What Is Fruit Concentrate? Is It Good For You?

Natalie Jacewicz wrote . . . . . .

If you look in your cupboard and start reading nutrition labels on your favorite box of granola or your gummy vitamins, there’s a good chance you’ll notice a popular ingredient: fruit concentrate.

“Fruit concentrate is not really something I thought about,” says Wendy Rae Little via Twitter. She is a blogger living in Belle Vernon, Pa. But once Little started going through her pantry and began noticing fruit concentrate listed as an ingredient, it influenced her purchases. For example, Little buys only orange juice that says “not from fruit concentrate” on the label, because it “sounds fresher.” But in other products — like the baby food pouches she gives her granddaughter — Little intuitively considers fruit concentrate a healthy ingredient, more-or-less interchangeable with fruit.

So, what is fruit concentrate, exactly? And should consumers avoid it or seek it out?

Fruit concentrate is “fruit with the water removed,” says Caroline West Passerrello, a registered dietitian nutritionist and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It retains the sugar and calories, but it loses the volume, fiber and vitamin C.”

Fruit concentrate was developed in large part because lower volume makes products cheaper to ship and store. But to make it, one has to remove the pulp and skin from fruits, depriving consumers of the fiber they would get from an old-fashioned apple, according to Passerrello. Plus, making fruit concentrate requires heating fruit to remove the water, a process that destroys heat-sensitive vitamin C.

When fiber and vitamin C get squeezed out of fruit, so does much of its nutrition. Fiber helps slow digestion, so consuming fruit concentrate spikes blood sugar more quickly than munching traditional fruit. Vitamin C is a type of antioxidant that helps with a basketful of bodily functions, so losing vitamin C slashes benefits ranging from body tissue formation to immune system response.

In other words, people should view fruit concentrate as an added sugar, similar to high-fructose corn syrup, according to Vasanti Malik, a research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Even if the fruit concentrate is combined with fiber in the final product, Malik says its inclusion should still raise eyebrows.

“We’re seeing children’s cereals that are whole grain, but then have a lot of added sugar” in the form of fruit concentrate, says Malik. “Although it’s better than eating spoons of sugar, it’s not great” because the sugar is included in such large amounts.

She also says fruit juices and processed smoothies can contain a lot of added sugar, with little fiber benefit. Malik notes that fruit juices in general, even those without fruit concentrate, are naturally full of sugars and calories, making them less nutritious than some might believe.

One way to avoid that added sugar is to take matters into your own hands and make your food from scratch. For granola, Passerrello advises using dried fruit and just a little maple syrup. But she admits the time-consuming DIY method “isn’t always realistic.”

She proposes another option for the time-crunched grocery shopper: “If you pick up three granola bars at the store, pick the bar where fruit concentrate [or other added sugar] is last on the ingredient list.” The last item on the ingredient list is usually the smallest in amount. “Hopefully you can find one without it,” she adds.

And Passerrello says the Food and Drug Administration’s updates to nutrition labels will soon make it easier for consumers like Little and the rest of us to figure out how to think about fruit concentrate. Sugar from fruit concentrate, she says, will be called out as an “added sugar.”

Source: npr


Deep-fried Butter


1-1/2 cups unsalted Irish butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tbsp granulated sugar
canola oil
1/4 cup confectioners sugar


  1. Using a spring-loaded melon baller, scoop butter into round balls and place on baking sheets lined with paper towels. Place in freezer to firm.
  2. In a small bowl, combine light brown sugar and 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon. Roll each butter ball in the mixture and place back into freezer. Freeze for 2 hours.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and sugar. Stir buttermilk mixture into dry mixture. It should have the consistency of thick pancake batter that will adhere to the butter balls. Add additional flour if needed.
  5. Pour 1-1/2 to 2 inches of canola oil into a stockpot. Heat to 375°F.
  6. Take butter balls out of the freezer and insert a skewer into each one. Dip in the batter to coat completely, then drop into the hot oil and cook, turning periodically, until golden brown and puffy, about 2 minutes.
  7. Place on paper towels to drain. Dust with confectioners sugar.

Source: Thrillist

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Olive Oil Enriched Dark Chocolate Lowers Cardiovascular Risk

Dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil is associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile, according to research presented today at ESC Congress.

