Archive For The “Health” Category

Schmieding Produce Launches New 100 Calorie Skinny Potato

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PotSkinnyby Schmieding Produce

According to research from PaleoLeap, the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and Christmas is 3.5 pounds, but overweight people gain an average of 5 to 10 pounds during this time frame. January is a key month for Americans to lose weight.

“We are extremely excited about the launch of our new 100 Calorie- Skinny potato product next week,” says Scott McDulin- Vice President of Marketing/Retail Sales with Schmieding Produce. During January, everybody wants to focus on health.

“We think the January timeframe is perfect since people are actively looking for diet friendly items to help with nutritional meal planning. The Skinny potato is a 100-calorie potato that offers consumers an opportunity to use smart portion control while keeping potatoes as part of a healthy diet,” mentioned McDulin.

100-calorie products

Supermarkets are filled with 100-calorie packs of yogurt, pretzels, popcorn, snacks, etc. “Nabisco recently launched 100-calorie packs of Oreo’s,” shared McDulin. “It shows that the 100-calorie measurement resonates with today’s consumers so we wanted to add the same portion controlled serving to the potato segment.”

The serving size for this Non GMO potato is 4.8 oz. or 135g which equates to 100-calories. “Since it’s a natural product, not all potatoes will exactly have the same weight, but they will have a tight spec during sorting,” mentioned McDulin. Schmieding Produce sells the premium product in 3 lb. bags, offering approximately 10-12 potatoes in a bag.

Opportunities in declining Russet market

The development of the 100 Calorie- Skinny potato program is the result of the declining Russet market. “The potato industry is witnessing tremendous growth in the specialty segment with consumers increasingly demanding smaller, convenience-type of packs”, declared McDulin. Larger, 15 lb. bags are declining while growth of 5 lb. and 10 lb. bags is flat. “Breathing life into the Russet potato segment will provide us and the retailer tremendous incremental growth opportunities given the significant size of the overall Russet market. Today, Russets represent 53 percent of overall potato sales dollars. So, we are going to fish where the big fish are.”

Premium product

Since only 8% of potatoes fit this size profile, it will be offered at a premium. Offered in conventional and organic, the suggested retail price of $1.99 per bag for conventional and will be promoted back to $1.49. The suggested retail price of the organic alternative will be $3.49 with a $2.99 ad. It is available in Hy-Vee and other select markets across the nation.

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United Foundation Has Grants to Increase Kids’ Produce Consumption

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The United Fresh Start Foundation is launching a new community grants program to help advance the organization’s mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

The new inDSCN4085itiative will provide $25,000 in grants to local community organizations and groups that share the United Fresh Start Foundation’s commitment to increasing kids’ access to fresh produce, ensuring they develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. This effort extends the foundation’s work beyond the school day and will provide children with fresh fruit and vegetables after school, on weekends and during summer breaks.

“Food insecurity and obesity are major challenges for millions of children across the country,” Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We are proud of the work we have done in schools to increase fresh fruits and vegetables, but we know that many children need access when school is out. The program is designed to ensure kids have access throughout the day and the year.”

During a recent Produce Legends Dinner in New Orleans, the foundation announced the plans to launch the Community Grants Program. The foundation is committing $25,000 to the 2017 Community Grants Program. Grants will be available in various amounts up to $2,500. Applications will be accepted this spring and the recipients will be announced during the United Fresh Show this June in Chicago.

The United Fresh Start Foundation is focused on one core mission — to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Organic, Genetically Modified Food: Opinions Differ

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DSCN7077There differing opinion by Americans  on the value of organic foods and concerns about genetically modified (GM) foods, according to a new poll.

A poll of 1,480 adults nationwide found that 55 percent said organically grown produce is healthier than conventionally grown produce, while 41 percent said there’s no difference, says The Pew Research Center.

Nearly four out of 10 respondents said GM foods are worse for health than other foods, while almost 50 percent believe is no difference.  Ten percent said GM foods are healthier, the researchers found.

Genetically modified foods come from plants, animals or microorganisms in which their DNA has been altered by technology.

