May 1, 2007/Business Wire/Concord, Mass. -- According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, only 3% of Americans' fruit and vegetable intake is from the purple/blue category. Yet, these fruits and vegetables contain an abundance and variety of antioxidants and phytonutrients not found in other colors of fruits and vegetables. An analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999-2002) was presented this week at the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting that provides further reasons to include a glass of 100% grape juice made from Concord grapes and other purple/blue fruits and vegetables in your diet.

The analysis found that adults who consumed purple/blue fruits and vegetables had reduced risk for three of the five factors that define the metabolic syndrome, a group of indicators that may predict risk for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The American Heart Association estimates that over 50 million Americans have metabolic syndrome.

The five determinants of metabolic syndrome are: elevated blood pressure, low HDL or "good cholesterol," increased blood glucose (sugar), elevated blood triglycerides (lipids) and increased waist size (often associated with overweight or obesity). According to the NHANES analysis, those who consumed purple/blue fruits and vegetables had significantly decreased risk of elevated blood pressure, low HDL and increased waist size compared to those who did not consume fruits and vegetables of this color grouping.

Additionally, adults who consumed purple/blue fruits and vegetables were significantly less likely to be overweight (BMI>25) or obese (BMI>30) compared to those who did not include this food group.

A survey of the NHANES data found that the most popular purple/blue fruits and vegetables consumed were: grapes, 100% grape juice, and raisins - accounting for almost 60% of purple/blue usage occasions. This is supported by a Produce for Better Health Foundation study, which found that grape juice was the number one way that consumers included purple/blue fruits or vegetables into their diets1.

The NHANES analysis also looked specifically at the subgroup of grape juice drinkers versus non-drinkers. Grape juice made from Concord grapes is a rich source of protective, natural antioxidants and offers a convenient, versatile, and affordable way to incorporate more purple fruit into the diet.

The NHANES grape juice analysis showed thatchildren and adults who consumed 100% grape juice:
- showed no differences in weight, BMI, waist circumference or triceps skinfold measurements compared to non-drinkers.
- consumed more servings of fruit and had lower intakes of added sugar in their diets compared to non-drinkers.
- had higher intakes of vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. (Potassium was identified as a nutrient of concern in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines report, indicating that people are not consuming enough.)
- had lower diastolic blood pressure compared to non-drinkers. Adult grape juice users also had reduced serum homocysteine levels, an additional indicator of potential cardiovascular risk.

Additional findings indicated that adults who consumed 100% grape juice:
- had lower intakes of total fat, saturated fat and sodium in their diets.
- had higher intakes of dietary fiber and vitamin B6. (According to the American Dietetic Association, Americans consume only half the recommended daily amounts of fiber.)

"This NHANES analysis reveals that people who consume purple/blue fruits and vegetables -- including 100% grape juice -- have healthier dietary patterns and overall better health," said Carla McGill, PhD, RD, a nutrition consultant. "Consuming more fruits and vegetables is important, particularly ones from the purple/blue category, since it's underrepresented in the American diet. An easy way to add more purple color to the diet is 100% grape juice made from Concord grapes. This NHANES analysis suggests if you are not consuming purple/blue fruits and vegetables, you're probably not getting enough fruit in your diet."

NHANES is a government-sponsored program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. Welch Foods Inc. is committed to supporting independent research exploring the role of Concord grape juice in a healthy lifestyle and provided support for this NHANES analysis.

From the May 9, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash