UK consumers are failing to meet the recommended level of fibre intake – which is so important for gut health – in their diet. But a new UK research study funded by the California Prune Board that is published this month, suggests that prunes could be a convenient solution to helping the nation address this issue.
The study, undertaken by researchers at King’s College London – a renowned centre of excellence for nutrition and digestive health – adds weight to the existing authorised health claim for prunes by showing that eating just 80 g daily – not the previously believed 100 g as per the current EU claim – of prunes achieves the same desired effect.
Scientists at King’s College London based their research on a group of healthy adults with low fibre intakes and infrequent bowel movements and found that the daily addition of just 80 g of prunes in the diet can dramatically increase fibre intake by 29%, resulting in significantly improved bowel function. Current UK intakes of fibre are approximately 18g / day which is in sharp contrast to the recommended 30g / day. Increasing fibre intake is the recommended route to reducing the risk of diseases such as colorectal cancer, haemorrhoids and constipation.
120 healthy adults were randomly assigned to one of three groups for 4 weeks whilst consuming their regular diet and maintaining normal activity levels: 300 ml water only (the control group); 80 g prunes and 300 ml water; or 120 g prunes and 300 ml water. There was no change in body weight over the four week study in any of the three groups. Once again, this research dismisses the myth that adding prunes to the diet causes weight increase, reinforcing the results of a previous trial by the University of Liverpool .