Researchers look at diets of more than 21,800 people
By TIM HEARDEN
SACRAMENTO -- A new study suggests that people who regularly consume grapes, raisins or grape juice gravitate toward healthier overall eating habits.
The study, presented Oct. 9 at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia, examined federal data on the diets of more than 21,800 children and adults.
Researchers funded by the National Grape and Wine Initiative here found that consumers of non-alcoholic grape products had increased intakes of total and whole fruit as well as dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C and B6, according to a news release.
"I think it shows that not only do people who consume grapes and grape products tend to have larger consumption of other food items that are important to the diet, but they also show a tendency to consume less of those things they shouldn't eat," said Jean-Mari Peltier, Grape and Wine Initiative president.
The initiative works with government agencies and universities on research to assist industries related to grapes, which are a leading specialty crop.
For this study, initiative researchers looked at data from the 2003-08 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which examines interviews of patients about their diets as well as physical examinations, Peltier said.
Among its findings was that adult consumers of grapes showed increased intakes of vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds -- along with lower intakes of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol -- than non-consumers.
Dietary fiber, calcium and potassium are particularly important for consumers, as most Americans are currently not getting enough of those nutrients in their daily diets, the initiative contends.