What happens when you compare two items that are practically identical, like raisins and grapes? Raisins are actually dried grapes--so is there any nutritional difference between these two food items?
Grapes Versus Raisins
When a fruit is dried, its components become concentrated. But is this good or bad? According to some researchers, that question is difficult to answer--and it kind of depends on why you are eating grapes or raisins to begin with.
Researchers have found that ounce for ounce, raisins contain almost three times the amount of antioxidants as their original grape counterparts. This means that you can eat one ounce of raisins and get the same amount of antioxidants as if you ate three ounces of grapes. Antioxidants are important in promoting and maintaining good health and optimal growth, and are essential in the treatment and prevention of certain chronic diseases, especially cancers. In addition, if you don't really enjoy the taste of either grapes or raisins, you can eat only a small amount of raisins and still get relatively high health benefits.
When dried, the antioxidants found within grapes becomes concentrated--but unfortunately, so does the amount of sugar. Many people suffering from diabetes or other conditions in which sugar consumption is an issue are already often cautioned against eating large amounts of fruits due to the high sugar content. And if the sugar content is increased, consumption can lead to very serious problems.
Fruits are often touted as a wonder food for dieters. They are low in calories, and contain high amounts of fiber, which is essential in preventing hunger and overeating at future meals. However, along with the concentration of antioxidants and sugar that occurs when grapes are dried to form raisins, comes a concentration in calories. In general, raisins contain significantly more calories than grapes. In fat, a half cup of raisins contains approximately 250 calories, while the same serving of grapes contains only 30 calories. For individuals who are trying to lose weight, a fluctuation of 200 calories can make a big difference in achieving weight loss goals.
Obviously, the calorie content of grapes versus raisins plays a huge role in weight loss. But most people who have dieted in the past will tell you that the reason they quit a particular diet was that they simply didn't get enough food. Consider the caloric differences between grapes and raisins as discussed above. You can eat one cup of grapes and get only 60 calories, and eat a few dozen raisins and get 60 calories. Which would you prefer?
There are many differences between raisins and grapes, and the reasons for choosing one over the other mostly revolve around how the item will be used. If you are simply looking for a great source of dietary antioxidants, raisins are the best way to go. However, if you are looking for a healthy snack that is low in calories and sugar and can help you stick to a weight loss program, stick with grapes.