A Pear a Day Keeps the Weight Away?

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December is National Pear Month and research is showing a few good reasons to enjoy sweet, juicy, fresh pears. According to a new study published in Nutrition and Food Science journal shows that fresh pear consumption is associated with better diet quality and weight parameters, both of which are important to gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients.

According to the USDA, one medium fresh pear provides about 100 calories, 0g fat, 27g carbohydrates including 7g fiber, and 1g protein. A pear also provides 12% vitamin C, 10% of vitamin K, 6% potassium, and lesser amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, B6, and folate. In addition, pears have carotenoids, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. All of these beneficial nutrients contribute to the association of pears and health benefits.

Despite the apple’s high fiber claim to fame, the pear actually has more fiber. According to the study, pear consumption was associated with higher intake of fiber. A diet high in fiber is associated with reductions in heart disease. The addition of 10g of fiber (more than half of which can be supplied by one pear) has been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Fiber has also been shown to help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition a high fiber diet is beneficial for bowel regulation and prevention of constipation. In fact, consuming a high fiber diet has been shown to reduce flare ups of diverticulitis, an inflammation and infection in the colon wall which can be quite painful.

Of particular interest to gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients, the other major noted benefit to consuming pears was its association with reduced obesity. Pear consumers were 35% less likely to be obese than non-pear consumers. Those who ate fresh pears also weighed almost 8 pounds less than their non-pear eating cohorts. Given the national and international rates of obesity, this is exciting news. Study author, Dr. Carol O’Niel of the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, noted “We believe fiber intake may have driven the lower body weights that were seen in this study because there was no difference in energy intake or level of physical activity found between the fresh pear consumers and non-consumers.” High fiber foods are often associated with lower rates of obesity as the fiber contributes to feeling fuller for longer.

Pears are delicious eaten fresh. They provide a portable, low calorie snack. But pears also pair nicely with nuts and cheese in a salad. Thinly sliced pears add a hint of sweetness when added to ham and cheese sandwiches or paninis. They also go well with balsamic glazed chicken or pork chops. Fresh pears can also be diced and added to cottage cheese for a tasty and high protein lunch or breakfast. Their mildly sweet taste make them easy to incorporate into many dishes.

Dr. Shillingford and his staff enjoy sharing medical news and information that are significant to health and wellness, particularly as it relates to overweight and obesity. If you are considering bariatric weight loss surgery, call Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A. at (561) 483-8840 to schedule a free consultation at his Boca Raton office to discuss your surgical options. Dr. Shillingford is a board certified general surgeon specializing in gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and adjustable lap band surgeries. His patients come from all over South Florida, including Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Miami Beach and as far north as Orlando and Jacksonville.

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