“The data suggest that people’s divisions are linked to their interest in food issues and how they think food consumption ties to their well-being,” said Cary Funk, lead author and associate director of research at Pew.

“Their views are not driven by their political attitudes, their level of education, their household income, or where they live,” she noted in a center news release.

Some of the other survey results:

  • Thirty-four percent said some of the food they eat is organic. Six percent said most of it is.
  • Women care more than men about the issue of GM foods — 20 percent versus 12 percent, respectively. And they’re more pessimistic than men about the effect genetically modified foods may have on society.
  • Broken down by age, 18- to 49-year-olds were more likely than older adults to consider organic produce better for health. Similarly, many more young adults said GM food is worse for health than non-GM food, compared with those 65 and older.
  • Among those who care deeply about the issue of genetically modified foods, three-quarters consider GM foods worse for health, compared with 17 percent of those with little or no concern about GM foods.

The survey also found that 18 percent of respondents are focused on healthy and nutritious eating. These people are especially likely to believe that organic produce is healthier than regular produce.

Many respondents lack trust in scientists studying GM foods, the survey found.

More than one-third “say scientists do not understand the health effects of GM at all or not too well,” Funk said. Meanwhile, “just 19 percent of Americans say scientists understand the health effects of GM foods ‘very well.’ ”


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Who is Driving Growth Of Vegetable Consumption

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aageneralproduceshotby The NPD Group, Inc

Chicago — The continual parental reminder to “eat your vegetables” stuck with Millennials and Gen Zs because they are driving the growth in fresh and frozen vegetable consumption, but many of the parents who offered the reminder are not eating theirs, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company.  Younger consumers, those under age 40, have increased the annual eatings per capita of fresh vegetables by 52 percent and frozen vegetables by 59 percent over the last decade. Boomers, ages 60 and up, on the other hand, decreased their consumption of fresh vegetables by 30 percent and frozen vegetables by 4 percent over the same period.

Increased consumption of fresh vegetables is an outcome of the shift to fresh foods among young consumers over the last decade.  Generational change is partly responsible for the move to fresh as younger consumers are adopting fresh at a much earlier age than the generations before them. Millennials and Gen Zs will sustain the growth of fresh vegetable consumption as they age into their heaviest consumption years. Over the next several years fresh vegetable consumption is forecast to increase by 10 percent, an increase that will be tempered by the lower eating rates of Boomers, according to NPD Group’s

A Generational Study:  The Evolution of Eating.

Frozen vegetable consumption, which was declining earlier this decade, is now on the rise due to the interest of more health-conscious Millennials and Gen Zs.  Just as they did with fresh vegetable consumption, these younger consumers are eating more frozen vegetables than previous generations did at their ages.  Although the category’s growth forecast is not as strong as fresh vegetables, consumption of frozen vegetables is forecast to increase by 3 percent through 2024.

“Vegetable consumption among younger consumers is a reflection of their more health-conscious eating behaviors,” says David Portalatin, vice president, food industry analyst at NPD Group and author of the recently published Eating Patterns in America.  “Our research shows that their attitudes about eating vegetables will not shift as they age and go through their life stages. Their parents and grandparents, on the other hand, may need a reminder from the younger generations to eat their vegetables.”

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results. The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches / jewelry.

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Incomes, Education Linked to Higher Veg Consumption

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USDAby Biing-Hwan Lin and Rosanna Mentzer Morrison

Data on vegetable consumption broken down by income level reveal that individuals (children and adults) in households with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty level consumed smaller quantities of potatoes and tomatoes than people in households with incomes above that level. In 2007-08, lower income individuals consumed 49.3 and 28.1 pounds per person per year of potatoes and tomatoes, respectively, and those with higher incomes consumed 53.8 pounds of potatoes and 32.1 pounds of tomatoes per person. A bigger difference was observed in consumption of other vegetables (nonpotato and nontomato): 85.8 pounds per person for higher income individuals versus 69.8 pounds per person for lower income individuals.

The more educated the adult, the more other vegetables (nonpotato and nontomato) eaten. In 2007-08, college-educated adults consumed 187.4 pounds of total vegetables per person per year, of which 100.7 pounds were other vegetables. Adults with only a high school education ate 181.9 pounds of total vegetables per person, of which 87.6 pounds were other vegetables. Adults who had less than a high school education consumed 158.2 pounds per person of all vegetables, of which 76.3 pounds were other vegetables.

Consumption Trends Consistent Across Demographic Groups for Juice…

Total fruit consumption was lower in 2007-08 than in 1994-98 for all four age and gender groups. For example, girls’ consumption of fruit declined from 131.3 pounds per person per year in 1994-98 to 121.2 pounds in 2007-08. Some of the decline in total fruit consumption was due to less orange juice being drunk by all four groups. Orange juice is the largest fruit category in terms of consumption, and average U.S. consumption fell from the equivalent of 38.3 pounds of oranges per person per year in 1994-98 to 30.9 pounds in 2007-08.

Falling orange juice consumption, however, was not the only driver of declining fruit consumption—declines were common for other fruits as well. Apple juice, berries, and grapes were the only fruits and fruit categories that had higher average U.S. consumption in 2007-08 than in 1994-98. Every demographic group examined displayed the same patterns for apple juice and orange juice consumption—larger quantities of apple juice and smaller quantities of orange juice were consumed in 2007-08 versus 1994-98.

… But Not For Whole Fruits

Trends in whole fruit consumption were not consistent across demographic groups. In this study, whole fruits comprised all categories of fruits consumed, minus orange juice and apple juice. Thus, whole fruit consumption includes a relatively small amount of juices from other fruits, such as pineapple juice and grape juice, in addition to whole fruits. Federal dietary guidance advises that at least half a person’s recommended daily intake of fruits be whole fruits.

Whole fruit consumption declined for the age and gender groups between 1994-98 and 2007-08. For example, boys’ consumption of whole fruits fell from 71.9 pounds per person per year in 1994-98 to 65.4 pounds in 2007-08. For non-college-educated adults, consumption of whole fruits was relatively stable over the period, averaging around 65 pounds per person per year; for college-educated adults, it fell from 93.7 pounds in 1994-98 to 83.2 pounds in 2007-08.

Higher income consumers’ consumption of whole fruit fell from 81.2 pounds per person per year in 1994-98 to 75.7 pounds in 2007-08, whereas lower income individuals consumed similar quantities in both periods. Non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics’ consumption of whole fruits declined between 1994-98 and 2007-08, while non-Hispanic Blacks’ consumption in the two periods rose from 65.5 to 71.4 pounds per person per year.

Multiple Factors Affect What We Buy and Eat

ERS’s food availability and loss-adjusted food availability data show that Americans are not increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables, despite the exhortations of health and nutrition experts. Federal food intake surveys also point out lower fruit and vegetable consumption. The big question for future research is why? In some cases, one or two particular fruits and vegetables make up much of the decrease. For vegetables, U.S. potato consumption has fallen from 61.3 to 52.0 pounds per person between 1994-98 and 2007-08, with bigger relative drops for boys and no change in potato consumption for non-Hispanic Blacks. Declining orange juice consumption among all demographic groups is the largest contributor to lower fruit consumption.

Substitution among some products is also evident. Head lettuce is down, but leafy greens—such as spinach and kale—are up. Between 1994-98 and 2007-08, consumption of nonpotato and nontomato vegetables by women grew slightly from 85.5 to 87.7 pounds per person per year. For girls, boys, and men, small declines in consumption of nonpotato and nontomato vegetables occurred. Less bananas and citrus fruits are being consumed, but consumption of berries has risen over the decade. Increases in some whole fruits were not enough to offset declines in other fruits, and whole fruit consumption fell for all age and gender groups.

Food choices are complex, and a multitude of factors affect what we buy and eat. Life style changes and time constraints can determine if we sit down with a glass of orange juice for breakfast, grab a banana on the way out, or forgo the meal altogether. Time for and interest in cooking play a role, too. More eating out could mean more fries on the side or consumption of vegetables not usually prepared at home. Dietary fads and widespread popularity of ethnic cuisines can cause shifts in food choices, including for fruits and vegetables.

The price of products and the income available to buy them can also affect a person’s food choices. Smaller food budgets over time or higher prices due to supply constraints or other factors can induce one to switch to a lower priced alternative food item. Observing national trends and patterns for demographic groups is a first step in analyzing what is driving food choice and potential changes over time.


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RipeLock Bananas Aim To Keep the Fruit Fresher

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by AgroFresh Solutions, Inc.

ripelock_bagboxPHILADELPHIA —  An innovation from AgroFresh is bringing new life to bananas — with RipeLock – a technology proven to help consistently keep high-quality bananas at the optimal color on display at retail. While it’s important for retailers to stay up on consumer demands for new fruit varieties and packaging options, the quality of flagship items, such as bananas, remain a key indicator for overall consumer perception of the produce department.

Retailers recognize that a limiting factor in sales and consumption is that bananas ripen too quickly. With the new RipeLock™ Quality System from AgroFresh, suppliers, ripeners and retailers now have the tools to deliver bananas with greater consumer appeal and a broader window of freshness. At the same time, shrink and markdowns can be reduced, facilitating sales and inventory management.

“A trend we’re watching is how consumers are looking for healthy snacks and innovative packaging options,” said Kevin Frye, RipeLock North American sales manager for AgroFresh. “These are also the qualities that make RipeLock bananas the perfect option for both on-the-go snacking and increased at-home consumption.”

“RipeLock enhances the banana’s natural ripening process to maintain their bright, yellow color, fresh taste, creamy texture and appealing look significantly longer than traditionally ripened bananas,” Frye said.

RipeLock helps increase the demand for quality produce.

A recent study by MMR Research Worldwide in United Kingdom reveals how RipeLock positively affects banana taste and appearance. In the study, seven out of ten consumers preferred the quality of RipeLock bananas.

“When retailers can stock more appealing, longer-lasting bananas, it not only translates into more banana sales, it’s been proven to drive overall produce sales,” Frye said. “This is because consumers feel confident in the quality and freshness of the other fruit in the store.”

Craig Stephen, a leader in the banana industry for more than 20 years and past Produce Marketing Association Board member, agrees.

“Produce managers that can consistently offer bananas at color stage 5 generate higher consumption and more repeat customers. Until now, that was not possible due to the risk of high shrink.”

RipeLock helps reduce food waste.

The MMR Research Worldwide study also demonstrates the ability of RipeLock to reduce waste by maintaining fruit longer at the optimal color and flavor — both in the store and in the home.

“In talking with banana consumers all over the world, they’ve expressed for years that the biggest unmet need is longer shelf-life, that bananas ripen too quickly, leading to under consumption,” Stephen said.

RipeLock adds flexibility to the supply chain
The longer shelf-life also gives retailers the ability to have consistent, high-quality fruit on display longer with less frequent restocking and without extra deliveries. And in most back-room environments, RipeLock reduces the need to ‘air stack’ boxes.

“Many non-traditional outlets, like coffee shops and convenience stores, are not offering fresh fruit, resulting in a big missed opportunity for sales. Longer-lasting RipeLock bananas can make servicing these non-traditional outlets simpler and more economical, and can lead to increased sales and consumption,” Frye said.

A recent independent study with consumers in the United Kingdom reveals how RipeLock positively affects banana taste and appearance — both key factors in buying decisions.


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National Kale Day Continues to Grow

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img_68971By National Kay Day

New York, NY— What began as a grassroots effort to celebrate the nutritional benefits of kale as a trending superfood, has grown into a worldwide movement. This year marks the fourth annual National Kay Day, which was held recently.

Spearheaded by Co-Founders Dr. Drew Ramsey & Chef Jennifer Iserloh, authors of the bestselling book 50 Shades of Kale, the movement began in 2013 when Ramsey and Iserloh, along with a dedicated army of kale lovers, hosted the first event in October and reached hundreds of thousands of consumers gaining millions of impressions for kale.

