The #1 Best Snack to Crush Your Hunger Cravings, New Study Says
Snacking can be a convenient way to keep yourself feeling full throughout the day. It can also be a handy way to prevent weight gain and even help you achieve weight loss. That is if you like to nibble on dried fruit. In fact, a new study published by the Nutrition Bulletin journal has found that prunes can actually help curb your food cravings.
When researchers from the University of Liverpool first took a look at how participants in their study responded to snacking on items that had a similar number of calories—prunes, raisins, or a candy that was like a jelly bean—they found that those who were eating prunes felt more satisfied and were eating less when mealtimes rolled around. The researchers then split participants into two groups who were both put on programs to help them lose weight. The only difference between the two groups was that one was to snack on healthy food in general while the other was specifically told to eat prunes. Those in the second group apparently lost more weight than the others.
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"These studies demonstrate that dried fruit can both produce satiety and be incorporated into the diet during weight management," said Professor Jason C G Halford, from the University of Leeds and President of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), who was one of the researchers involved in the study, according to a press release.
Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD Nutrition Advisor for the California Prune Board added that "[t]his study reveals that nutrient-dense prunes can provide an advantage over other snack choices due to their favorable effects on satiety and appetite control."
But do other experts agree? Lisa R. Young, PhD, RDN, nutrition consultant, adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU, and the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim & The Portion Teller Plan, explains to Eat This, Not That!, "Prunes contain fiber which helps people feel more full which is good for weight loss." However, Young also noted that "it's easy to eat too many" prunes, "and the calories can add up." That's why "portion control is key."
Beyond that, Paula Doebrich, RDN, MPH, the owner of the private nutrition practice Happea Nutrition, tells ETNT! that while "prunes are a great food, … like any dried fruit, they are high in sugar."
That's why Doebrich notes: "I would advise to combine a prune snack with a source of protein and to stick to one serving at a time (about five prunes). Additionally, too many prunes might result in gastrointestinal discomfort because of their mild laxative effect."
To find out more about what you should know about this particular dried fruit, be sure to read One Major Effect of Eating Prunes, Says Dietitian.