Certain dietary patterns, especially those rich in fruits and vegetables, may help decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Despite campaigns and educational efforts, the consumption of fruits and vegetables is lower than that recommended by health agencies.
Increasing consumption of dried fruits is an effective way to incorporate more fruit into the diet. Dried fruits have a low to moderate glycemic index (GI) and have been shown to improve blood glucose control in clinical trials and to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in population studies. For this reason, researchers assessed the effect of combining dried fruits with white bread, a commonly eaten high GI carbohydrate food, and the standard comparator food used for GI studies.
This study, published in Nutrition & Diabetes, investigated the effect on blood glucose responses of four dried fruits (dates, apricots, raisins and sultanas) when eaten alone or when consumed with white bread. Ten participants were included in the trial. Each participant underwent a total of 15 study meals consisting of three white bread meals (control meal) and 12 dried fruit meals (test meal). Blood samples were taken from each participant before and after the 15 study meals to assess glycaemic response (changes in blood glucose) to the meals.
The results showed that all four dried fruits when fed alone had a low to medium GI, below that of white bread, a high GI food. In addition, when a half portion of the dried fruits were fed with white bread, displacing half of its carbohydrate, the blood glucose response was reduced with all meals having a medium GI. The study concluded that dried fruits may lower the GI of white bread through displacement of high GI carbohydrate. Long-term randomized trials are needed to confirm whether dried fruit can contribute to sustainable improvements in glucose control.
“Dried fruits have a low to medium GI and lower post-meal glucose levels when displacing higher GI carbohydrates,” said Dr. Cyril WC Kendall, Researcher at University of Toronto and Principal Investigator of this research.
This study was supported by the INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council.
1. Viguiliouk, E., Jenkins, A.L., Blanco Mejia, S., Sievenpiper, J.L., Kendall, C.W.C. (2018). Effect of dried fruit on postprandial glycemia: A randomized acute-feeding trial. Nutrition & Diabetes.