Q. Are dried fruits as good for you as fresh fruit? Is there a limit on how much you can eat?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 29 January 2014.
Tagged: healthy eating, healthy snacks, snacks

Q. Are dried fruits as good for you as fresh fruit? Is there a limit on how much you can eat?

A. All types of fruit - fresh, dried, frozen and juice - are nutritious, having little fat and plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Although dried fruit is a healthy choice, remember that it's fruit in concentrated form so it's easy to over consume.

Once water is removed during drying, the sugars and kilojoules that remain are concentrated into a compact form (a big reason why it's bad news for dieters but a jolly good reason why it's handy for bush walkers).

Compare this:

Fresh green grapes carry around 80 per cent water but when dried into sultanas, this drops to only 16 per cent.

So if you ate a small bunch of grapes, you'd consume the same kilojoules/calories and carbohydrate as just one tablespoon of sultanas. Which is more filling and satisfying?

During drying, don't forget that some of the vitamin C and folate from fresh fruit is lost. But the fibre, minerals and most antioxidants remain unchanged. So this means that dried fruit is not quite as nutritious as fresh - but it's a better choice than lollies or biscuits.

Because of this, nutritionists suggest that only one serve of dried fruit should count towards your fruit target of two serves a day. A serve of dried fruit is approximately:

  • 1 tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas OR
  • 2 figs, prunes OR
  • 4 dried apricots.

Image courtesy of Lady T 220 via photopin cc