Research News

Below you will find more on the latest in Concord grape research.  Research highlighted was funded by Welch Foods Inc., A Cooperative (Welch’s).

A Refreshing Discovery: Concord Grape’s Role in Heart Health
Studies Highlight Concord Grape Juice as Beneficial to Heart Health and Possibly More

Concord, MA, November 3, 2010 – More than 50% of Americans list heart health as their number one health concern.1  According to recent scientific papers published in Nutrition Reviews2 and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition3, consumers can take steps to support heart health by incorporating grape-based products into their diets.  Specifically, these studies reveal that grapes and grape products, most notably Concord grape juice, may play a beneficial role in cardiovascular health as part of an overall nutritious diet.

A review by Vislocky and Fernandez, summarizing previously published research, outlined existing scientific evidence on the role of Concord grapes in heart health.  Grape seeds, skins and juice have natural plant nutrients known as polyphenols (or more specifically, flavonoids) which naturally serve many functions in the body including acting as antioxidants to help fight free radicals, which are known to harm healthy cells.  Eating and drinking polyphenol-containing foods has been associated with promoting overall health.  This review provides further support for consuming Concord grapes and juice for heart health.

“Grape products can be a wise choice for a healthy lifestyle,” said Maria Luz Fernandez, PhD with the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.  “Grapes and grape juice are easy ways to take a proactive step in maintaining health.”

An additional study by Dohadwala and colleagues examined the role of Concord grape juice in maintaining healthy blood pressure.  Study participants included 64 adult men and women with an early stage of high blood pressure classified as either pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension.  This study showed that drinking Concord grape juice helped lower nocturnal or night-time blood pressure (an indicator of healthy blood pressure regulation), and had a beneficial impact on blood sugar levels compared to a calorie-matched, grape-flavored drink.  While this is exciting, it is important to note that more science is needed to confirm these findings, and that the researchers found no significant effect on blood pressure measured over a 24-hour period.

The review by Vislocky and Fernandez also outlined emerging areas of grape research, including cognitive function.  As the brain ages, it becomes more vulnerable to free radicals which can hinder cognitive function.  Recent studies have suggested that polyphenol-containing Concord grape juice may help support cognitive function in older adults with age-related memory decline.4  While early research in this area appears promising, the science is preliminary and further exploration is needed to determine if Concord grape juice can have an effect on cognitive health.

These two recent scientific papers complement a growing body of evidence suggesting that Concord grape juice can help promote heart health in certain groups of people.  Consumers can bring this refreshing discovery into their lives by adding a glass of 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes to a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

1 International Food Information Council, Consumer Attitudes toward Functional Foods/Foods for Health, 2007
2 Vislocky LM and Fernandez ML. Biomedical Effects of Grape Products. Nutr Rev.2010. 68(11):656-670.  
3 Dohadwala MM, Hamburg NM, Holbrook M, Kim BH, Duess M-A, Levit A, Titas M, Chung WB, Vincent FB, Caiano TL, Frame AA, Kearney Jr. JF and Vita JA. Effect of Grape Juice on Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Pre-hypertension and Stage 1 Hypertension. Am J Clin Nutr.2010. 92(5):1052-1059.
4 Krikorian R, Nash TA, Shidler MD, Shukitt-Hale B and Joseph JA. Concord grape juice supplementation improves memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Br J Nutr.2010. 103(5):730-734.


Concord Grape Juice Has No Significant Impact on Body Weight
Study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition revealed
that drinking 100% Concord grape juice was not associated with changes in
appetite, energy intake or body weight

CONCORD, MA, June 24, 2010  – Research recently published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition found that regular consumption of 100% Concord grape juice did not cause significant weight gain, was not associated with changes in appetite and was shown to reduce waist circumference.1

The 12 week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial examined the effect of regular consumption of 100% Concord grape juice on body weight, diet quality, and markers of metabolic syndrome. The study included 76 men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 years who were slightly overweight (body mass index of 25.0 to 29.9). Each participant drank two 8-ounce servings of 100% Concord grape juice per day (n=25), a grape-flavored drink (n=26) or was assigned to a non-treatment control group (n=25).  The two test beverages were calorie and sugar matched but only the 100% Concord grape juice contained natural polyphenols.1

Participants in the 100% Concord grape juice arm did not show significant weight gain whereas participants who drank the placebo gained on average 1.6kg / 3.5lbs (p<0.05) compared to baseline.  Those in the 100% Concord grape juice arm did not show a significant change in appetite, while those who drank the placebo showed a significant decline in self-reported fullness (p<0.005) over the same time period. Furthermore, participants in the 100% Concord grape juice arm exhibited a significant reduction in waist circumference, demonstrating a beneficial effect on one of the markers of metabolic syndrome. Other markers of metabolic syndrome, including cholesterol, triglyceride, and fasting glucose levels, were maintained within normal limits throughout the study.

