Is dried fruit as healthy as fresh fruit?
BY: Kim Schworm Acosta
While dried fruit does contain the same nutrients -- such as fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and folate -- as fresh fruit, it can have up to three times more sugar and calories per ounce compared to fresh fruit. That’s because as fruit dries, water is lost and the sugar gets concentrated, explains Lila Ojeda, a registered dietitian in Portland, Ore., with LO Solutions. “Plus, without the water, you won’t feel as full,” she adds, “so you may consume a lot of calories but still not be satisfied.”
Despite its higher calorie and sugar count though, dried fruit in moderation can be a smart way to add variety and nutrients to your diet. When buying dried fruit, check the ingredient list for added sugar, oils, and sulfate (a preservative that can trigger allergic reactions in some people). Then add some pizzazz to salads, pancake batter or cereal with a handful of dried cherries or blueberries. Or “make your own trail mix with a variety of nuts, your favorite whole-grain cereal and chopped, dried fruit,” suggests Ojeda. And whether you’re out hiking or on a shopping marathon at the mall, dried apricots and bananas are tasty and convenient to tote along.
Kim Schworm Acosta is the former health editor of Shape magazine and the health director of VIV. She has also written for Family Circle, Brides, Living Fit and Looking Good Now. Kim is a frequent contributor to Live Right Live Well.
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