was further supported by a significant reduction in hemoglobin A1c (a standard blood test for overall blood sugar control in diabetes mellitus) in the first group that ate raisins. By reducing blood sugar and maintaining normal hemoglobin A1c levels diabetics can help prevent long-term damage to their heart and circulatory system.

 

WHY THIS MATTERS

Diabetes is a chronic condition that is characterized by high levels of blood sugar (glucose). When we eat carbohydrates, our digestive system breaks them down into sugar—also known as glucose. The glucose gets absorbed into the blood stream. The bloodstream delivers glucose to the cells in the body. In non-diabetic individuals, the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which is the “key” that opens cell “doors”, and allows glucose to travel from the bloodstream into the cells. In this way, blood glucose levels are regulated.

 

However, with diabetes this scenario changes. There are two types of diabetes: in the first type (type 1 diabetes), the pancreas can’t produce insulin. Without insulin, the cell “doors” are locked and glucose cannot get in. In the second type (type 2 diabetes), the lock on the “door” is broken (that’s called insulin resistance) and won’t respond to the insulin “keys”. So the glucose stays in the blood stream.

 

Approximately 85-90% of people with diabetes are type 2 diabetics. Nearly 1 in 10 Americans has type 2 diabetes. It’s often referred to as a ‘lifestyle disease’ because the main factors that lead to the onset of this condition are overweight, obesity, and a lack of physical activity. Unlike type 1 diabetes, the onset of type 2 diabetes can actually be delayed, or even prevented by adopting a regular exercise routine and making necessary dietary changes. If indicated, medications may also be used to lower blood glucose levels.

 

TAKE ACTION!

Managing diabetes takes patience and some fine-tuning but the health benefits are well worth the time and dedication.

 

  • Regular exercise by itself can cut diabetes risk. Choose activities that you enjoy and do them every day.

 

  • Working towards a healthy weight is the best thing you can do to lower your risk of diabetes. Along with being active, eating smaller portions of healthy foods is key.

 

  • Choose healthy fats. A diet rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Canola oil and olive oil are great choices, as are the fats in avocados, nuts, and seeds.

 

  • Include high quality protein from lean meats and poultry and vegetables sources along with heart-healthy fats from omega-3 rich fish like salmon.

 

  • Reduce refined carbs from processed foods and sweetened beverages. White bread, white rice, white pasta and sugary soft drinks, fruit punch and fruit juice. Focus on eating controlled amounts of carbohydrate for meals and snacks from a variety of vegetables, fresh fruit, dried fruit (without added sugar) and whole grains.

 

TIPS TO UP YOUR RAISIN INTAKE

  • Add raisins to your favorite bowl of whole grain cereal
  • Mix raisins and nuts into oatmeal
  • Sprinkle raisins on salads
  • Add raisins to non-fat or low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Prepare snack sized (2T) baggies for when you’re on the go
  • Make your own trail mix with favorite nuts and Sun-Maid raisins
  • Mix raisins into your favorite grain dishes for a subtle hint of sweetness
  • Try whole-grain raisin bagels with peanut butter and raisins
  • Sautee raisins with your favorite veggies

 

Reference:

Bays H, Weiter K, Anderson J. A randomized study of raisins versus alternative snacks on glycemic control and other cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The Physician and Sportsmedicine (2015), 43(1):37-43.

  1. Dan says:

    In this whole article one searches in vain for the raisin G I number: which is 64 in most online lists. This is not ‘low’ — it is medium. Under 50 is low. Since this is a raisin producer’s site I am not surprised (tho disappointed) to find disinformation. I eat raisins a lot, especially for their high potassium content and versatility… no washing or cooking needed. I was on this site because I was trying to find the GI number for Sun Maid Raisin Bread. Do you have it? Thanks :)
    .

  2. Your Weight And Diabetes

    Our work has shown that sort 2 diabetes isn’t inevitably progressive and life-lengthy.
    The data on Health24 is for academic purposes solely, and is not supposed as medical advice, prognosis or
    treatment. The healthy male body only converts round
    8% of the ALA out there to EPA. For many individuals, the LCHF food regimen concerned brings many advantages along with attaining normal
    blood sugars.

    Professor Taylor’s research show that drastic weight-reduction plan causes the body to enter hunger mode and
    burn fat shops for energy – and the fat across the organs appears to be focused first.
    “I feel very lucky and privileged to have discovered your e book on the web just a few months in the past and read it with great interest in a couple of days.

    Medical literature is chock-full of studies proving the prevalence of eating regimen and way of life strategies over drug therapy. She is now 22kg lighter and now not on diabetes remedy, having ‘cured’ herself by way of good old school diet and exercise. With conventional medicine, Diabetes shall be a lifelong condition.

    I had learn three years again some the place on web that gangrene will be cured solely by giving sugar. Industrial Trans fats is after all also a total catastrophe for everybody, whereas ruminant trans fat similar to in meat and dairy is perhaps only barely worse than sat fat.

    Yet we continue to pay $174 billion annually for this sort of care for diabetes, regardless of clear proof that life-style works better than medications. I dont believe meals brought about my diabetes at 6yr old type 2. (Symptoms then). And diabetes is the seventh leading explanation for death in the United States, causing, a minimum of in part, over 250,000 deaths in 2015.
    full cure diabetes

  3. Nabil malek says:

    Raisin and diabetes information

  4. Sekharmohanarangam says:

    Good tips for me and diabetes

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Trying to Lower Blood Sugar Levels? Raisins May Help"
  1. […] Trying to <b>Lower Blood Sugar</b> Levels? Raisins May Help | Sun-Maid […]

Leave a Reply to cure diabetes permanently type 2 Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About The Author
SUZANNE NELSON, ScD, RDN
Suzanne Nelson

Dr. Nelson recently joined the staff of Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania as a nutrition and wellness advisor and sports nutritionist. Previously, she was the Director of Sports Performance Nutrition in the athletic department at the University of California, Berkeley. While in California, she was the team nutritionist for the San Francisco 49ers and provided nutrition consultation to the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. In addition, Dr. Nelson has advised elite amateur athletes at the national, world, and Olympic level. She is a nationally known speaker in sports nutrition and is the author/editor of several books and numerous scientific journal articles. Dr. Nelson is the Nutrition and Health Advisor for Sun-Maid.

Visit Sun-Maid's profile on Pinterest.