In fact, this year’s kale army has grown into quite a military operation with all DeCA military commissaries throughout the U.S. promoted kale October 3-9, 2016. In addition to the weeklong promotion, all 144 commissaries had special signage and in-store events that included demos and recipes of kale smoothies, stir-fry and salads.

In recent years, kale’s popularity has grown in both supermarkets and on restaurant menus. In fact, Whole Foods Market now buys and sells more kale than all other greens combined and other retailers have reported triple digit sales increases. This growing interest in kale has growers and manufacturers excited about the opportunity to promote not just kale, but all leafy greens. While some say that kale’s day has passed, others know that what no longer appears as trending has moved to the mainstream when it’s become easy to find kale at places like Chick-Fil-A and McDonalds.

This year’s celebrations will focus on building online communities through social media, in-market events and school participation. Facilitated by an advertising grant from Google, National Kale Day will be actively promoting it’s free downloadable e-cookbook featuring nearly two dozen kale recipes, and the $1000 cool cash kale giveaway. In addition to online events, including an evening Twitter party, health care provider Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, IN will feature a variety of events including giving away over 4000 bunches of kale throughout the community.

In addition, to consumer events, National Kale Day has touched 10 countries, multiple health care institutions, retailers, restaurants and and schools with some of the largest school districts in the country including New York Public Schools planning to serve up kale. Dr. Ramsey remarked, “I have been a proponent of brain foods like kale for years, and there is nothing more exciting than seeing the potential to reach kids early on in their lives and teach them about healthy foods in a fun way.”


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200,000 Plus Meals To Children by GROW Fund

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produceforkidsBy Organics Unlimited

SAN DIEGO – The GROW Fund, a nonprofit program developed by Organics Unlimited, partnered with Produce for Kids to encourage families to take a pledge to pack healthier lunch items during the back-to-school season. For each pledge, GROW by Organics Unlimited and other sponsor brands collectively donated $1 to Feeding America to provide meals for families in need.

Through its Power Your Lunchbox campaign, Produce for Kids collected 21,674 pledges, surpassing its goal of 20,000. Thanks to the campaign sponsors’ donations, Produce for Kids was able to donate enough funds to Feeding America to provide 238,414 meals.

“As a company that grows and sells organic bananas, we provide healthier eating options for individuals and families,” said Mayra Velazquez de León, president of Organics Unlimited and GROW. “We are proud to partner with Produce for Kids and take part in the Power Your Lunchbox campaign, giving our support to children’s health initiatives.”

This is the third year Organics Unlimited has partnered with Produce for Kids, a company that encourages families to eat healthier by providing recipes, expert advice and tips from other parents. The campaign encourages families, teachers and dietitians to take the pledge to eat a healthier lunch.

The Power Your Lunchbox campaign took place from August 8 to September 23, 2016. The campaign consisted of promotion through social media, parent and food bloggers, e-newsletters, media placements and a NatureFresh Greenhouse Tour visiting 36 grocery stores and nine schools to create awareness and encourage people to sign the pledge. The campaign had a total reach of 145 million impressions.

Organics Unlimited participated directly to the campaign through social media outreach, including a Twitter party promoting healthy recipes and facts. The #PowerYourLunchbox Twitter Party on August 17 gave an opportunity for the organization and sponsors to interact with parents and inform them of healthy lunches and lifestyles. During the Twitter Party, there were over 3,761 tweets and more than 14 million impressions. Organics Unlimited alone earned 2,500 impressions.

“We created the GROW Fund to enrich the lives of our farming communities through various education and health programs,” said Velazquez de León. “Although that is what the GROW Fund strives towards, we think that it is equally important to promote a healthier lifestyle towards people in the United States. We believe growing organic bananas is better for the environment, employees and is the healthier option for consumers.”

GROW shares information about eating and environmental sustainability on Facebook and Twitter. GROW also provides healthy recipes for families and retailers on the Organics Unlimited website.

