Jessica Bippen, MS, RD, settles the dried fruit debate as soon as and for all. Keep studying to search out out if dried fruit is definitely wholesome for you.
There’s no denying the comfort of dried fruit for a grab-and-go snack. It’s shelf-stable, transportable, and scrumptious! However, the knowledge on dried fruit will be conflicting. Maybe you’ve heard that it’s a wholesome snack, however then different sources say it’s no higher than sweet. So what’s the true deal?
What is dried fruit?
Before we dive into answering if dried fruit is wholesome, let’s take a more in-depth take a look at dried fruit and the way it’s made. By definition, dried fruit is any sort of fruit whose water content material has been eliminated by one in all three drying strategies:
Drying usually occurs in an oven or the solar. However, most store-bought dried fruit is dried in industrial dehydrators. Another choice is freeze-drying. This course of is much like dehydrating, however the temperature is about beneath freezing earlier than slowly rising, inflicting moisture within the fruit to evaporate.
The totally different drying strategies end in totally different merchandise texture-wise. While dried and dehydrated fruits have dense, chewy textures, freeze-dried fruits are typically gentle and ethereal.
dried fruit Benefits
High Nutritional Value
Dried fruit is loaded with micronutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Because of the dehydrating course of that removes the water, one piece of dried fruit incorporates about the identical quantity of vitamins as its complete, contemporary fruit model—but in a a lot smaller, extra concentrated bundle. The solely exception is vitamin C, which is misplaced within the dehydrating course of.
By weight, dried fruit incorporates greater than thrice the fiber, nutritional vitamins, and minerals of contemporary fruit. Thus, dehydrated fruit is a extremely nutritious choice when it’s correctly portioned. However, portion measurement is essential!
Nutrition apart, dried fruit is handy. You can stash it in your purse or hold it in your desk drawer for simple, shelf-stable snack choices. To get essentially the most out of your dried fruit, hold your portion sizes small so that you’re not consuming greater than 15-to-20 grams of sugar in a single sitting. (This portion measurement equates to 2 items of huge dried fruit, like mango slices, and about two tablespoons of small dried fruit, like raisins.)
Easy to Pair
To hold your blood sugar steady, pair the dried fruit with an excellent supply of protein or wholesome fat. Smart pairing choices embody:
- Greek yogurt
- plant-based yogurt
- almond-flour crackers
- hard-boiled egg
Dried Fruit Reg Flags
As beforehand talked about, there are a number of advantages to consuming dried fruit. However, be careful for the next culprits that would flip your wholesome snack into one thing nearer to junk meals.
Sugar content material
Dehydrating fruit causes water lack of about 75 %, that means the fruit is rather more concentrated in vitamins, but additionally sugar and energy. A superb rule of thumb is to lower your portion measurement by 75 % to make up for the water loss.
For occasion, you most likely aren’t going to eat 15 contemporary apricots in a single sitting, however could discover it straightforward to eat 15 dried apricots. This means you can simply eat 60 grams of sugar in a single sitting in comparison with 4 grams present in one apricot.
While fruit is nutritious, it’s vital to be conscious of sugar consumption, even when it’s from pure sources like fruit. Too a lot sugar can enhance probabilities for weight acquire, stronger cravings, and a number of other different well being issues.
In addition to naturally occurring sugars, many corporations coat dried fruit with sugar or syrup to make them sweeter. Since sugar triggers our mind’s reward system, the additional sugar makes the dried fruit extra crave-worthy. Thus, it’s arduous to stay to only one serving measurement.
When buying dried fruit, it’s greatest to learn the ingredient checklist. Of course, the best choice is to decide on dried fruit that incorporates just one ingredient: the fruit itself. Avoid dried fruit with added high-fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, or synthetic sweeteners. For fruits which might be naturally extra bitter, like cranberries, it’s harder to search out choices with out added sugar. In this case, search for manufacturers that use fruit juice as a pure sweetener.
In addition to added sugar, some dried fruit incorporates a small quantity of oil to stop them from sticking collectively. To hold costs low, manufacturers usually go for unhealthy, low-quality oils like canola oil, which is greatest to keep away from. Slightly higher choices embody sunflower and safflower oils.
Drying fruit is a pure type of preservation. However, some producers use further preservatives known as sulfites on their dried fruit. Such preservatives stop discoloration, thus making the dried fruit look extra interesting. Furthermore, it may well prolong shelf-life.
While the FDA considers these preservatives protected, some people could also be delicate to sulfites. Common signs embody abdomen cramps, respiratory points, pores and skin irritation, and different well being issues. If you discover dried fruit doesn’t sit effectively with you, take into account selecting manufacturers with none components or sulfites.
Dried fruit could be a wholesome, nutritious choice when utilizing correct portion measurement and studying labels. Since dried fruit incorporates a excessive focus of energy and sugar, I like to recommend portioning out about two tablespoons of small dried fruit or two items of huge/sliced dried fruit. Pairing your dried fruit with a supply of protein or wholesome fats might help stabilize your blood sugar and have you ever feeling extra happy than from consuming the dried fruit by itself.
The healthiest dried fruit incorporates no added components. The label ought to simply learn the identify of the fruit. Look out for added sugar, oils, and preservatives like sulfites.
When it comes right down to it, you don’t must worry dried fruit (or fruit normally!). As a registered dietitian, I encourage you to experiment and replicate on how dried fruit makes you are feeling. Are you happy after consuming it? Does it trigger bloating or fuel? Does it result in sugar cravings? These are some questions to consider that’ll assist you determine what works greatest for you. Once you perceive how your physique feels after consuming dried fruit, you’ll be able to resolve if and when it’s a wholesome choice for you!