“A healthy diet is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Dr Rossella Di Stefano, a cardiologist at the University of Pisa, Italy. “Fruits and vegetables exert their protective effects through plant polyphenols, which are found in cocoa, olive oil, and apples. Research has found that the Italian Panaia red apple has very high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants.”

This study tested the association between consumption of dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil or Panaia red apple with atherosclerosis progression in healthy individuals with cardiovascular risk factors.

The randomised crossover study included 26 volunteers (14 men, 12 women) with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, or family history of cardiovascular disease) who received 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for 28 days. For 14 consecutive days it contained 10% extra virgin olive oil and for 14 consecutive days it contained 2.5% Panaia red apple. The two types of chocolate were given in random order.

Progression of atherosclerosis was assessed by metabolic changes (levels of carnitine and hippurate), lipid profile, blood pressure and levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). EPCs are critical for vascular repair and maintenance of endothelial function.

Urine and blood samples were collected at baseline and after the intervention. Urine samples were analysed by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for endogenous metabolites. Circulating EPC levels were assessed with flow cytometry. Smoking status, body mass index, blood pressure, glycaemia and lipid profile were also monitored.

After 28 days, the researchers found that the chocolate enriched with olive oil was associated with significantly increased EPC levels and decreased carnitine and hippurate levels compared to both baseline and after consumption of apple-enriched chocolate. Olive oil-enriched chocolate was associated with significantly increased high-density lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol and decreased blood pressure compared to baseline. There was a non-significant decrease in triglyceride levels with apple-enriched chocolate.

Dr Di Stefano said: “We found that small daily portions of dark chocolate with added natural polyphenols from extra virgin olive oil was associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile. Our study suggests that extra virgin olive oil might be a good food additive to help preserve our ‘repairing cells’, the EPC.”

Source: Medical News Today

Eating Protein Three Times a Day Could Make Seniors Stronger

Loss of muscle is an inevitable consequence of aging that can lead to frailty, falls or mobility problems. Eating enough protein is one way to remedy it, but it would seem that spreading protein equally among the three daily meals could be linked to greater mass and muscle strength in the elderly.

These are the findings of a study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in collaboration with the Université de Sherbrooke and the Université de Montréal. The research team examined both the amount of protein consumed and its distribution among people aged 67 and over, using one of the most comprehensive cohort studies in Quebec.

The results of the study, which were published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shed new light on the diet of people in an aging population.

“Many seniors, especially in North America, consume the majority of their daily protein intake at lunch and dinner. We wanted to see if people who added protein sources to breakfast, and therefore had balanced protein intake through the three meals, had greater muscle strength,” says the lead author of the study, Dr. Stéphanie Chevalier, who is a scientist at the RI-MUHC and an assistant professor at the School of Human Nutrition at McGill University.

A rich database of nutrition data

To achieve these results, Dr. Chevalier and her team collaborated with Dr. Hélène Payette of Université de Sherbrooke, who is leading the Quebec longitudinal study on nutrition and aging called NuAge (Nutrition as a Determinant of Successful Aging).

RI-MUHC researchers analyzed data from the NuAge cohort, which included nearly 1,800 people who were followed for three years. They reviewed the protein consumption patterns of 827 healthy men and 914 healthy women aged 67 to 84 years, all residents of Quebec, trying to establish links with variables such as strength, muscle mass or mobility.

“The NuAge study is one of the few studies gathering such detailed data on food consumption among a large cohort of elderly people. We are proud that the NuAge study can contribute to relevant research of this magnitude in Quebec,” says study co-author Dr. Hélène Payette of the Centre for Research on Aging and a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Sherbrooke.

“We observed that participants of both sexes who consumed protein in a balanced way during the day had more muscle strength than those who consumed more during the evening meal and less at breakfast. However, the distribution of protein throughout the day was not associated with their mobility,” explains the first author of the study, Dr. Samaneh Farsijani, a former PhD student supervised by Dr. Chevalier.

A “boost” of amino acids

All body tissues, including the muscles, are composed of proteins, which consist of amino acids. If the protein intake decreases, the synthesis is not done correctly and this leads to a loss of muscle mass.

“Our research is based on scientific evidence demonstrating that older people need to consume more protein per meal because they need a greater boost of amino acids for protein synthesis,” says Dr. Chevalier, adding that one of the essential amino acids known for protein renewal is leucine. “It would be interesting to look into protein sources and their amino acid composition in future studies to further our observations.”

Source: McGill University Health Centre

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