Are Grapes Good For Weight Loss? Here’s The Truth 2022
Many people struggle with weight management, so if you are struggling with achieving a healthy body weight, know you are not alone. Body weight is influenced by numerous factors, including genetics and lifestyle. Although we can not change our genetics, we can make lifestyle modifications. Modifiable factors that can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight are regular physical activity, stress management, and maintaining a healthy eating pattern.
Many foods can be consumed that will help you achieve a healthy body weight. But, are grapes good for weight loss? Grapes are nutritious fruits packed full of nutrients that have been associated with numerous health benefits and can be incorporated into various dietary plans.
Can Eating Grapes Help You Lose Weight?
Grapes are a delicious fruit and are relatively low in calories and contain dietary fiber and plenty of nutrients. If you are trying to achieve a healthy body weight, then selecting a variety of nutrient-dense foods is key to your success.
Ultimately, weight loss is achieved through a reduction in the calories you consume and an increase in energy you expend through physical activity throughout the day. This means selecting nutrient-dense foods that are low in calories, such as grapes, can easily be incorporated into a healthy diet plan and help you towards a healthy weight.
In addition to grapes being an excellent addition to a healthy diet, they also contain an interesting component called resveratrol. Resveratrol is an antioxidant that has been associated with improving chronic conditions.
A 2018 meta-analysis, which included 36 studies, determined that taking a resveratrol supplement was associated with significantly reducing weight, BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass, while also being associated with increasing lean body mass. So, if you were thinking, do grapes cause weight gain, are grapes fattening, do grapes cause belly fat, or are grapes bad for weight loss fret not!
Resveratrol can be found in over 70 plant species; however, red grapes are a particularly rich source that may provide an extra boost toward weight loss efforts. To be clear, although red grapes are richer in resveratrol, green grapes are also good for weight loss as are red grapes.
In addition to resveratrol, there are other dietary supplements that have the potential to assist with weight loss. It is important to remember, however, that sustainable weight loss toward a healthy body weight is best achieved through lifestyle changes.
There are over 10,000 varieties of grapes worldwide. The most popular grape species is Vitis vinifera, outnumbering all other grape species by 90%. They come in variations of red, black, or white, and can be either seedless or non-seedless. But, are grapes good for you?
Grapes contain an abundant source of various phytochemicals, which are biologically active compounds found in plants; they include phenolic compounds, aromatic acids, flavonoids, proanthocyanins, and stilbenoids. These phytochemicals can be found in the roots, stems, canes, leaves, seeds, fruit, promance, and skins of grapes. Many studies have confirmed the health-promoting benefits of these bioactive compounds.
Within ½ cup of red grapes (85 g) there are the following nutritional values:
- Energy (calories): 60 kcal
- Protein: 1 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 15 g
- Fibre: 1 g
- Vitamin C: 9 mg
Ways To Eat Grapes To Lose Weight
One way to consume the beneficial nutrients packed into grapes is via grape juice; however, there are a few things to consider. If you do choose to drink grape juice, you should select a variety that is 100% fruit juice without added sugars, as per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.
However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans does note that while 100% fruit juice can be part of a healthy dietary pattern, it is lower in dietary fiber than consuming actual whole fruit. Further, the Canada Food Guide states that juice is a drink to limit, as it is not a healthy drink preference; rather, it advises individuals to make water their drink of choice and to consume whole fruits instead of juice for the fruits’ benefits.
Also, fruit juices can contain high amounts of sugar and do not provide as much satiety as the consumption of whole fruits. Consuming excess sugar can lead to excess calorie consumption, which can lead to becoming overweight and, further, to obesity; that in turn can increase the risk of related chronic illnesses. If trying to achieve healthy weight loss, you may want to consider limiting your grape juice consumption in exchange for just eating whole grapes.
Wine is another by-product of grapes. The potential for wine to provide health benefits has been a point of research and debate. A 2017 review discussed if wine consumption was associated with cardioprotective benefits.
A phenomenon called the French Paradox has been observed in France where the consumption of red wine was stipulated to be associated with a lower prevalence of ischemic heart disease, despite the typical French diet’s high saturated fat intake. It is thought that wine has this alleged cardioprotective effect due to its polyphenol content, although it must be noted that it is higher in red wine than in white wine.
