Dried fruit consumption linked to better overall dietsData from the American Dietetic Association shows dried fruit consumption is linked to better overall diets.
By: Associated Press,
FRESNO, Calif. -- Data recently presented at the American Dietetic Association (ADA) Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Denver suggest that raisin and dried fruit consumption are associated with better overall eating patterns and nutrient intake. In addition, dried fruit consumption was found to be associated with lower body weight measures.
The analysis, funded by the California Raisin Marketing Board, examined the association between dried fruit consumption and overall diet quality and body weight in adults (19 + years) using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999 to 2004. Dried fruit "consumers" were defined as those consuming greater than or equal to one-eight (1/8) cup of fruit per day from dried fruit (eaten out of hand or contained in foods).
"The findings of this study indicate that people who consume dried fruit have more nutrient-dense diets," said Debra Keast, Ph.D., President of Food & Nutrition Database Research, Inc., and lead researcher of the study. "Dried fruit consumers derive important nutrients specifically from dried fruits, but the consumption of other healthful foods, such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, and even vegetables can also be encouraged by incorporating dried fruit into the diet or cuisine. Whole grains or vegetable dishes that include raisins or other dried fruit are more palatable. They are flavorful and delicious with less added sugar or fat."
Dried fruit consumers showed statistically significant better overall diet quality as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2005), a standardized government measurement tool designed to assess conformance to MyPyramid and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. Those who consumed dried fruit ate more total fruit than non-consumers and had significantly higher intakes of whole fruit, whole grains and other food groups recommended by MyPyramid. In addition, dried fruit consumers had significantly lower intake of solid fat, alcohol and added sugars and significantly higher energy-adjusted intakes of dietary fiber, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Raisin consumers, specifically, were also found to have better overall diet quality measures as compared to non-consumers and this makes sense given raisins’ nutritional profile. Raisins are both fat- and cholesterol -free, low in sodium, and deliver fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
"The analysis contributes to the growing body of research supporting the important benefits of raisins and their role, along with other dried fruits, in healthy diets," said Keast. "Consumers who are choosing raisins as a healthy snack are likely making other wise choices relative to the rest of their diets."