Serving Size, Calories, Vitamins
Q. How much is one serving of California Raisins?
A. Forty grams, about 1.4 ounces or 1/4 cup, equals one serving of California Raisins.
Q. How many calories are in a serving of California Raisins?
A. A serving (1.4 ounces or 40 grams) of California Raisins contains 130 calories.
Q: Do raisins have a higher iron content than fresh grapes? If so, why?
A: The recognized serving of raisins is about 1/4 cup or 43 grams and that contains nearly 1 milligram (0.81mg) of iron while a 1-cup serving of fresh grapes at 126 grams has less than 0.5 milligram (0.45mg). However, you have to recognize that there are way more raisins in that 1/4 cup weighing about 40 grams than there are grapes in that 1 cup weighing 126 grams. Then, serving for serving, neither one of these is a really good source of iron, but you will get more iron from a serving of raisins than you will from a serving of grapes.
Q. What types of vitamins are found in California Raisins?
A. California Raisins contain less than 2% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamins A and C per serving as noted on the Nutrition Facts label found on every package, and traces of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin É and vitamin K.
Raisin Product Comparisons
Q. What are the differences between California Natural Seedless Raisins (the dark ones) and California Golden Seedless Raisins (the light ones)?
A. California Natural Seedless Raisins (California Naturals) are naturally sun-dried. They are made from Natural Seedless Grapes. The grapes may be laid on brown, craft paper trays between the vineyard rows and allowed to dry in the sun when harvested (Tray Dried). The grapes may also be dried on the vine (DOV) where the grape canes are cut, allowing the raisins to dry while still hanging on the vine. The oxidation and caramelization of the sugars during this process result in the raisins’ natural dark brown to black exterior.
California Golden Seedless Raisins are also made from Natural Seedless Grapes but are dried mechanically. The grapes are picked from the vine and first washed in a clean water bath and then in hot water to soften the skins. The clean bunches of grapes are laid on wooden racks and sent through gas-heated tunnel dryers where hot air is forced in and around the racks. While drying, the grapes are exposed to sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas to prevent oxidation and caramelization, allowing the raisins to dry to their characteristic golden color. Sulfur is labeled on California Golden Seedless Raisin packages.
Q. Do natural raisins (dark colored) have higher antioxidant levels than golden raisins (light colored)?
A. The data on antioxidant levels of the two commonly marketed raisins – California Natural Seedless and California Golden Seedless – show that goldens have a higher antioxidant value than naturals, because the sulfites used to make goldens prevent some of those compounds from oxidizing. We have no data on other varieties of raisins because their production is so limited.
Q. Do raisins contain phytochemicals and other nutrients?
A. Yes, raisins contain phytochemicals and antioxidants, including readily absorbed catechins, which may help, decrease cancerous colon tumors.
Q. Is the resveratrol, the much-talked about antioxidant, found in raisins?
A. Certain wines, red grapes and perhaps, grape seed extract provide resveratrol. However, California Raisins are made from Natural Seedless (green) Grapes, so they do not have significant amounts of resveratrol. Raisins do provide other important antioxidants, however.
Benefits from Eating Raisins
Q. Do raisins prevent cancer?
A. Raisins rank among the top antioxidant foods, according to USDA government tests. Antioxidants may protect cells and their components from oxidative damage, which is a little like “rust prevention” for the body. Early findings suggest that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants – such as raisins and spinach – may help slow the processes associated with aging in both body and brain.
Q. I eat five prunes before my evening meal every day to help stay “regular”. Could I get the same result by eating a serving of raisins?
A. The ability of all fruits to maintain regularity is related to the amount of fiber, specific sugars and phytochemicals in that fruit. For the same amount of fiber as five prunes (2.3 grams), consume about 5 tablespoons of raisins (1 1/3 servings) with about 2.9 grams of fiber.
