Whether you eat them alone, in a salad, or sprinkled over oatmeal, raisins are delicious and a nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Yet, you may wonder whether eating raisins, also known as dried grapes, is OK if you have diabetes.

There are many misconceptions about what people with diabetes can and cannot eat. And one misconception is that foods containing sugar — including fruit — are completely off-limits.

But the truth is, people living with diabetes can have raisins and many other fruits.

In fact, fruits are a great choice because they contain plenty of:

People living with diabetes, or anyone for that matter, might benefit from eating a balanced diet, including fruit, in moderation. Still, it’s important to understand how raisins affect glycemic management.

The bottom line is yes. You can eat raisins if you have diabetes. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should consume whole boxes of raisins whenever you want.

Raisins are a fruit, and like other types of fruit, they include natural sugar. So, while raisins are safe to eat, moderation is key to preventing a spike in blood sugar.

Keep in mind that fruit, although it’s healthy, contains carbohydrates. Even if you’re having fruit as a snack, you may want to count it as part of your meal to ensure you eat a suitable amount of carbohydrates for your diet.

Typically, 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of raisins contain about 15 grams (g) of carbohydrates.

Like other fruits, raisins are low in calories and have high nutritional value.

For example, 1/4 cup of raisins contains only about 123 calories. It also includes 2 g of dietary fiber, 25 milligrams (mg) of calcium, and 307 mg of potassium.

Fiber can help you feel full for longer. It also contributes to digestive health.

Calcium helps your body maintain and build strong bones. Potassium protects your nervous system and muscle strength. It also helps manage water balance.

Can they help regulate blood sugar?

Eating raisins may also help regulate glucose after meals.

In one small study, researchers evaluated 10 healthy people — seven males and three females — to see how raisins and other dried fruits affected blood sugar levels after a meal.

All participants ate three meals with white bread and 12 meals with dried fruits, randomly. These dried fruits included dates, apricots, raisins, and sultanas.

Researchers found that raisins significantly reduced blood sugar levels after eating when compared to white bread alone.

This suggests that consuming raisins could potentially help in managing glycemic response, particularly in comparison to consuming foods with higher glycemic indexes.

It’s also important to understand where raisins fall on the glycemic index (GI).

The GI is a scale that ranks carbohydrates according to how quickly they raise blood sugar levels.

For people living with diabetes, consuming foods with a low or medium GI can help manage their blood sugar and ultimately help manage their diabetes.

Where do raisins fall on the scale?

It’s important to note that fruits typically have a low GI because they contain fiber and fructose. But some fruits, such as raisins, have a medium ranking.

This is by no means suggesting that you can’t consume raisins. But again, the key is eating them in moderation.

Keep in mind that other fruits also have a medium ranking, including:

  • sweetened cranberries
  • dates
  • melons
  • pineapples

If you decide to snack on raisins, you may wish to keep your portions small and only eat one serving at a time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a carb serving is 15 g. So you may only eat about 2 tablespoons of raisins at a time.

Since a small serving of raisins isn’t likely to fill you, consider eating grapes as part of a meal or as an in-between snack.

In fact, whole grapes might be more satisfying. Since the drying process concentrates the sugar in raisins, grapes have less sugar and a lower GI.

It’s important for everyone, especially people living with diabetes, to include fruit as part of a balanced diet.

Healthy eating contributes to your overall well-being, including helping you maintain a moderate weight. It can also help you maintain your energy level, making you feel good from the inside out.

A good eating plan includes appropriate portions of:

It’s also important to incorporate lean proteins into your diet, such as:

You may wish to limit your intake of sodium and added sugar. When shopping for canned fruits, fruit juices, and condiments, you can check the label to understand the added sugar content.

And while it’s OK to have the occasional sweet treat, you may limit how much candy, cakes, and cookies you eat since these can raise blood sugar. These can raise blood sugar and may affect your weight management.

Portion management is important to avoid consuming too many calories, which could lead to unintentional weight gain.

To help manage your portions:

  • purchase smaller plates for your house
  • make sure meals have protein, fiber, and healthy fats, as these foods are naturally filling
  • practice mindful eating, taking time to enjoy every bite

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and knowing what to eat is important for managing diabetes.

If you’re taking your diabetes medication but still having difficulty keeping your blood sugar in check, your diet might be the problem.

Diabetes that’s not properly managed can lead to many complications, including:

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to eat, talk with a healthcare professional. They can refer you to a diabetes dietitian or a certified diabetes educator who can help you create a diabetes meal plan.

Below are some commonly asked questions about what fruits you can eat when living with diabetes.

How many raisins can a person with diabetes eat daily?

Raisins are high in natural sugars and carbohydrates, so moderation is key to preventing spikes in your blood sugar levels.

The American Diabetes Association suggests being cautious about exceeding more than 2 tablespoons of raisins in one go.

What 2 fruits should a person with diabetes avoid?

If you have diabetes, there is no need to avoid specific fruits entirely. Fruits are nutritious, and you can enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.

That said, watermelon and pineapple are two fruits with a high sugar content. This may cause a spike in blood sugar levels.

Can a person with diabetes eat bananas?

Yes, a person with diabetes can eat bananas. Bananas are a healthy, nutrient-dense snack that you can enjoy as part of a balanced diet.

However, bananas are high in carbohydrates and sugar, which can raise your blood sugar. How much a banana will raise your blood pressure depends on its size, ripeness, and the foods you pair it with.

If you have uncontrolled diabetes, you can check with a health professional to see if bananas are safe for you to eat.

If you’re living with diabetes, well-meaning friends and family might say that you can’t eat raisins or other types of fruits.

However, fruits are a great source of fiber and contain other nutrients. Many fruits also have a low or medium GI, which means you can and need to include these foods as part of a nutritious, balanced diet.

The key to eating and enjoying raisins is not to eat too much. Managing your blood sugar is crucial to avoiding diabetes complications.

If you don’t know what to eat or need help making suitable food choices, speak with a healthcare professional, a dietitian, or a diabetes educator.