Association of raisin consumption with nutrient intake, diet quality, and health risk factors in US adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001–2012
Raisins are one of the most commonly consumed dried fruits. Because of their unique nutrient profile, raisins may have some distinctive health benefits. The purpose of this study was to examine the cross-sectional association between raisin consumption and nutrient intake, dietary quality, body weight, and metabolic syndrome risk factors in adults. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2001–2012 ( n = 29,684) were used. Raisin consumers ( n = 458, 60% female) were defined as those having any amount of raisins during the first 24 h dietary recall. Diet quality was calculated using the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010). Covariate (demographic and lifestyle)-adjusted regression analyses were conducted using appropriate sample weights and significance was set at p < 0.01. Raisin consumers had higher intakes of energy (9%); higher intakes of ‘nutrients of public health concern/shortfall nutrients’, such as dietary fiber (34%), potassium (16%), magnesium (22%), vitamin C (24%), and vitamin E (22%); and lower intakes of ‘nutrients to limit’, such as added sugar (−17%), saturated fat (−15%), and sodium (−10%), than non-consumers. No associations were observed for intakes of calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, and folate. Consumers had higher intakes of total fruit (72%), whole fruit (111%), vegetables (22%), and whole grains (109%), and had a higher diet quality, as indicated by 25% higher total HEI-2010 scores than non-consumers. Compared to non-consumers, raisin consumers had a lower body weight (−4.2%), body mass index (−5.2%), and waist circumference (−3.8%), were 39% less likely to be overweight or obese, and had a 54% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. In conclusion, raisin consumption was associated with better nutrient intake, diet quality, and weight parameters, and with lower risk of being obese and having metabolic syndrome in US adults.