Crunchies Product ReviewMarch 5, 2016 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Why would anyone actively avoid eating fruit? For some, this question can be answered in one word: sugar. Most fruits contain a significant amount of naturally occurring fructose and glucose. But, much like other whole foods, fruit also features additional components. Fat, fiber, nutrients and a long list of phytochemicals dictate the blood sugar response and overall health impact of any given fruit. For instance, avocados are rich in both fat and fiber, which makes them an ideal choice for those concerned about blood sugar fluctuations. However, the reality is that most fruits do not contain much fat. Therefore, fruit selection ought to focus on fiber, nutrient-density and phytochemical content.
For most people, it’s usually possible to find fresh fruit. But, in some instances, such as when traveling, it’s handy to have a portable, stable form of fruit. Crunchies, an all-natural line of freeze-dried fruits, fits well into this category. Numerous studies report that freeze drying is one of the better technologies available to preserve the nutrient and phytochemical content of various foods – including fruit. And, best of all, Crunchies are made almost exclusively of freeze-dried apples, blueberries, purple grapes, raspberries, strawberries and other nutritious fruits. It should also be noted that the sugar content of freeze-dried fruit is dramatically lower than that of conventionally dried fruits like black currants, “craisins” and figs.
My two favorite Crunchies products are their blueberries and strawberries. In fact, many of the high profile studies conducted on these berries used freeze-dried (FD) berry powders. In the case of blueberries, current research indicates that they improve antioxidant status, blood pressure and circulatory health without raising blood sugar. FD strawberries have an even stronger track record in the medical literature. Individuals who consume FD strawberries on a daily basis show a myriad of health benefits, including reduced HbA1C (a measure of long term blood sugar), inflammation, LDL cholesterol and post-meal insulin. Most of the positive effects relate to cardiometabolic health i.e. diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Having said that, other intriguing findings have been discovered, such as enhanced immunity in overweight adults.
I’m well aware that many of my readers are following low carbohydrate diets. Understandably, the thought of introducing more fruit into that paradigm may be worrisome. My advice is simply to try it out. Test your blood sugar using a home glucometer. If your personal results are acceptable, then follow up by having your HbA1C tested by your doctor a few months down the line. In all likelihood, the majority will find that their blood sugar isn’t adversely affected by these low-glycemic fruits. For what it’s worth, my own testing revealed minimal effects on blood sugar when I coupled FD fruit with meals and snacks that were high in healthy fat and moderate in protein.
Meal Example: Sardine Bowl and a 1/4 cup serving of Crunchies for dessert.
Snack Example: A handful or walnuts and a 1/4 cup serving of Crunchies.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with an assortment of Crunchies products in order to evaluate my blood sugar response and taste preferences. I can honestly say that I enjoyed the flavors I tried, especially the clean, subtle sweetness and crisp texture. My favorite in terms of taste is the cinnamon apple which reminds me of apple pie. It features only two ingredients: FD apple slices and cinnamon. I didn’t experiment with the banana-strawberry or pineapple flavors, although my 2 year old niece devoured the banana-strawberry Crunchies like it was candy. High praise!
A few notes for the makers of this product line: I’d like to see more information on your packaging and website about the purity of your fruit supply. They’re described as farm-fresh and non-GMO, but not listed as organic. It would be interesting to know what steps are taken to ensure minimal levels of pesticide residues. If you plan to expand your product line, I’d like to suggest black raspberries and kiwi fruit. FD black raspberries show enormous potential in the realm of cancer prevention and metabolic syndrome. They’re low in sugar and a great source of antioxidants and fiber as well. FD kiwi has prebiotic properties that promote regularity. This would be a great fit for frequent flyers who contend with occasional traveler’s constipation. Something to consider!
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Impact of Processing on the Bioavailability and Vascular Effects … (link)
Study 2 – Effects of Hot Air and Freeze Drying Methods on Antioxidant Activity … (link)
Study 3 – Changes of Hydrogen Peroxide and Radical-Scavenging Activity of … (link)
Study 4 – Differences in Antioxidant Levels of Fresh, Frozen and Freeze-Dried … (link)
Study 5 – Effect of Freeze-Drying and Oven-Drying on Volatiles and Phenolics … (link)
Study 6 – Absorption of Anthocyanins from Blueberries and Serum Antioxidant … (link)
Study 7 – The Effect of Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium Angustifolium) Consumption … (link)
Study 8 – Daily Blueberry Consumption Improves Blood Pressure and Arterial … (link)
Study 9 – Effect of a Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium Angustifolium) Drink Intervention … (link)
Study 10 – Blueberries Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Obese Men and … (link)
Study 11 – A Dose-Response Evaluation of Freeze-Dried Strawberries … (link)
Study 12 – Freeze-Dried Strawberries Lower Serum Cholesterol and Lipid … (link)
Study 13 – Effects of Freeze-Dried Strawberry Supplementation on Metabolic … (link)
Study 14 – Dietary Strawberries Increase the Proliferative Response of … (link)
Study 15 – Strawberries Decrease Atherosclerotic Markers in Subjects with … (link)
Study 16 – Strawberry Modulates LDL Oxidation and Postprandial Lipemia … (link)
Study 17 – Beneficial Regulation of Metabolic Profiles by Black Raspberries … (link)
Study 18 – Plasma Cytokines as Potential Response Indicators to Dietary Freeze- … (link)
Study 19 – Kiwifruit (Actinidia Deliciosa) Changes Intestinal Microbial Profile … (link)
Study 20 – Effects of Kivia Powder on Gut Health in Patients with Occasional … (link)
Study 21 – Increasing Dietary Fiber Intake in Terms of Kiwifruit Improves … (link)
FD Blueberries Improve Circulation via Increased Endothelial Function
Source: Nutrients. 2015 May 27;7(6):4107-23. (link)
Tags: Blueberries, Kiwi, Strawberries
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews