Despite the caloric density of both nuts and dried fruit, they do not appear to lead to the expected weight gain.
Raisins may be preferable to sports supplement jelly beans and commercial energy gels.
Dried fruits are calorically dense. Should we be concerned that eating dried fruit may make us fat? You may have noticed in the conclusion of the fig study I covered that adding 14 figs to people's daily diets did not lead to significant weight gain. Wait a second. That's 300 calories of figs a day. Over 5 weeks that's 10,000 calories. Did they disappear into thin air, no, figs are so packed with fiber and satiating, that even without trying people just ended up eating less of other foods throughout the day. I get full just thinking about eating 14 figs a day. Was this just a fluke, though? Let's look at those other new studies. What about adding three quarters of a cup of dried apples to your diet every day for a year? 200 extra calories a day, but no significant change in weight. 200 extra calories of prunes a day for a year? No significant change in weight and same thing with a month of a daily 300 calorie load of dates. In general, the 5-10% of Americans that average a tablespoon or more of dried fruit a day tends to be less overweight, less obese, have a slimmer waist and less abdominal obesity. They tended to eat more, but weighed less. Similar findings were found for those that eat nuts and nut butters, lower body mass index, slimmer waist and significantly less overweight and obesity. I've already explored the potential mechanisms, nuts are filling, many boost metabolism, and we may end up flushing down some of their fat. What if you put them both together? What would be the effect of adding daily fruit and nut bars on top of one's regular diet for two months? Took about a hundred folks who were overweight, randomized into two groups. Half ate their regular diet, and the other half ate their regular diet plus two fruit and nut bars a day, totally an extra 340 calories. But these weren't candy calories; these were largely whole plant food calories, dried fruits and nuts. Two daily fruit and nut bars for two months did not cause weight gain. And they had added sugar in them. Maybe that's why cholesterol didn't get better despite the nuts, which should have helped. Recipes with less sugar might be expected to improve lipid profiles. So I'd recommend these kinds of brands instead. Or, even cheaper, just eat some dried fruits and nuts on their own.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Jonathan Hodgson.
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D. R. Keast, C. E. O'Neil, J. M. Jones. Dried fruit consumption is associated with improved diet quality and reduced obesity in US adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2004. Nutr Res 2011 31(6):460 - 467
A. Davidi, J. Reynolds, V. Y. Njike, Y. Ma, K. Doughty, D. L. Katz. The effect of the addition of daily fruit and nut bars to diet on weight, and cardiac risk profile, in overweight adults. J Hum Nutr Diet 2011 24(6):543 - 551
S. C. Chai, S. Hooshmand, R. L. Saadat, M. E. Payton, K. Brummel-Smith, B. H. Arjmandi. Daily apple versus dried plum: Impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors in postmenopausal women. J Acad Nutr Diet 2012 112(8):1158 - 1168
W. Rock, M. Rosenblat, H. Borochov-Neori, N. Volkova, S. Judeinstein, M. Elias, M. Aviram. Effects of date ( Phoenix dactylifera L., Medjool or Hallawi Variety) consumption by healthy subjects on serum glucose and lipid levels and on serum oxidative status: A pilot study. J. Agric. Food. Chem. 2009 57(17):8010 - 8017
C. E. O'Neil, D. R. Keast, T. A. Nicklas, V. L. Fulgoni III. Nut consumption is associated with decreased health risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome in U.S. Adults: NHANES 1999-2004. J Am Coll Nutr 2011 30(6):502 - 510
The video documenting similar findings in nuts and nut butters is here: Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence and the mechanisms are summarized in Solving the Mystery of the Missing Calories and explored further in:
What's the problem with eating added sugars? Besides all the empty calories, it can lead to the formation of excess uric acid in the body (Flesh and Fructose).
If you missed my last two videos on dried fruit, check out Dried Apples, Dates, Figs or Prunes for Cholesterol? and Prunes vs. Metamucil vs. Vegan Diet. One more coming up, Raisins vs. Jelly Beans for Athletic Performance.
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The average number of bowel movements a week is compared between those eating prunes, those taking a fiber supplement, and those eating a strictly plant-based diet.
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