Traditional Dried Fruits: Valuable Tools to Meet Dietary Recommendations for Fruit Intake This paper, presented as part of the XXX World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress in Budapest, Hungary on 21 May 2011, was coordinated by Dr. Arianna Carughi and outlines the scientific support for considering dried fruits alongside their fresh counterparts. Also available at www.nutfruit.org.
Raisins compared with other snack effects on glycemia and blood pressure: a randomized, controlled trial. Anderson JW, Weiter KM, Christian AL, Ritchey MB, Bays HE. Postgrad Med. 2014 Jan;126(1):37-43. This study suggests that not only is snacking on raisins a nutritious habit, it may also reduce blood pressure and may help keep healthy blood sugar levels. This study compared the effect of snacking on raisins versus commercial snacks on cardiovascular risk factors and blood sugar levels. In this study, 15 people snacked on typical snacks while 31 others snacked on raisins, 3 times a day for three months. Before, after and every four weeks during the 12 week trial, the researchers tested blood pressure, post-eating glucose levels and took blood samples to test glycated hemoglobin levels – also called HbA1c. It is a measure of long term blood sugar control. The researchers found that post-eating glucose levels dropped by 13 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). The raisin group also had significantly lower HbA1c levels. The researchers also found that the raisin-snacking group had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Their systolic levels reduced between 6 and 10 mmHg – a significant change. A randomized study of raisins versus alternative snacks on glycemic control and other cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Bays H, Weiter K, Anderson J. Phys Sportsmed. 2015 Feb;43(1):37-43. High glucose levels, an indication of metabolic disorder and type 2 diabetes (T2D), is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A recent study suggests eating raisins three times a day may significantly lower the mean value of post-meal glucose levels for individuals with T2D when compared to consuming popular pre-packaged non-fruit snacks of equal caloric value. Raisins significantly decreased mean post-meal glucose levels by 16 percent. Compared to baseline within group paired analysis, raisins significantly reduced mean hemoglobin A1c by 0.12 percent among those with T2D. Researchers concluded that raisins may be a healthy alternative to processed snacks not only in generally healthy individuals with evidence of metabolic disorder but also among those with T2D.
Raisins are a naturally heart-healthy snack, thanks to their high fiber and potassium levels. Working them into your diet can help control health risks, like glycemia, blood pressure and blood sugar.
An after-school snack of raisins lowers cumulative food intake in young children. Patel BP, Bellissimo N, Luhovyy B, Bennett LJ, Hurton E, Painter JE, Anderson GH. J Food Sci. 2013 Jun;78 Suppl 1:A5-A10. A controlled study looked at after-school snacking and satiety among children. They found that eating raisins and grapes as an after-school snack prevents excessive calorie intake and increases satiety – or feeling of fullness – as compared to other commonly consumed snacks. Potato chips and cookies resulted in ~ 81 percent and 121 percent higher calorie intake compared to raisins, respectively. Cumulative calorie intake (breakfast + morning snack + lunch + after-school snack) was 17-25 percent lower respectively, after raisin consumption compared to chips and cookies.
Looking for a healthy snack for kids? Raisins are a great, all-natural, no-sugar-added choice, which is proven to help kids maintain healthy weight levels.
Antimicrobial Constituents of Thompson Seedless Raisins (Vitis vinifera) Against Selected Oral Pathogens. Rivero-Cruz JF, Zhu M, Kinghorn A, D, Wu C D (2008). Phytochemistry Letters, 1(3): 151. This study found that raisins contain antimicrobial phytochemicals that inhibit bacteria (Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis) that cause cavities and gum disease. Raisins do not have a negative impact on mouth pH, a key indicator for dental cavity development. Raisins – when consumed on their own – were shown to be almost completely cleared from tooth surfaces within five minutes after chewing and swallowing.
Scientific research shows that bacteria-fighting properties in raisins can help prevent cavities.
Dried fruit consumption associated with improved diet quality and reduced obesity in US adults. Jones, JM and Keast, DR. 2009a. NHANES 1999-2004. Amer Diet Association Annual Meeting October 18, 2009 LNC: 5160, 5370, 7120. Research suggests that dried fruit intake is not associated with higher body weight. On the contrary, recent analysis of NHANES (1999–2004) data indicates that diets high in dried fruits are associated with lower Basal Metabolic Index (BMI), reduced overweight and obesity and improved diet quality. After adjusting for potential cofounders (socioeconomic status, education, exercise), the data showed that prevalence of overweight/obesity and prevalence of abdominal obesity are lower for those who consumed dried fruits compared to those who did not. The analysis examined the association between dried fruit consumption and body weight and waist circumference in adults, using NHANES data from 1999 to 2004. Dried fruit eaters were defined as those eating greater than or equal to 1/8 cup of fruit equivalent per day either out of hand or contained as an ingredient within other foods. Improved diet quality and increased nutrient intakes associated with grape product consumption by U.S. children and adults. McGill CR, Keast DR, Painter JE, Romano CS, Wightman JD. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003 to 2008. J Food Sci. 2013 Jun;78 Suppl 1:A1-4. A study that analyzed the 2003-2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which followed 9,622 kids and 1,251 adults found that those who regularly ate grapes, raisins or 100% grape juice – as compiled via interviews – had greater intakes of key nutrients such as fiber and potassium and followed healthier dietary patterns.
Dried fruit, such as Sun-Maid Raisins, is a natural, nutritious snack choice for adults and kids, who are looking to keep their body fat in check.
Natural Versus Commercial Carbohydrate Supplementation and Endurance Running Performance. Too BW, Cicai S, Hockett K R, Applegate E, Davis B A, Casazza G A. (2012). Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15; 9(1):27. 32. When it comes to running performance, recent studies have shown that raisins are as effective as commercial sports food. In this study, scientists had eleven male runners (average age = 30) sweat it out at 75% of their VO2 max for 80 minutes on the treadmill followed by a 5 km timed trial Results showed that raisins and chews lead to more energy being used from carbohydrate and improved running performance compared to water only. Running performance was similar between the raisins and chews, with no significant GI difference. Runners that ingested raisins or sports chews ran their 5k on average one minute faster than those that consumed only water. The runners who ate the raisins also used a greater amount of energy from fat vs. carbohydrates compared to the sport chews and is likely due to lower glycemic index and natural fiber content of raisins. This is great news for price-conscious and health-conscious runners who want a wholesome energy boost for training and performance. Eating raisins provides the same performance boost during exercise as sports chews. Metabolic and performance effects of raisins versus sports gel as pre-exercise feedings in cyclists. Kern M, Heslin C and Rezende RS. Journal of Strength Conditioning Research 21(4):1204-7 (2007). Raisins were shown to be a good alternative to sports gels in a recent study conducted with endurance athletes. Endurance-trained cyclists (4 males and 4 females) completed two feeding-performance trials where changes in metabolism and cycling performance were compared after consumption of raisins (a moderate to low glycemic index food) versus a commercial sports gel (a high glycemic index food). There were no differences in performance in the 45-minute cycling trial (at 75% VO2max) between raisins and sports gel consumption.
Raisins provide the same energy boost as sports chews and gels — at a fraction of the cost — while also delivering important nutrients, such as fiber, potassium and heart-protective compounds.