Fruit consumption is universally promoted, yet consumption of fruit remains low in the United States. We conducted a systematic review on pear consumption and health outcomes searching both PubMed and Agricola from 1970 to present. The genus Pyrus L. consists of species of pears cultivated in Europe, parts of Asia, South America, and North America. Like most fruit, pears are concentrated in water and sugar. Pears are high in dietary fiber, containing 6 g per serving. Pears, similar to apples, are concentrated in fructose, and the high fiber and fructose in pears probably explain the laxative properties. Pears contain antioxidants and provide between 27 and 41 mg of phenolics per 100 g. Animal studies with pears suggest that pears may regulate alcohol metabolism, protect against ulcers, and lower plasma lipids. Human feeding studies with pears have not been conducted. In epidemiological studies, pears are combined with all fresh fruits or with apples, because they are most similar in composition. The high content of dietary fiber in pears and their effects on gut health set pears apart from other fruit and deserves study.
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