Less Sugar, More Fruit!
Did you know that in 2018 it was estimated that American consumers each spent $108 dollars on candy and food during the holiday season? That adds up to a LOT of sugar. Pandemic era candy sales numbers are somewhat muddled due to supply chain issues, but they don’t seem to tell a different story about sugar and the American consumer. As you start off the New Year, you may be looking for a sweet snack to keep you from being tempted by all the leftover Christmas cookies. Getting back into a more typical life schedule of regular exercise and quality sleep are important, but recent research shows there might be an easy way to back yourself off tasty holiday treats. Snack foods are known to be a major contributor to daily energy food intake. And now, research on dried fruit shows that prunes may be an excellent sweet substitute for other less healthy foods in your diet.
Research has already identified fresh fruit as an excellent snack. It is known to keep people full longer during the day. But until now, very little research had been done on the benefits of dried fruit. Nutritionists and investigators wondered whether dried fruit would have the same benefits as regular fruit. Because fruit juices are missing some of the nutritious elements of regular fruit, it felt important to study whether fruit in dried form was different from fresh fruit as a snack.
Therefore, two studies investigated weight control and the impact of dried fruits on appetite. First, researchers studied whether prunes could help control appetite when eaten as a snack by healthy, overweight individuals. Then they studied whether prunes hindered weight loss. The snack would not be beneficial if it curbed appetite but made participants gain weight.
However, in the end, the studies showed that prunes did curb appetite, but did not hinder weight loss in any way. Those who ate the exact same diets except for the substitution of another healthy snack for the prunes had no significant difference in weight loss than those eating prunes.
In other words, don’t skip over the dried fruit on charcuterie boards this holiday season. And after the new year, consider treating your sweet tooth with a prune snack instead of stocking leftovers. It might just be a healthy way to snack and get back on track this holiday season.