Yes, we need this kind of research, but really, I don’t think anyone would be surprised by the results. Which snack more filling?

  • 65 calories of mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
  • 65 calories of a fruit-flavored candy (made with real fruit juice)

Give people a snack: one day candy, another day fruit. An hour later, let them eat as much pasta as they want. What happened?

A 20% increase in pasta calories after the candy compared to the fruit.

  • The candy snackers consumed 825 calories’ worth of pasta
  • The fruit snackers consumed 690 calories’ worth of pasta

From a nutrition perspective, fruit is clearly healthier than candy. But it’s the habits perspective that matters more.

From a habits perspective, it is important to teach kids that fruit and vegetables are the go-to food. Plus, every bite pays off. The better your kids eat at snack, the less you have to worry about how well they eat at dinner.

Read Fruit and Vegetables at Every Meal and Every Snack, Every Darned Day and 10 Ways Improving Your Kids’ Snacking Will Improve YOUR Life.

This was a small study, only 12 women, but I don’t think we need much more to establish that eating fruit holds you over between meals better than candy.

Candy ingredients: Sugar, Glucose Syrup (contains Sulphites), Water, Gelatine, Concentrated Fruit Juices** (1%) (Apple, Strawberry, Blackcurrant, Raspberry), Acid (Citric Acid), Colours (Anthocyanins, Vegetable Carbon), Flavourings, **Equivalent to 5.5% Fruit Juice

Fruit ingredients: Fruit

  • Less sugar
  • More volume
  • More fiber
  • More chewing

And…reinforcing the importance of the mind: researchers speculate that the fruit snack may have produced higher expected satiety. People think they’re fuller and more satisfied so afterwards they eat less food.

Enough said!

Thanks to The Center for Science in the Public Interest for writing about this study in their Jan/Feb 2016 Nutrition Action Healthletter.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Source: James, L. J., M. P. Funnell, and S. Milner. 2015. “An Afternoon Snack of Berries Reduces Subsequent Energy Intake Compared to an Isoenergetic Confectionary Snack.” Appetite 95: 132-37.