Are Raisins Good Snacks for Kids?

Are Raisins Good Snacks for Kids?
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The California Raisin Marketing Board need not have funded such misleading studies, given the healthfulness of their product.

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Raisins, like all fruits, have a variety of health benefits, but dried fruit is higher in calories per serving than fresh, so might they contribute to weight gain? This study helped set people’s minds at ease. Men and women assigned to consume a cup of raisins a day for six weeks evidently successfully offset the consumption of other foods in their diets such that they experienced no significant change in weight or waist circumference. What about in kids?

Leave it to the California Raisin Marketing Board to dream up a study like this. An after-school snack of raisins lowers cumulative food intake in young children. Sounds good, right? But that’s compared to potato chips and chocolate chip cookies. They gave kids raisins, grapes, chips or cookies and said they could eat as much as they wanted and, surprise surprise, kids ate less fruit and more junk. But I guess naming the paper “Kids Prefer Cookies” would not have garnered the same kind of marketing board sponsor support.

Reminds me of this study they did. Regular consumption of raisins may reduce blood sugar levels…compared to fudge cookies and Oreos. Or how about this one: Raisins were found to cause less of a blood sugar spike than Coca Cola and candy bars. Though you can tell it was not funded by Big Raisin by their conclusion. Whether the general public should be advised to snack on fruit rather than on candy bars requires further debate and investigation. Guess who funded that one?

Comparing raisins to chips and cookies was similarly unhelpful. This is the study I was expecting. Nine- to eleven-year-old boys and girls were told to eat all the grapes or raisins they wanted 30 minutes before a meal in which they could eat all the pizza they wanted. If you just gave them the meal, no snack, they ate 837 calories worth of pizza. If you gave them all-you-can-eat grapes before the meal, they ate 128 calories of grapes, but that seemed to fill them up a bit, so they ended up eating less pizza. But because they ate the snack and the meal, they ended up getting more calories overall. Still, grape calories are certainly better than pizza calories, but check this out. When given raisins instead, they ate even more snack calories, but the raisins were evidently so satiating, so filling that they ate so much less pizza that they ate fewer calories over all.

Now I know as parents there’s a concern that if our kids eat snacks it might spoil their dinner, but when the snacks are fruit and the meal is a pepperoni and three cheese pizza, the more we can ruin their appetite, the better.

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 Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to sciencesque via Flickr.

Raisins, like all fruits, have a variety of health benefits, but dried fruit is higher in calories per serving than fresh, so might they contribute to weight gain? This study helped set people’s minds at ease. Men and women assigned to consume a cup of raisins a day for six weeks evidently successfully offset the consumption of other foods in their diets such that they experienced no significant change in weight or waist circumference. What about in kids?

Leave it to the California Raisin Marketing Board to dream up a study like this. An after-school snack of raisins lowers cumulative food intake in young children. Sounds good, right? But that’s compared to potato chips and chocolate chip cookies. They gave kids raisins, grapes, chips or cookies and said they could eat as much as they wanted and, surprise surprise, kids ate less fruit and more junk. But I guess naming the paper “Kids Prefer Cookies” would not have garnered the same kind of marketing board sponsor support.

Reminds me of this study they did. Regular consumption of raisins may reduce blood sugar levels…compared to fudge cookies and Oreos. Or how about this one: Raisins were found to cause less of a blood sugar spike than Coca Cola and candy bars. Though you can tell it was not funded by Big Raisin by their conclusion. Whether the general public should be advised to snack on fruit rather than on candy bars requires further debate and investigation. Guess who funded that one?

Comparing raisins to chips and cookies was similarly unhelpful. This is the study I was expecting. Nine- to eleven-year-old boys and girls were told to eat all the grapes or raisins they wanted 30 minutes before a meal in which they could eat all the pizza they wanted. If you just gave them the meal, no snack, they ate 837 calories worth of pizza. If you gave them all-you-can-eat grapes before the meal, they ate 128 calories of grapes, but that seemed to fill them up a bit, so they ended up eating less pizza. But because they ate the snack and the meal, they ended up getting more calories overall. Still, grape calories are certainly better than pizza calories, but check this out. When given raisins instead, they ate even more snack calories, but the raisins were evidently so satiating, so filling that they ate so much less pizza that they ate fewer calories over all.

Now I know as parents there’s a concern that if our kids eat snacks it might spoil their dinner, but when the snacks are fruit and the meal is a pepperoni and three cheese pizza, the more we can ruin their appetite, the better.

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 Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to sciencesque via Flickr.

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