Raisin and Dried Fruit Consumption Associated With Reduced Abdominal Obesity

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Allison Beadle
Fleishman-Hillard, Inc.
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RAISIN AND DRIED FRUIT CONSUMPTION ASSOCIATED WITH REDUCED ABDOMINAL OBESITY

New Research Highlights Raisin Health Benefits Beyond Basic Nutrition

New Orleans, LA (April 23, 2009) – Data presented yesterday at the Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans suggest raisin and dried fruit consumption are associated with a decreased likelihood of abdominal obesity.

The analysis examined the association between dried fruit consumption and body weight and waist circumference in adults 19 years old and older, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999 to 2004. For the purposes of the analysis, dried fruit eaters were defined as those eating greater than or equal to one-eighth (1/8) cup of fruit equivalent per day either out of hand or contained as an ingredient within other foods.

“The results of this analysis showed a lower prevalence of obesity, specifically abdominal obesity, among adults who consumed dried fruit as compared to those who did not eat dried fruit,” said lead researcher Debra Keast, Ph.D., President of Food and Nutrition Database Research, Inc.

This study, funded by the California Raisin Marketing Board, builds upon previous research demonstrating that increased fruit and vegetable intake can reduce the risk of obesity and weight gain.

“This analysis adds to the growing body of research supporting the important benefits of raisins and their role, along with other dried fruits, in diets that support weight management,” Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., L.N., C.N.S., national scientific advisor to the California Raisin Marketing Board. “As an economical and convenient fruit choice, raisins have benefits beyond basic nutrition.”

Additional data presented at the Experimental Biology conference reinforced raisins as an important source of fructans, a type of dietary fiber which functions as a “prebiotic” and may provide a wide range of health benefits including the promotion of colon health and stimulation of the gastrointestinal immune system. Fructans are not present in Natual seedless grapes (i.e. raisin grapes) prior to dehydration. However, they are produced during the dehydration process which converts fresh grapes into raisins. Collaborative work from researchers at Rutgers and Winona State Universities examined the phenolic content of raisins and grapes and identified specific types of phenolics previously not identified in these fruits and their implications for improved dietary health. Both of these studies were funded by Sun-Maid Growers.

Keast, et al. Dried Fruit Consumption Associated with Reduced Overweight or Obesity in Adults: NHANES, 1999-2004. Experimental Biology Poster Session 2009. Poster session presented at: Experimental Biology; 2009 April 18-22; New Orleans, LA

Sing, et al. Raisin, currant and Natural Seedless grape phenolic compound characterization using LC-MS-MS-EDI with product ion, precursor-ion, neutral-loss analysis and selected reaction monitoring. Poster session presented at: Experimental Biology; 2009 April 18-22; New Orleans, LA.

United States Department of Agriculture. Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, 2007. Carughi, A. Raisins as a source of prebiotic compounds in the diet. Poster session presented at: Experimental Biology; 2009 April 18-22; New Orleans, LA

Editor’s note: Please contact Allison Beadle at 512-963-6930 or allison.beadle@fleishman.com to arrange an interview with Dr. Julie Miller Jones related to the recently presented NHANES data.

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