Is it a good choice to eat raisins if you have diabetes?

To know the answer to this question, first you should know what is the criteria for selecting the right type of food items for diabetics. Glycemic index is a good parameter for assessing if a particular food item will spike your blood sugar levels or not.

Glycemic index measures how carbohydrates in food items can increase your blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index will spike your blood sugar much faster in comparison to the foods with a low glycemic index.

White rice, pasta, white bread, pumpkin, pretzels, cheese, potato etc. are some of the items with a high glycemic index. Oat bran, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, muesli, lentils, beans, peas, carrots, non starchy veggies etc. are foods with a low glycemic index.

While eating foods with high glycemic index, keep the quantity of such items very small and eat it after long intervals.

Now we are ready to answer the question- should diabetics eat raisins or not?

Raisins have a low to medium level of glycemic index of 64. Most of the water content is dried up in raisins. Its natural sugar content is very dense and highly concentrated. Since the serving size of raisins is much smaller than the actual size of the whole fruit, it is much easier to consume raisins in a bigger quantity than the whole fruit.

One fourth cup of raisins equals half a cup of whole fruit, that is, grapes. So it is much easier to get carried away and snack on more raisins. This is likely to spike up your blood sugar levels drastically. This happens because although the glycemic index of raisins is low, if you consume them in higher quantities, your blood sugar goes up.

So, if you have diabetes, it is advised to eat raisins cautiously. It implies that you have to take good care of the portion size that you are consuming. Avoid going overboard while snacking on raisins. Eat them in small portions. Also avoid the variety of raisins that have added sugar content. 1.5 ounce of sugar free raisins is equivalent to 1.3 cups of grapes. This is as bad as consuming sugar directly.

If you are keen to have raisins here is an idea. Use the carbohydrate exchange method. Two tablespoons of raisins are equal to 15 grams of carbohydrates. So, give up another source of carbs and eat 2 tablespoons of raisins instead. This way the amount of carbs going into your blood stream will get balanced out. This method of course depends upon your current status of blood sugar readings. Avoid consuming raisins altogether if your blood sugar is high and your doctor has told you to manage your diet.

Use your discretion, assess your current blood sugar status and then make a choice. If you decide to go for them, limit the portion size.

Additional Reading:

What I Need to Know About Eating and Diabetes

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