Eating prunes can help weight loss

Eating prunes can help weight loss

Although prunes are high in calories, you can still add them to a weight-loss meal plan if your portion is small. One prune contains about 23 calories, states the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a 1/2-cup portion of pitted prunes provides about 209 calories.

Not a fan of prunes? Well, try Wonderland Foods. It will change your mind. An online vendor of solely dry fruits and nuts accompanied by other innovative variants like tropical dehydrated fruits, berries and seeds, Wonderland Foods sources handpicked dry fruits from the best and the freshest of farms, delivering them at your doorstep no matter where you live in India. Under their berries section, you will find blackcurrants, blueberries, cranberries and prunes. While prunes might not be preferred over raisins and delicious cashews by most people, they provide a myriad health benefits. Being…

Eating dried fruit is typically discouraged during weight loss despite evidence that it enhances feelings of fullness. But researchers in the university’s Department of Psychological Sciences sought to examine whether eating prunes as part of a weight loss diet would help or hinder weight control over a 12-week period, and whether prunes induced beneficial changes in appetite.

They found that eating prunes as part of a healthy lifestyle intervention resulted in significant weight loss and waist circumference reduction from the baseline. Not only that, but prunes were well tolerated among participants despite the high daily doses.

The research, funded by the California Prune Board, was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Bulgaria last week and will be submitted in manuscript format for publication later this year.

For the study, 100 overweight and obese low-fiber consumers (74 women, 26 men; mean age 43 years and mean body mass index of 30kg/m²) were randomly divided into two groups. The intervention group was given prunes (140 g/day for women, 171 g/day for men), whereas the active control panel were given advice on healthy snacks. The prune-eating group experienced mean weight loss of 2.0 kg (4.4 lbs), or 2.4% and waste circumference reduction of 2.5 cm (2.3%) from the baseline. However, the people in the control group lost only 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) in weight and 1.7 cm from their waists.

The researchers found that weight loss between the groups diverged during the last four weeks, with the prune group experiencing greater weight loss. After week eight, participants in the prune group also showed increased feelings of fullness. Despite the high daily doses (particularly for an otherwise low-fiber group), the prunes were “well tolerated,” according to the study abstract.

Research by the University of Liverpool has found that eating prunes as part of a weight control diet can improve weight loss.

Consumption of dried fruit is not readily recommended during weight loss despite evidence it enhances feelings of fullness.

However, a study by the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society of 100 overweight and obese low fiber consumers tested whether eating prunes as part of a weight loss diet helped or hindered weight control over a 12-week period.

It also examined if low fiber consumers could tolerate eating substantial numbers of prunes in their diet, and if eating prunes had a beneficial effect on appetite.

To assess the effects of prunes on weight and appetite, participants in the study were divided into two groups — those who ate prunes every day (140g a day for women and 171g a day for men) and those who were given advice on healthy snacks over the period of active weight loss.

The researchers found that members of the group which ate prunes as part of a healthy life-style diet lost 2kg in weight and shed 2.5cm off their waists. However, the people in the group which was given advice on healthy snacks lost only 1.5kg in weight and 1.7cm from their waists.

The study also found that the prune eaters experienced greater weight loss during the last four weeks of the study. After week eight, participants showed increased feelings of fullness in the prune group. Moreover, despite the high daily doses, prunes were well tolerated.

Liverpool psychologist, Dr Jo Harrold who led the research, said: «These are the first data to demonstrate both weight loss and no negative side effects when consuming prunes as part of a weight management diet. Indeed in the long term they may be beneficial to dieters by tackling hunger and satisfying appetite; a major challenge when you are trying to maintain weight loss.»

Professor Jason Halford, Professor of Experimental Psychology and Director of the University’s Human Ingestive Behaviour Laboratory, added: «Maintaining a healthy diet is challenging. Along with fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fruit can provide a useful and convenient addition to the diet, especially as controlling appetite during dieting can be tough.»

Digestive upset

  • Gas and bloating. Prunes contain sorbitol, a sugar that can cause gas and bloating. Fiber, also contained in prunes, can also cause gas and bloating.
  • Diarrhea. Prunes contain insoluble fiber, which can cause or worsen diarrhea.
  • Constipation. When you increase your intake of fiber, it’s important to drink enough fluids. If you don’t, you could get constipated. So be sure to drink plenty of water when adding prunes to your diet.

To avoid these problems, introduce prunes into your diet slowly. This will give your digestive system time to adjust to them, and symptoms of gastrointestinal upset should be reduced.

Weight-Loss Calorie Requirements

Weight-loss caloric needs vary widely, depending upon your age, gender, activity level and usual caloric intake. Unless you’re under medical supervision, aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds weekly by reducing your current intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily, suggest the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s a list of 7 benefits of prunes —

Prunes are a powerhouse of nutrients and adding them to your daily diet can provide you with a plethora of health benefits. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 100-gram serving of prunes contain 240 kcal, 2.18 grams of protein, 7.1 grams of fibre and approximately 63.88 grams of carbohydrates.

1. Improves Vision

Prunes are a great source of
vitamin A
, a vitamin that is essential for healthy vision. One prune delivers 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. People who are deficient in vitamin A are prone to night blindness, dry eyes, macular degeneration and cataracts.

prunes-benefits-1

Prunes benefits: Prunes are a great source of vitamin A

2. Powerhouse of Antioxidants

Blueberries may be high on the antioxidant scale, but surprisingly prunes are even higher. A study conducted by researchers from Tufts University in Boston ranked prunes, or dried plums, as #1 food in terms of antioxidant capacity.

