Dried fruit consumption linked to better diet and better health

Eating more dried fruit, without added sugar, could be an effective way to boost intake of essential nutrients, the researchers concluded.

According to a recent analysis, low fruit consumption is a major contributor to diet-related disease and disability. Fruits are a good source of nutrients. Such as fiber and potassium, which many people lack in their diets. They also contain bioactive nutrients that provide additional health benefits, including polyphenols and carotenoids.

Research suggests that fruit consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. However, too few people consume the recommended daily amount of fruit.

Dried fruits: a healthy snack?

Dried fruits have several advantages over fresh fruits in terms of cost, availability, and ease of storage and transportation. They could also replace more unhealthy snacks that are high in sugar, salt and saturated fat. However, overconsumption of dried fruit, which is an energy-dense form of fruit, raises concerns about excessive calorie intake.

Previous observational studies have shown that dried fruit consumption is associated with health benefits. However, the evidence is inconclusive as people who consume more dried fruit may tend to have healthier diets and lifestyles in general.

The new study by researchers at Pennsylvania (Penn) State University at University Park aimed to circumvent this difficulty by comparing the days some participants said they ate dried fruit with the days they did not. They found that people tended to consume more key nutrients on days when they ate dried fruit, including dietary fiber and potassium. However, they also consumed more calories.
Portion size can be tricky because a serving of dried fruit is smaller than a serving of fresh fruit since the water has been removed. But the good thing is that dried fruits can potentially help people consume more fruit because they are portable, can be stored and can even be cheaper.”

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Slimmer waist, less weight, better cardiovascular health with dried fruits

For their analysis, the scientists relied on responses from 25,590 people who took part in a National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) 2007-2016. Respondents provided information about the foods they had eaten in the past 24 hours.

Dried fruits accounted for only 3.7% of all fruits consumed. However, a total of 1,233 participants reported consuming dried fruit at every other meal. This allowed scientists to compare their consumption during these days. Data was also available on participants’ health, including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and resting blood pressure while seated.

Even after adjusting for demographic and lifestyle factors, participants who ate significant amounts of dried fruit tended to have better diets, lower BMI, smaller waist circumference, and lower systolic blood pressure. than those who did not eat it.

active lifestyle

Overall, the results suggest that people who ate dried fruit expended more energy, offsetting the extra calories.

In this study, people who ate dried fruit had higher calorie intake but lower BMI and lower waist circumference. This suggests that they were more physically active. So when incorporating dried fruit, pay attention to the calories. Be sure to replace the calories of nutrient-poor foods with dried fruit to get the most benefit from eating dried fruit.

Researchers write that eating dried fruit tends to increase total fruit intake. Thus, increasing the consumption of dried fruits could help to achieve greater fruit consumption.


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