Can prunes help the food industry reach sugar reduction aims?

Published: 19-Jun-2024

Prunes can offer the food industry a tasty natural source of sugar with functional benefits

The California Prune Board, an organisation championing the consumption of prunes for their health benefits, suggest that food manufacturers use the dried fruit as a natural alternative to processed sugar.

A study from the University of Southampton earlier this year indicated that one in four children aged 10–11 in England are obese. 

The findings, published in PLOS One, involved the analysis of more than one million children, and highlights the importance of reducing the prevalence of processed sugar in the food offerings in stores — as this is a significant contributing factor to weight gain if consumed in excess.

Why prunes? 

Using naturally sweet California Prunes as a sugar (and even fat replacement) in foods can further benefit manufacturers looking to improve the nutritional profile of products. 

Prunes have a proven European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) health claim thanks to the fibre they contain, which states eating 100g of prunes daily contributes to normal bowel function. 

Meanwhile, several studies point to the positive effects prunes can have on bone health, and more recently how they can help reduce abdominal fat and the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Furthermore, a recent white paper supported by Whitworths also outlines the benefits of nuts, seeds and dried fruit as a healthier alternative to ultra-processed snacks.


Naturally occurring sugars are in the cell wall of plants; altering the way and rate that the body absorbs the sugar

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Jo Travers commented: “Naturally occurring sugars in dried fruits don’t have the same effect on the body’s blood sugar levels that added sugar does, as naturally occurring sugars are bound up in the cell wall of plants; altering the way and rate that the body absorbs the sugar. Once sugar is isolated from the cell walls, such as in fruit juice, it becomes a free sugar and is then absorbed in a similar way to table sugar.”

“Sugar has a big effect on blood glucose levels and abdominal weight gain, which increases the risks of developing common diseases. Adults should have no more than 30g of added sugar and children should have no more than 24g per day.”




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