It’s summer. Lower priced fruits and vegetables fill the markets and groceries. You can take advantage of those low prices by freezing and dehydrating them. Does that affect their nutrition? Does the process of dehydration destroy nutrients? What’s the difference between fresh fruit and dried fruit? Does that difference matter? One obvious thing is that dehydrated fruit lacks water. It’s the nature of being dehydrated. That means the sugar is more concentrated. The less water a food contains, the more you can eat, so you’ll be able to eat more calories and more sugar when you consume dehydrated food.
When you dry fruit, it preserves most of the nutrients within the fruit but reduces vitamin C. However, if you remove the fluid, you can eat more, making the single serving far smaller. Dried fruit is pretty handy if you want to increase fiber and other nutrients. It has 3.5 times the fiber, minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins by weight as fresh fruit. It’s a good source of concentrated phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, too.
If you’re prone to snacking, dried fruit is a good option. It’s not as filling as hydrated fruit but packed with nutrients and far better than a candy bar, cookie, or other processed snack. Studies show that people who snack on dried fruit tend to weigh less than those who don’t. It’s a great option as a snack for children and is packed with more nutrition since they can eat more than they could if it were the fruit itself.
As mentioned previously, the sugar is concentrated in dried fruit, and the lack of hydration allows you to eat more. Raisins contain 59% natural sugar, while apricots contain 53%. Between ¼ and ½ the sugar content comes from fructose, which can lead to serious health issues, including insulin resistance, heart disease, and diabetes. You also have to be cautious about the type of dried fruit you consume. Some dried fruit is candied. That’s where the fruit has a sugar or syrup coating before dehydration. Some preservatives may be used, such as sulfites, which can cause problems in some individuals.
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