To date, research has found no cause-and-effect relationship identified between wine consumption and cardiovascular health, but just an association. Further, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, the Canada Food Guide, and the American Heart Association state you should limit your alcohol intake, and consume alcohol only in moderation.
The best way to consume the health benefits associated with grapes is, again, just by eating whole grapes. Further, if trying to lose weight, alcohol may be a beverage you want to limit because it is calorically dense and its beneficiary nutrients are unconfirmed.
Incorporate Into Meals And Snacks
One of the best things about grapes is how easily they can be incorporated into meals and snacks along with other nutritious foods! Some meals and snack ideas you can try are
- Add grapes into hot cereals such as oatmeal
- Mix grapes into a yogurt parfait
- Add grapes into smoothies
- Add grapes into any green salad to add a burst of flavor and color
- Top chicken or fish with a grape salsa
- Make fruit salads and include grapes with other fruits
- Grab a handful of grapes and pair with some cheese and crackers to make a quick and filling snack
- Add grapes into trail mix
Other Health Benefits Of Grapes
In addition to being a great food to add into a healthy diet plan, there are many other health benefits associated with grapes.
Due to the high antioxidant content in grapes, there are indications that grapes are cancer-protective. Ongoing laboratory research is investigating the anti-cancer potential of the following components within grapes: resveratrol, anthocyanins, phenolic acids, flavonol and flavan-3-ols, and proanthocyanidins.
Cell culture studies assessing the effectiveness of resveratrol have demonstrated it can inhibit the development and progression of several cancers at all stages, including skin, colorectal, breast, prostate, liver, and lung cancer. There is also some evidence through animal studies that resveratrol can reduce inflammation, cancer development, and metastasis.
Cell and animal studies assessing phenolic acids have shown increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defense within cells. There is also some evidence from animal studies that phenolic acids can improve glucose metabolism, thus decreasing insulin resistance and lowering the risk of cancer. As with resveratrol, inhibition of cancer cell growth has been demonstrated in laboratory studies assessing anthocyanins, flavonols and flavan-3-ols, and proanthocyanidins.
Regarding human clinical trials, there is research that indicates people who eat more fruit have less risk of developing cancer. However, research specific to the components of grapes and associations with cancer development focus on resveratrol, and the results are still limited and can be difficult to interpret; thus, more research is needed.
A 2014 study listed grapes as a fruit that is beneficial to consume for the treatment of constipation. Grapes are rich in water and fiber, which are two components that can help alleviate and prevent constipation.
Both experimental studies and epidemiological studies summarized in a 2009 review indicate grapes have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. Through population-based studies, it has been suggested that the consumption of polyphenol compounds within grapes, including flavonols, flavones, flavan-3-ols, and anthocyanins, is associated with lower cardiovascular disease mortality.
While some observational studies did not find this effect on cardiovascular health, it is felt this is related to confounding factors such as socioeconomic status and other dietary components.
Further, a more recent 2017 review determined that polyphenols in grapes are cardioprotective through the following mechanisms: inhibition of platelet aggregation, decreased LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) oxidation, and reduction of oxidative stress.
Lastly, the American Heart Association’s healthy dietary patterns include the incorporation of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Therefore grapes can certainly be considered a food to include in any heart-healthy diet.
High Blood Pressure
In a 2021 review that assessed both preclinical and clinical trials determined that whole grapes and grape derivatives had blood pressure-lowering potential. The potential mechanisms that result in a reduction of high blood pressure include reducing vasoconstriction (less blood flow), increasing vasodilation (more blood flow), and a reduction of oxidation stress and inflammation. Further research is needed to identify the full extent of the influence grape consumption has on high blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
Overall, grapes are a delicious fruit that can be part of a healthy diet and can help individuals reach their goal of losing weight in a healthy way. Remember, everybody is different and all of our needs are unique.
Achieving a healthy body weight can be challenging for many people, so remember to be kind to yourself on your health journey and remember that you are more than a number on a scale. If you are overweight, then losing even a small amount of weight can lead to health improvements and a decreased risk of developing numerous chronic diseases, so be sure to celebrate all your successes!