In a new observational study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers looked at the association of grape consumption, in the non-alcoholic forms most commonly consumed – fresh grapes, raisins and 100% grape juice – with the diet quality of a recent, nationally representative sample of U.S. children and adults. Their findings suggest that, among adults and children, consumption of grapes and grape products is associated with healthier dietary patterns and improved nutrient intakes.
Researchers analyzed the diets of more than 21,800 children and adults using data from the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and found that consumers of grapes and grape products had increased intakes of total and whole fruit, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, and potassium versus non-consumers. Dietary fiber, calcium and potassium are especially important, as most Americans are currently not getting enough of these essential nutrients in their daily diets.
Adult grape and grape product consumers also had increased intakes of vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds along with lower intakes of added sugars, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, versus non-consumers.
"It is interesting to note that not only did grape consumers have increased intakes of healthy foods, and critical vitamins and minerals," said lead author Carla McGill, PhD, "but grape consumers also ate less of unhealthy foods, specifically solid fat and added sugars."
This new study complements an extensive body of research supporting the role grapes, raisins and 100% grape juice can play in a healthy lifestyle.
"It reinforces the association between grapes and a healthier diet, which is good news for consumers," said Jean-Mari Peltier, Executive Director of the National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI). "Grapes, raisins and 100% grape juice are all foods that people enjoy eating, and this information adds another dimension to the grape and health story."
Explore further: Grape consumption associated with healthier dietary patterns