3. Heart Healthy

“Prunes are high in potassium, an important mineral that ensures proper functioning of the heart and nerve response throughout the body”, says Dr. Adarsh Kumar, Internal Medicine, National Heart Institute.

Daily intake of potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of problems such as dizziness, heart disease, heart attack and stroke. One should not overlook the health benefits of prunes.

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Prunes benefits: Prunes are high in potassium, an important mineral that ensures proper functioning of the heart​

4. Relieves Constipation

Prunes have been sold as a popular digestive remedy for years together. And when it comes to laxatives, prunes are more effective than even psyllium, according to the April 2011 issue of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Did you know that just 1 prune provides 3% of the recommended daily intake of fiber? Sorbitol, the natural sugar present in prunes, functions as a laxative because it pulls moisture into the digestive tract and facilitates bowel movements. Note:

(Also Read:

8 Effective Remedies For Constipation As Suggested By Ayurveda

)

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Prunes benefits: Prunes have been sold as a popular digestive remedy for years together

5. Protection Against Osteoporosis

A single serving of prunes (100 grams) fulfills the daily requirement for boron, and the potassium present in prunes helps support bone health. According to Florida State University, prunes may be able to reverse osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

For the study, postmenopausal women were asked to eat 100 grams of dried plums per day and as a result, they had improved bone formation markers after only three months, compared to a control group who were eating 75 grams of dried apples.

(Also Read:

Load Up On These Nutrients For Healthy And Strong Bones

)

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Prunes benefits: A single serving of prunes (100 grams) fulfills the daily requirement for boron

6. Promotes Hair Health

Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss, dryness and discoloration of hair. And prunes are great sources of iron, contributing to the overall health of your hair and offering countless benefits to it.

7. Great for Skin

The vitamins and minerals present in prunes help in maintaining healthy skin. This humble fruit also helps slow down the aging process and delays development of wrinkles. the presence of many minerals make it quit a good snack, further giving you a glowing skin. How’s that for sweet!

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Prunes benefits: The vitamins and minerals present in prunes help in maintaining healthy skin

The Bottom Line?

Eating prunes has its benefits, but don’t overdo it. Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat says, “Prunes are high in natural sugar, so too many may not be good for people watching their weight.

After all, excess of anything is stored as fat in your body. Prunes have such high nutritional values ensuring that you can eat just one piece and still gain measurable nutrients. You can chop them into fine pieces and add them to hot or cold cereal, blend them in smoothies and shakes in the summer as a sugar substitute or throw them in your cookie batter. Since prunes are loaded with fiber and boost energy, they even work well as a pre-workout snack”.

You can even add prunes in a savoury dish. Basically, any dish you would pair with raisins, pairs beautifully with prunes. Simmer prunes with apples in chicken broth to create a sauce that works well with chicken or pork.

You can also boil prunes until they are soft and then puree them to make a prune paste that can be spread on toast, or use bite-sized prunes to top off pizza, pancakes and waffles for added flavour.

How effective is prune juice for losing weight?

Not very. At best, it’ll encourage the passing of fluids and solids through your body. So, of you’re constipated, it’ll break up your pee, and it’s similar to cranberry juice in that it induces urination. So, really, any weight lost is due mostly, if not entirely, to water weight. And water weight is so very easy to gain back.

The best thing to do is establish where your problems lie. For me, I have a problem with overeating, but lose weight easily. So there the focus would be shifted to mindful/healthy eating habits. or others, they eat alright but don’t exercise, so the focus would need to…

Impact on certain health conditions

Be sure to ask your doctor if prunes or prune juice is right for you. High-fiber foods and drinks can have a negative effect on people with certain diseases, such as ulcerative colitis.

Other potential side effects and a caution

Prunes do contain trace amounts of histamine, so it’s possible (though uncommon) to develop an allergy to them. Should you experience allergy symptoms that you think are related to consuming prunes or their juice, stop eating prunes or drinking prune juice and consult a doctor.

Through the drying process, prunes form a chemical known as acrylamide in very small traces. This chemical, which is found in much higher concentrations in foods such as potato chips and french fries, is considered to be a carcinogen by the National Cancer Institute.

If you eat a diet full of whole, fresh foods, the risk of acrylamide contamination from prune juice is extremely low (but higher for smokers).

You shouldn’t drink prune juice if you’re already experiencing diarrhea.

Protein Considerations

Although the fiber in prunes helps fill you up, protein increases satiety more than carbs, and fat increases energy expenditure, notes a 2008 review published in the «American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

» It’s beneficial, therefore, to eat a lean, protein-rich food, such as egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat, plain Greek yogurt, fat-free milk, seitan or skinless, grilled chicken breast, with your small portion of prunes to help control your overall caloric intake when trying to lose weight.

Recommended Portions

The publication «Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010» suggests that you eat a 1-cup equivalent from the fruits group every day when you are following a 1,200-calorie-a-day plan and consuming a 1.5-cup portion from the fruits group, when following a 1,600-calorie meal plan.

A 1/2 cup portion of prunes is equivalent to a 1-cup portion from the fruits group, notes ChooseMyPlate.gov. Therefore, eating 1/2 cup of prunes fills your daily fruit allotment, when following a 1,200-calorie, weight-loss meal plan.

Weight gain

While adding prunes and prune juice to your diet can help with weight loss, consuming them with abandon can have the opposite effect.

A serving size of six uncooked prunes (or 57 g) has 137 calories and 21.7 g of sugar. A 1-cup serving of prune juice has about 182 calories. So you should be mindful of the calories and sugar in these food items, which can add up if you consume them often throughout the day.

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