Both raisins and prunes contain soluble and insoluble fibers. Some fibers, such as inulin from raisins, are fermented and help with laxation. However, prunes contain sorbitol and some other sugars that have the ability to pull water into the gut, which also helps with laxation. The sugar component is why prune juice, even though it has no fiber, has a laxing effect. Both prunes and raisins contain large amounts of phenolic compounds and raisins contain tartaric acid. These both may aid in the laxative action.
Q. Can California Raisins be included in a diabetic diet?
A. Yes. California Raisins can be part of a diabetic diet just like other dried fruits. Two tablespoons of raisins count as one fruit exchange, providing 15 grams of carbohydrate and about 60 calories per exchange. Both the glycemic index and the insulin index for Raisins is listed as moderate. For individuals using the glycemic index concept to make food choices, Raisins are an antioxidant-rich fruit that’s always perfectly ripe and easy to grab-and-go.
Q. Are raisins a healthy, low-carb snack?
A. Since the sugars (carbohydrates) in raisins are mostly fruit sugars, they are easy to digest and readily available for quick energy. Raisins also have a generous amount of fiber that helps slow the release of sugar and, therefore, helps to prevent quick production of insulin that comes from other kinds of sugars. However, raisins are not a low-carb snack and need to be carefully calculated into daily carbohydrate intake. Please consult the Nutrition Facts label, watch portion sizes carefully, and enjoy California Raisins frequently.
Allergies and Sensitivities
Q. Do some packages of California Raisins contain sulfites?
A. Remember California Natural Raisins are sun-dried and do not contain sulfites or any other additives. However, California Golden Raisins are treated with sulphur dioxide and dehydrated mechanically. So, they may contain small amounts of residual sulfites, and, therefore, should never be consumed by persons with known sulfite sensitivities.
Q. Do raisins contain gluten?
A. California Raisins are gluten free and can be consumed by people who do not tolerate gluten. Gluten is a protein substance found in abundance in wheat flour and less abundantly in barley and oat flours. It is not found in Raisins. In fact, Raisins contain very few proteins of any kind.
Processing Aids and Other Additives
Q. Is sugar added to raisins in the packaging process? If so, how much and which kind?
A. California Raisins are naturally sweet. All of the sugars are natural fruit sugars and are accounted for in the Sugars category under Carbohydrates in the Nutrition Facts label on the raisin packages.
Ordinarily, no sugar is ever added to Raisins when they are packed, except sometimes they are dusted with dextrose, a fruit sugar, or rice flour when they are included in ready-to-eat cereal, trail mix or other foods. Check the ingredients label for a complete list.
Q. Are chemicals, such as potassium carbonate, used in the process of drying raisins?
A. Potassium carbonate is used to produce a kind of raisin referred to as oleates. They are produced for a very specialized market. You are not likely to find them on retail store shelves.
Q. Is there such a thing as raisin oil?
A. California Raisins are made from Natural Seedless Grapes and therefore, have no seeds. Most vegetable oils are found in the seeds of the plants. Composition data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports less than 0.46 grams of total lipid per 100 grams of raisins.
Q. Is oil ever added to raisins?
A. When packaging Raisins, sometimes a small amount of light vegetable oil is added to keep the raisins from clumping and sticking together. Free-flowing raisins are easier to pack. The amount of oil constitutes less than 0.10% of the product and must be listed per 100 grams of raisins.
Q. I am very concerned about the level of pesticides and other chemicals in the food I eat. Should I worry about California Raisins?
A. California Raisins are one of the safest and cleanest foods. Every year, the raisin industry is subject to a comprehensive survey, which consistently shows that raisins delivered to packers do not contain pesticides or chemicals beyond the levels generally recognized as safe by the EPA. As California Raisins are processed, they are washed numerous times with large quantities of water. This insures a very clean food product.
Pesticides and pesticide residues are controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are numerous restrictions and reporting systems that all farmers and growers must observe when they use pesticides and other chemicals on food crops. The judicious use of these treatments is aimed at making our foods safer and less expensive.