How many calories are in one cotton candy grape?

Cotton candy grapes have become an extremely popular snack in recent years. Their name comes from their appearance and taste – they look like little green cotton balls and have a sweet, sugary flavor reminiscent of cotton candy. But with their candy-like taste, many people wonder – just how many calories are in one cotton candy grape?

The Origins of Cotton Candy Grapes

Cotton candy grapes were first developed and grown in 2011 by horticulturalist David Cain and his team at Bakersfield, California-based fruit breeder International Fruit Genetics (IFG). Inspired by the popular carnival treat cotton candy, Cain used hybridization techniques over the course of several years to cross varieties of grapes with the purpose of developing a new grape variety that tasted like cotton candy.

After much experimentation, Cain landed on a winning formula by crossing the germplasms of Vitis vinifera cultivars Princess with a mix of other varieties including Sweet Sapphire and Early Sweet. The result was a light green, oval-shaped grape with a pliable texture and intense, super sweet flavor uncannily like spun sugar.

IFG partnered with renowned fruit grower Jack Pandol of Grapery to grow Cain’s cotton candy grape at commercial scale. In 2011, cotton candy grapes made their debut in limited quantities at grocery stores across the US and quickly became a hot item due to their novelty factor. A decade later, cotton candy grapes are now widely available and one of the most popular specialty grape varieties on the market.

Nutrition Facts of Cotton Candy Grapes

So what’s the nutrition breakdown of these sugary superstar grapes? Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (about 100 grams) of cotton candy grapes:

  • Calories: 100
  • Total fat: 0.3 g
  • Sodium: 3 mg
  • Potassium: 300 mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Sugars: 23 g
  • Protein: 1 g

As you can see, one serving of cotton candy grapes contains 100 calories and 27 grams of carbs, most of which comes from sugar. Cotton candy grapes have a similar nutritional profile to regular green grapes, but they contain about 5 grams more sugar per serving.

Calories in One Cotton Candy Grape

So how many calories are actually in just one cotton candy grape? That depends on the size of the grape, which can vary.

On average, one medium-sized cotton candy grape weighs around 4-5 grams. To determine the calories, we can use the nutrition info per gram:

  • 100g of cotton candy grapes has 100 calories
  • That’s 1 calorie per 1 gram of cotton candy grapes

So for a 5 gram cotton candy grape, there are approximately 5 calories. For a larger grape that weighs 7 grams, there would be about 7 calories. A smaller 3 gram grape would have around 3 calories.

As a general rule of thumb, you can estimate that a single cotton candy grape contains about 1 calorie per gram of weight. So those tiny little grapes can add up in calories if you eat a whole bunch of them, though they still have less calories than high-sugar dried fruits like raisins or cranberries.

Cotton Candy Grape Calories Compared to Other Grapes

How do cotton candy grapes stack up against regular table grapes in terms of calories and nutrition? Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Grape Type Calories per 100g Carbs per 100g Sugar per 100g
Cotton candy grapes 100 27g 23g
Green grapes 67 18g 15g
Red grapes 69 18g 16g

As shown in the table, cotton candy grapes contain around 50% more calories and 35% more sugar than regular table grapes. However, green, red, and black grapes all have a relatively low calorie density, with one cup providing about 60-70 calories. The high water and fiber content of grapes gives them low energy density. Cotton candy grapes have a slightly higher energy density thanks to their boosted sugar content, but they are still low in calories for the serving size.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Cotton Candy Grapes

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food causes increases in blood glucose levels. Foods are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how they compare to the glucose reference food. The glycemic load takes into account the grams of carbohydrates in a serving.

Most grapes have a low to moderate glycemic index. Green grapes have a GI of about 45 and red grapes are around 53. This means grapes cause a relatively gradual rise in blood sugar compared to high GI foods like rice (GI = 73) or Russet potatoes (GI = 111).

Currently there is limited research on the exact glycemic index of cotton candy grapes. However, we can estimate it is moderately higher than regular grapes due to the increased sugar content. A rough estimate based on the nutrition stats would put cotton candy grapes in the GI range of 60-65.

For glycemic load, a typical 120g serving of cotton candy grapes contains around 32 grams of net carbs. With an estimated GI of 65, this would give a glycemic load of around 21 per serving. Grapes in general are considered a low glycemic load food, but portion size is an important factor.

Potential Health Benefits of Cotton Candy Grapes

Despite their candy-like flavor, cotton candy grapes may offer some of the same benefits as regular grapes when consumed in moderation. Here are some of the evidence-based health benefits of grapes and their compounds:

  • Antioxidants – Grapes, especially red and purple varieties, contain antioxidants like resveratrol, quercetin, anthocyanins, and catechins. These compounds help combat free radicals and oxidative stress.
  • Anti-inflammatory – The antioxidants in grapes have anti-inflammatory effects that may help lower chronic disease risk.
  • Heart health – Small studies show grapes may support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels due to their antioxidant content.
  • Diabetes management – Due to their low glycemic index, grapes in moderation may help stabilize blood sugar in people with diabetes.
  • Vision health – Lutein and zeaxanthin found in grapes contributes to eye health and may help slow macular degeneration.
  • Gut health – With about 1 gram of fiber per 10 grapes, grapes provide prebiotic fiber that feeds beneficial gut bacteria.

Most research has focused on red, purple, and black grape varieties. But the polyphenol antioxidants are also found in green grapes and may offer similar benefits. Overall moderation is key, as grapes are still a source of natural sugar.

Incorporating Cotton Candy Grapes Into a Healthy Diet

Enjoying cotton candy grapes in moderation can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Here are some tips for incorporating them:

  • Stick to recommended serving sizes of about 1 cup, and watch your portions if eating them as a standalone snack.
  • Combine cotton candy grapes with protein sources like nuts or cheese for a balanced snack.
  • Eat them just as you would regular grapes – add them to fruit salads, enjoy as a sweet treat after meals, freeze them for a refreshing snack.
  • Pair cotton candy grapes with a source of protein or healthy fat to balance out the glycemic impact.
  • Skip the grapes if you are following a low-sugar or low-glycemic diet.

In the end, cotton candy grapes can be enjoyed by most people in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. Just be mindful of portions to keep calories and sugar intake in check.

The Bottom Line

So how many calories in a cotton candy grape? On average, one cotton candy grape contains around 1 calorie per gram of weight. A typical 5 gram grape has 5 calories, while a 7 gram grape has 7 calories. Though higher in sugar than regular grapes, cotton candy grapes are still relatively low in calories and can be enjoyed in moderation by most healthy adults and kids as part of a balanced diet.

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