Do Fruit & Nut Bars Cause Weight Gain?

Do Fruit & Nut Bars Cause Weight Gain?
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Despite the caloric density of both nuts and dried fruit, they do not appear to lead to the expected weight gain.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Dried fruits are calorically dense. Should we be concerned that eating dried fruit may make us fat? Remember that fig study I covered, that added 14 figs to people’s daily diets? Surprisingly, that did not lead to significant weight gain. 

Wait a second. That’s 300 calories of figs a day. Over five 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, the 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 tend to be less overweight, less obese, have a slimmer waist, and less abdominal obesity. They tended to eat more, but yet weighed less. Similar findings were found for those that eat nuts or nut butters—lower body mass index, and a slimmer waist. 

In past videos, I’ve explored the potential mechanisms, right? Nuts are filling, may boost metabolism, and may end up flushing some of their fat down the toilet.

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, totaling 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 extra 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, that’s brands, you know, like this. Or, even cheaper, just eat some trail mix.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to André Karwath aka Aka via Wikimedia, and susanvg via flickr

 

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Dried fruits are calorically dense. Should we be concerned that eating dried fruit may make us fat? Remember that fig study I covered, that added 14 figs to people’s daily diets? Surprisingly, that did not lead to significant weight gain. 

Wait a second. That’s 300 calories of figs a day. Over five 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, the 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 tend to be less overweight, less obese, have a slimmer waist, and less abdominal obesity. They tended to eat more, but yet weighed less. Similar findings were found for those that eat nuts or nut butters—lower body mass index, and a slimmer waist. 

In past videos, I’ve explored the potential mechanisms, right? Nuts are filling, may boost metabolism, and may end up flushing some of their fat down the toilet.

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, totaling 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 extra 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, that’s brands, you know, like this. Or, even cheaper, just eat some trail mix.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to André Karwath aka Aka via Wikimedia, and susanvg via flickr

 

Nota del Doctor

My video documenting similar findings with regard to nuts and nut butters is Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence. The mechanisms involved are summarized in Solving the Mystery of the Missing Calories, and explored further in:

What’s the problem with eating added sugar? Besides all the empty calories, it can lead to the formation of excess uric acid in the body (see 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. I have one more coming up: Raisins vs. Jelly Beans for Athletic Performance.

For further context, refer to these associated blog posts: Best Dried Fruit For CholesterolThe Best Nutrition Bar; and Raisins vs. Energy Gels for Athletic Performance.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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