Video: Does Dried Fruit Cause Weight Gain?

Does Dried Fruit Make You Fat? A New Health Video

We tend to put dried fruit and weight gain in the same category as nuts and weight gain – one is high in sugar and the other high in fat, therefore they WILL put on the pounds.

It seems that taking all the water out of fruit such as a grape and eating raisins could lead to weight gain. Certainly, I’ve always steered my patients towards the fresh fruit over the dried for that reason.

Yet, much like the research on nuts, studies on dried fruit did not find them to cause weight gain.

Americans don’t tend to eat dried fruit much, but the mere 7% or so who do, boast slimmer waists and decreased belly fat, and lower BMIs than their non-dried fruit-eating counterparts. The dried fruit eaters ate more, yet weighed less. Yes, you read that correctly: The dried fruit eaters ate more, yet weighed less.

A year-long study on dried apples caused no weight gain. It was great for lowering cholesterol however, so if you tend to run high in cholesterol, dried apples should be your fruit of choice.

The particulars of the study involved close to 200 menopausal women who were either given dried apples (12 rings) or dried plums (8 prunes) and their cholesterol levels were monitored. It took only 3 months for the dried apples to lower their cholesterol and keep it down. Prunes lowered overall inflammation rather rapidly and the apple too lowered inflammation, overall better than the prunes.
But neither fruit caused weight gain.

A study on figs where individuals consumed 300 calories of figs (that’s 14 figs) per day over 5 weeks, failed to cause any weight gain. Realize that’s over 10,000 calories. Where did they go? It turns out that the high fiber and high satiation factor resulted in the individuals inadvertently eating less of other foods.

What about the dates? They are soooo SWEET. I tend to feel guilty about eating just one.

Well, prepare to feel guilt-free. A study where 4 or 5 dates were eaten every day for an entire month failed to cause weight gain. Very surprisingly it also lowered triglyceride levels. Despite their intense sweetness, the glycemic index of dates is low. This is, by the way, why I use date syrup and date sugar in my dessert recipes. See a few favorites here and here.

Dates are actually excellent for you. Richer than most other fruits in minerals and vitamins, and packed with fiber and antioxidants, they benefit triglycerides and antioxidant levels and are even recommended for diabetics.

Is there a best date category? Yes, there is – the winner? Halawi dates; they’re even smaller and sweeter than the more commonly known Medjool, but they scored highest in beneficial effects as regards antioxidants, minerals, fiber, etc.

What about dried fruit and nut bars? You’d think those would be a double whammy with all that fat and fruit sugar. Are they bad for you? Nope.

A study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011 followed about 100 individuals who were overweight. One group consumed their regular diet, the other group ate their regular diet PLUS two fruit and nut bars. The calorie total of the two bars was 340 calories.

You’d just assume that 340 extra calories per day must cause weight gain, right? Nope.

The researchers cited this as their conclusion: “Satiating snacks rich in fibre (yup, that’s how they spell it in Great Britain) may provide a means to weight stabilization” (again, the British spelling).

It’s amazing how many pieces of false data float around, isn’t it?

It said that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the “truth”. The concept that nuts and dried fruit cause weight gain are definitely one that has fallen prey to the “lie repeated often enough”. But the real truth is here and I hope you enjoyed learning about it.

If you liked this blog please share it with others.

Additional Resources

Daily Apple vs. Dried Plum – A Study


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