Carb Counts and Health Benefits of Raisins

Raisins
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Like all dried fruit, raisins are high in sugar simply because they are so concentrated. Think of the size of a grape, and then the size of the raisin it becomes when dried. It doesn't take many raisins for the sugar to add up fast. Most of the sugar in raisins is in the form of fructose.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts

  • 1/4 cup seedless raisins (packed): 31 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1.5 grams fiber and 123 calories.
  • 1 small box raisins (1 1/2 ounces): 32 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 129 calories
  • 1 miniature box raisins (1/2 ounce): 10 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber and 42 calories.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

While raisins are high in carbohydrate, their sugar is mostly fructose, which has a lower glycemic index. The glycemic index is a ranking of how much a food would raise blood sugar compared with pure glucose, which has a ranking of 100. The actual amount any food raises blood sugar has to do both with how glycemic it is and how much of you eat. The glycemic load attempts to combine these concepts, and some diets are using the glycemic load for this reason. Here are the values for raisins:

Glycemic Index:

  • One study of raisins showed an average glycemic index of 64. This would place raisins above the low GI range (0 to 55).
  • Two other studies found an average GI of 49. Sedentary people and those with prediabetes showed this lower response, while aerobically trained individuals showed a GI of 55. These values place raisins in the low to moderate glycemic index range.

    Glycemic Load: 

    • 1/4 cup seedless raisins (packed): 19
    • 1 small box raisins (1 1/2 ounces): 20
    • 1 miniature box raisins (1/2 ounce): 6
    • 60 grams: 10

    Health Benefits

    Although grapes lose some of their nutrients during the drying process, raisins are a good source of antioxidant chemicals, including polyphenols and phenolic acids.

    They are high in dietary fiber and prebiotics such as insulin. A small box of raisins provides 9 percent of your daily needs for potassium and has small amounts of iron, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and calcium. They are an inexpensive and shelf-stable way to include fruit and fiber in your diet.

    Low-Carb Raisin Recipes

    • Low-Carb Trail Mix RecipeSomething to keep in mind is that all trail mixes are high in calories because that is what they are meant for—a quick of burst of energy on a backpacking trip or after other physical activity. If you're going to keep this as an emergency snack in your purse or at your desk, bear in mind that a little goes a long way.
    • Low-Carb Broccoli Salad with Bacon RecipeHere is the same salty-sweet flavor combination of the classic cold broccoli salad without all the sugar, especially if you use currants in place of the raisins.

    Sources:

    Atkinson FS, Foster-Powell K, Brand-Miller JC. International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008. Diabetes Care. 2008;31(12):2281-2283. doi:10.2337/dc08-1239.

    Esfahani A, Lam J, Kendall CWC. Acute effects of raisin consumption on glucose and insulin responses in healthy individuals. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2014;3. doi:10.1017/jns.2013.33.

    USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, United States Department of Agriculture. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/.

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