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Should We Replace Fresh Fruit with Dried Fruit?

March 22nd, 2009 · 4 Comments ·
 
 

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While I was doing grocery shopping, I overhead a mother telling her daughter to get few packets of dried apricots. She told her that dried fruit is as good as fresh fruit. Interesting. Is dried fruit really as good as fresh fruit?

Let’s look at the good and bad before we jump into conclusion.

Advantages with Dried Fruit

  • Dried fruit has concentrated nutrients (vitamin and mineral). For example, raisins (which are dried grapes) are richer in iron compared with fresh grapes. Prunes has more fiber too which help relieve constipation.
  • Dried fruit is a healthier replacement to other sweet snacks or junk food.
  • Some athletes eat dried fruit as a source of quick energy.
  • Dried fruit has a much longer shelf life than fresh and can be kept for 6 months to a year in an airtight container.

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Things To Watch Out With Dried Fruit

  • The reason fruit is dried is to reduce the water content. As water is a good transport medium for oxygen, with less water, oxygen level will be reduced. The drying process may deplete vitamin C content too. Even if dried fruit is rehydrated with water, it is not as good as fresh.
  • Sugar is added to some dried fruits and making it sweet and sticky. So, it may not be good for your teeth.
  • Before you buy the dried fruit, look at the nutrition facts from the ingredient labels. The fewer ingredients, the less processed the food is. The first ingredient should be fruit, such as raisins, dates, apricots and not salt, sucrose partially-hydrogenated oil.
  • Though with more nutrients, dried fruit also has more calories. For example, a cup of sliced fresh plums has about 90 calories whereas a cup of prunes has about 400 calories.
  • Not all dried fruit is dried fruit. Dried banana chips are not.

Having said that, dried fruit is an alternative to fresh fruit when fresh fruit is not available. My advice is, do not eat whole bag of dried fruit as snack. Instead, having a few of them in plain yogurt in the morning is good enough. Given a choice, fresh fruit is still the better food.

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Category: Nutrition


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4 responses so far ↓
  • Lucas // Mar 23, 2009 at 9:05 AM

    Although dried fruit may seem like a great idea, it may be helpful to take a step back from the argument of convenience. Dried fruit often times lacks the same nutrients that are present in fresh fruit. Also, by drying fruit, it loses much of its volume. This means one needs to eat more to receive the same “full” felling they would receive by eating fresh fruit. The serving size volume is so small that a person can easily get lost in the sweet delight of snacking and lose track of what should be one of their main concerns–calories.

  • JL // Mar 23, 2009 at 7:22 PM

    Dried fruits have a much greater tendency to be processed, which implies addition of chemicals and conditioners to make it last longer. These things are not good for health. Natural fruits are still better.

  • jack // Mar 25, 2009 at 1:01 PM

    I like Fresh Fruit, it tastes better then dry fruit. I think most dry fruit is too sweet!

  • Tom Parker // Mar 29, 2009 at 7:47 AM

    Great summary. I agree that fresh fruit is the better choice but dried fruit is OK in moderation.

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