About Organics Unlimited

Organics Unlimited is a San Diego-based distributor of organic tropical fruit from Mexico and South America, providing its traditional label as well as the GROW label. Its fruits are USDA certified organic for the U.S. and Canada through Organic Certifiers. For more information on Organics Unlimited and GROW, visit, or call 619.710.0658. Check out the latest blog post from Organics Unlimited, or find Organics Unlimited on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

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You Can Now Call Avocados ‘Healthy’ ..Finally

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avocadosby Hass Avocado Board

MISSION VIEJO, California – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed new guidance for the use of the nutrient content claim “healthy” on food labeling, and fresh avocados meet the criteria. Long touted for the range of health and wellness benefits associated with them, avocados can finally bear the claim that sums it all up: avocados are healthy.

While 90% of consumers report that they purchase avocados based on the nutritional benefits they provide, 21% still say that the fat content in avocados is a barrier to purchase, despite the fact that the latest science demonstrates that the type of fat, rather than the total amount, is more important to good health.

The term “healthy” on food labels is regulated by the FDA and reserved for foods low in fat among other restrictions. The past definition, which was established more than 20 years ago, focused on total fat content per serving. The new proposed guidance from FDA gives consideration to the breakdown between good (unsaturated) and bad (saturated) fats in light of new evidence and dietary recommendations in the recently published 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Avocados contain 8 g of fat per 50 g serving, over 75% of which are naturally good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Avocados comply with the new FDA guidance because they have a fat profile of predominantly naturally good monounsaturated fats.

“With the pervasiveness of many chronic diseases in the US population, consumers are thinking about the ways to make healthy food choices for themselves and their families” said Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director of the Hass Avocado Board (HAB). “We applaud the FDA for its efforts in updating the guidance on what makes a food healthy, and recognizing that good fats play an important role in healthy diets.”

For industry, this means fresh avocados can start to use the term “healthy” in marketing and communications as well as packaging and point-of-sale materials. HAB is updating its messages and materials to include the claim.

Avocados are a healthy fruit that provide a good source of fiber and folate per 50 g serving (one-third of a medium avocado), and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can enhance the nutrient quality of the diet.  A healthy fruit, avocados are virtually the only fruit that contain monounsaturated fat, and they are sodium, cholesterol and trans-fat free. To learn more about the naturally good fats in avocados, the latest avocado nutrition research and fresh avocado recipes, visit


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Fruits, Veggies Powerful Rx for Kidney Disease

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DSCN2822+1Patients with kidney disease eating three to four more servings of fruits and vegetables every day could lower their blood pressure and nearly cut  medication costs by 50 percent, new research suggests.

The findings stem from the multi-year tracking of a small group of patients, in which standard medical treatment was compared with the simple nutritional intervention.  The goal: to see which approach did a better job at driving down both blood pressure and drug expenses.

The result on both fronts showed a clear win for healthy food.

Dr. Nimrit Goraya, author of the study, described the links seen between increased fruit and vegetable intake, kidney disease control and lower medication expenses as “huge.”  And “the impact was visible from the very first year.  This study has been done over five years, but every year since the therapy with fruits and vegetables began, we were able to lower medications,” she noted.

The program director for nephrology with Baylor Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, TX and  her colleagues recently presented their findings at an American Heart Association meeting on blood pressure, in Orlando, FL

The heart association points out high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure.  The kidneys and the circulatory system depend on each other for good health.

In all, 108 kidney disease patients were enlisted in the study, all of whom were taking similar doses of blood pressure drugs.  Patients were divided into three groups. One group was treated with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), the standard treatment designed to neutralize the lingering acid that kidney patients typically struggle to excrete. Failure to excrete can lead to abnormally high acid levels, a condition known as “metabolic acidosis.”

A second group was not prescribed sodium bicarbonate, but instead was provided three to four servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  These patients were not instructed to alter their usual diet beyond consuming their new fruit and vegetable allotment.

A third group was not treated in any way.

The result: After five years, systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) was pegged at 125 mm Hg among the fruit and vegetable group, compared with 135 mm Hg and 134 mm Hg, respectively, among the medication and no treatment groups.

What’s more, those in the food group were taking considerably lower doses of daily blood pressure medication than those in the other groups, the study authors said.

This translated into a near halving of the food group’s total expenditure on such drugs, down to roughly $80,000 over five years compared with an average total of more than $153,000 among each of the other two groups.

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