While it is generally advised that eating fresh fruit as a snack may help weight management, the impact of consuming dried fruits on weight control has yet to be thoroughly investigated.
Now, in fresh research out of the UK, a study has investigated the impacts of eating dried fruit as a snack.
Programmed in two phases, researchers firstly examined the effects of traditional dried fruits, notably prunes and raisins, on appetite control, before investigating whether prunes (dried plums) undermine weight loss.
The study received funding from the California Prune Board and the Californian Raisin Administrative Committee.
“These studies demonstrate that dried fruit can both produce satiety and be incorporated into the diet during weight management,” said co-author Professor Jason Halford from the University Leeds and President of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO).
In the first phase, the control group snacked on 100g Tesco Jelly Babies (335kcal) and the test group snacked on 100g prunes (336kcal) and 100g raisins (333g).
The effect on appetite was assessed, as was satiety and caloric intake amongst participants.
Findings revealed that those who ate prunes consumed the fewest calories overall at subsequent meals. These same participants also reported reduced hunger levels, improved satiety, and a greater perceived ability to eat less food at subsequent meals.
In the second phase, the researchers recruited healthy overweight men and women. Both the control and test group agreed to follow a 12-week weight loss programme.
In the control group, participants were provided guidance on healthy snacking. In the test group, they were provided with prunes as their snack.
Findings revealed no statistically significant differences between the two groups in terms of pounds lost. However the prune group did experience greater weight loss on average than the control group (-4.4 lbs versus -3.4 lbs).
Higher levels of satisfaction and greater ease of following the weight-loss programme was reported by those that consumed prunes.
What about the bloating?
The California Prune Board, which helped fund the study (but which had no involvement in its drafting or content), welcomed the findings.
“The study reveals that nutrient-dense prunes can provide an advantage over other snack choices due to their favourable effects on satiety and appetite control,” said Andrea Giancoli, Nutrition Advisor for the Board.
And what about digestive issues? Prunes contain sorbitol, a sugar that can cause gas and bloating. Its insoluble fibre content can also cause or worsen diarrhoea.
While consumer may be concerned about these side effects, Prof Halford said the study results mark the first to demonstrate both weight loss and no negative side effects when consuming prunes as part of a weight management diet.
Source: Nutrition Bulletin
‘Experimental studies and randomised controlled trial investigated the impact of traditional dried fruits consumed as snacks on food intake, experience of appetite and bodyweight’
Published 14 October 2021
DOI: 10.1111/nbu.12 5 2 8
Authors: Joanne Harrold, Michele Sadler, Georgina Hughes, Emma Boyland, Nicola Williams, Rory McGill, Jennette Higgs, Janice Harland, Jason Halford.