Are Grapes Good for People with Diabetes?

Are Grapes Good for People with Diabetes?

Are Grapes Good for People with Diabetes?

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Key Takeaways

  • Grapes are a good fruit option for people with diabetes.
  • Consuming grapes is a healthy way to boost your antioxidant intake.
  • Grapes contain polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants known for reducing inflammation in heart disease and diabetes.

Despite what you may have heard, fruit is a beneficial part of a healthy eating pattern for everyone, including those with diabetes. Fruit, such as grapes, contain carbohydrates, which can elevate blood glucose levels. When carbohydrates are paired with other nutrients, such as fiber and protein, blood glucose absorption is delayed. People with diabetes need carbohydrates daily, just like any person, preferably from fiber-rich and nutrient-dense options. This helps to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit daily to prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Only 12% of Americans meet the recommended daily amounts for fruit. The American Diabetes Association encourages whole fruit daily to satisfy your sweet tooth in a nutritious way. 

Should I Eat Grapes If I Have Diabetes?

Grapes are a healthy fruit choice for people with diabetes. This little fruit provides an explosion of flavor and nutrients and can be eaten fresh or frozen. Grapes contain polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants known for reducing inflammation in heart disease and diabetes.

People diagnosed with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing heart disease and other comorbidities. Researchers have found that different polyphenols in grapes reduce heart disease. Similar eating patterns are recommended for individuals with heart disease and diabetes.

Nourish has a team of expertly trained Registered Dietitians that can teach you how to make nutrition choices that support multiple health conditions. Click here to book a virtual appointment! 

Grapes and Blood Sugar

There is limited research focused on the link between diabetes management and eating grapes. Current research reviews have described several ways that natural polyphenol intake reduces the risk of diabetes and stops its progression. Polyphenols protect the pancreas (which makes insulin), are anti-inflammatory, slow or prevent carbohydrate digestion, and improve insulin resistance.

Grape Juice and Dealcoholized Wine

Most research has been done on animals or with various grape products, including wine, grape juice, grape seed extract, or extracted resveratrol. Those conducted on humans are small but promising studies. Two studies found that drinking five to nine ounces of grape juice or dealcoholized wine for about a month significantly reduced insulin and glucose levels in patients with diabetes. 

Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract is high in anthocyanin, a flavonoid and a potent antioxidant. Berries and grapes are anthocyanin-rich. A higher intake of anthocyanin is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Inflammation and insulin resistance are precursors for type 2 diabetes and its complications. A small study on 32 people with diabetes in which half the participants were given grape seed extract for four weeks had reduced markers of inflammation and total cholesterol. 


A study on 62 people with type 2 diabetes monitored hemoglobin A1c and lipid levels. Extracted resveratrol was given daily over three months to half of the participants. The results revealed that those receiving the resveratrol had significantly improved hemoglobin A1c which measures glucose control as an average of the past three months. Of note, total cholesterol was also reduced. 

Research Summary:

  • Grapes contain polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants known for reducing inflammation in heart disease and diabetes.
  • Most research has been done on animals or using different forms of grapes like wine, grape juice, or nutrient extracts.
  • Current research points towards grapes being beneficial for diabetes; however, more human studies are needed before recommendations can be made. 

Whole Grapes vs. Grape Juice

The American Diabetes Association recommends limiting or avoiding juice to manage your diabetes well. Research on juice intake indicates no association between small portions (four ounces) of 100% juice and type 2 diabetes. 

However, large amounts of juice will cause your blood glucose levels to spike quickly. Juice has no fiber to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. Long-term high blood high glucose levels lead to diabetes complications as your body pumps thick, sugary blood through all your organs. Whole grapes are better than grape juice. 

One cup of 100% grape juice contains 40 g of carbohydrates and no fiber or protein. Avoid sugar-sweetened grape juice by checking the food label for any added sugars or labels that say “juice made from concentrate.” 

A cup of grapes provides 27g of carbohydrates, 1.4 g of fiber, and 1 g of protein. The whole fruit form will not raise your blood glucose levels as much as grape juice due to the fiber in the grapes and lower carbohydrate content. If you are trying to limit your carbohydrate intake to one serving (15 g), you can reduce the portion to one-half cup of grapes. 

Eating grapes with a protein source like cheese or nuts will further help to slow down carbohydrate absorption and contribute to steady glucose levels optimal for good type 2 diabetes management. 

Benefits of Grapes

There are multiple benefits of grapes, such as:


Grapes contain antioxidants in the skin, seed, and juice. The most prevalent antioxidants are phenolic acids, stilbenes, resveratrol, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins. Antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body, protect the heart, brain, liver, and prevent age-related mental decline. 

Helps control blood pressure

studies using grape seed extract have shown the ability to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure after four to 12 weeks of supplementation. Elevated blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and strokes. Even small reductions in blood pressure reduce the risk of complications.

Lower blood sugar

Studies referenced above involving grape juice, grape seed extract, and resveratrol have shown the ability to reduce insulin, glucose, inflammation, and hemoglobin A1c in people with diabetes.

Help reduce cholesterol

Specific polyphenols called resveratrol are known for lowering blood cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption. Many studies have shown that drinking between 4 and 6 ounces of grape juice significantly reduced total cholesterol, and bad cholesterol, and improved good cholesterol. 


Grapes contain many vitamins and minerals in small amounts, such as thiamin, riboflavin,  manganese, potassium, and vitamins B6, C, and E. Grapes are a rich source of vitamin K and copper. 

Other Fruits to Eat with Diabetes

Meeting 1.5 to 2 cups of daily fruit can be an enjoyable way to boost your fiber and nutrient intake. Choosing fruits high in fiber and antioxidants can help you to prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. 

Berries are an excellent source of anthocyanin, a good source of fiber, and contain many vitamins and minerals. Consider adding blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries to your weekly routine for their antioxidant levels, vitamin C, folate, and potassium. 

Another option recommended by the American Diabetes Association is citrus fruit. Citrus fruit includes grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons. These fruits also contain fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium. 

If you have more questions or concerns on how to include more fruits into your diet, consider booking a virtual appointment with a Nourish Registered Dietitian! 


Grapes are a good fruit choice for people with diabetes. Grapes contain many vitamins and minerals in small amounts, such as thiamin, riboflavin, manganese, potassium, and vitamins B6, C, and E. They are also rich sources of vitamin K and copper.

All fruit contains carbohydrates and fiber. People with diabetes should keep track of their carbohydrate-containing foods to ensure they are not eating too much. Pairing protein and healthy fat with fruit helps to provide sustained energy and further stabilize glucose levels. Whole grapes are preferred over grape juice due to the higher carbohydrate content of the juice. 

There is currently more research on grape juice and wine and their positive effects on heart disease, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. If you choose to drink grape juice, limit your intake to 4 ounces of 100% grape juice and include protein, fiber, and healthy fats with it to slow glucose absorption. Juice is higher in carbohydrates and can cause high blood sugar levels in larger portions. Whole grapes affect glucose levels to a lesser extent. 

Managing Diabetes with an RD

Grapes and other fruits can be part of a healthy meal plan for people with diabetes. Replacing sweets with fruits is a healthy swap in the management of diabetes.

Nourish has a team of expert dietitians available for online appointments. Every dietitian is covered by insurance, and many are specialized in diabetes. Book your first appointment today.

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