In this study, people who drank the Concord grape juice daily compensated for the calories in the beverage by ingesting fewer calories from other foods and drinks. According to Dr. Richard Mattes, Director of the Ingestive Behavior Research Center and Professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University, and lead study investigator, “These results are in sharp contrast to other published evidence suggesting little or no compensation for energy-containing beverages.” 

This research suggests that, consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet, Concord grape juice may be a convenient way to add health promoting Concord grapes to the diet without impacting body weight.  Previous scientific studies on grape juice made from Concord grapes suggest that this fruit can play a role in supporting cardiovascular health.2,3,4,5,6

The study, which was originally presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American College of Nutrition in Arlington, Virginia in 2008, was published in the August 2009 edition of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

1 Hollis JH, Houchins JA, Blumberg JB and Mattes RD. Effects of Concord Grape Juice on Appetite, Diet, Body Weight, Lipid Profile and Antioxidant Status of Adults. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009. 28(5):574-582.  
2 Freedman JE, Parker C, 3rd, Li L, Perlman JA, Frei B, Ivanov V, Deak LR, Iafrati MD and Folts JD. Select flavonoids and whole juice from purple grapes inhibit platelet function and enhance nitric oxide release. Circulation. 2001. 103(23):2792-2798.
3 Anselm E, Chataigneau M, Ndiaye M, Chataigneau T and Schini-Kerth VB. Grape juice causes endothelium-dependent relaxation via a redox-sensitive Src- and Akt-dependent activation of eNOS. Cardiovasc Res. 2007. 73(2):404-413.
4 Chou EJ, Keevil JG, Aeschlimann S, Wiebe DA, Folts JD and Stein JH. Effect of ingestion of purple grape juice on endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2001.88(5):553-555.
5 Fitzpatrick DF, Hirschfield SL and Coffey RG. Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxing activity of wine and other grape products. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 1993. 265(34):H774-H77.
6 Stein JH, Keevil JG, Wiebe DA, Aeschlimann S and Folts JD. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999. 100(10):1050-1055.


Study in British Journal of Nutrition LinksConcord Grape Juice to Memory Benefits
Concord grape juice may support healthy brain function for older
adults with early memory changes

CONCORD, MA, February 23, 2010   The first of the Baby Boomer Generation is turning 65 next year.  The number of older Americans is on the rise as is the need to address age related health issues.  Research published in the March issue of the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition has shown that Concord grape juice may help support healthy brain function in certain population groups, especially older adults with early memory decline.1  Data from the double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot investigation led by Dr. Robert Krikorian, (Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine) suggested that drinking Concord grape juice was beneficial with respect to memory function.

In this investigation, 12 older adults with early memory decline were randomly assigned to consume either 100% Concord grape juice or a calorie-matched placebo beverage for 12 weeks.  Each subject was assessed with measures of verbal and spatial memory before and after the intervention.  While there were no statistical differences between the groups at baseline, following the treatment, those consuming Concord grape juice demonstrated significant improvement in list learning (p= 0.04).  While the researchers did not observe statistically significant improvements in other parameters, they observed trends for list retention (p= 0.10) and spatial memory (p= 0.12). 

Krikorian reported, “Our preliminary findings suggest that supplementing the diet with Concord grape juice may provide benefit for older adults with early memory changes.”  While further study is warranted to assess the potential of Concord grape juice to support cognitive function as we age, these results are very encouraging.

These data also were presented on December 8th, 2009 at the 4th International Conference on Polyphenols and Health in Harrogate, United Kingdom.

To access the full manuscript please visit:

1 U.S. Census Bureau - Population Division. Table 3.  Percent Distribution of the Projected Population by Selected Age Groups and Sex for the United States: 2010 to 2050 (NP2008-T3). National Population Projections Released 2008. Last updated: Aug 14, 2008. (Accessed: Jan 11, 2010).



More than 50% of Americans list heart health as their number one health concern.