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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grapes and the Low-Glycemic Index

Neighborhood Question:
Regarding Low Glycemic Index Fruits & Vegetables: What about grapes? They are different on each list I've found. I don't have them as an ingredient in anything, but sometimes when I have to have something, instead of reaching for chips, I go for grapes.

Kaye's Answer:
Grapes - They are a crafty fruit so innocent and delicious yet such a real trouble maker when they mix with the wrong crowd!

Denise - this is a very good question. I did go back to my research file on GI fruits & vegs to make sure I reply correctly based on what my original research uncovered as I did recall some very specific things about grapes. My primary research source is The Glycemic Index and I use their tables because they are world's leading authority on glycemic index and endorsed by the American Diabetic Association.

On the GI index grapes have a GI value of 53 ranking them a "LOW" GI Value. That means they have low impact on glucose levels. One cup is considered a serving size. At first glance this would make them a suitable fruit for patients of gastric surgery, but front line research tells us a different story -- grapes are beautiful fruit of the Gods just waiting to slip down into our little pouches and morph from healthy fruity snack to spiteful little slider food and dumping disaster. Here's what happens: Grapes are good for us and low calorie, so we don't measure portion size. We enjoy each grape, one by one, which is mostly water and fructose, in unmeasured portion as a snack, so there is no buffer to slow the absorption of fructose through the esophagus or intestinal walls of the pouch. We can eat a copious amount of grapes because as fast as we are enjoying them they are sliding right through the stoma - we never achieve fullness. Unaware of the dramatic glucose load this puts on our body we continue to enjoy our healthy snack when at once the slam hits us and we are in glucose overload distress - dumping. (I believe Kim has a few stories about dumping on silly old grapes!) This can happen with banded patients as well who have followed a lean protein diet and developed a low tolerance for glucose surging.

So the short answer, though low glycemic, grapes are a fruit to enjoy very cautiously. As a snack I suggest measured portions, no more than one cup in a single serving. Make your grape snack a mini-meal and include a one ounce serving of deli meat and one ounce serving of low fat cheese.

Consider grapes as "ingredient" food, not just a snack. Here is a classic Southern Style Chicken Salad that makes wonderful use of grapes in the main dish. The high protein count in the recipe will prevent a glucose overload from the grapes.

You Have Arrived Classic Southern Chicken Salad

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup Miracle Whip Light
1 teaspoon You Have Arrived Signature Blend
Salt & Pepper to Taste

2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped and chilled
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green seedless grape, sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Bibb Lettuce, leaves separated into six cups - one per serving

For Dressing: In a medium bowl using a whisk whip the whipping cream until fluff. Fold in Miracle Whip Light, You Have Arrived Signature Blend and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl toss together cooked chopped chicken, chopped celery and sliced grapes. Add dressing and fold together gently until combined. Chill until serving, may be prepared to this stage one day ahead. When ready to serve divide chicken mixture evenly among lettuce cups, garnish with toasted sliced almonds and chopped fresh parsley. Serve chilled.

Serves 6. Per serving: 363 Calories; 27g Protein; 24g Fat (5g saturated);11g Carbohydrate; 2g Fiber; Rich in Vitamin B12 & Niacin.

More of this discussion in the Neighborhood

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