Q. How healthy are apricot delights/squares?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 01 January 2014.
Tagged: carbohydrates, carbs, healthy snacks, school lunch, snacks, sugar

Q. How healthy are apricot delights/squares?

Q. I love eating those squarish Apricot delights that you find in the health food aisle of the supermarket. I want something sweet at the end of a meal. I presume they're better for me than chocolate or lollies but how healthy are they really? Or am I better off eating dried apricots?

A. I know the apricot squares and long rolls you mean. As someone who is mad about apricots, I’ve grabbed a bag too for an after-dinner sweet.

But after comparing the ingredient list, these apricot-based treats are more akin to confectionery than dried fruit and so on a par with chocolates and lollies. Sorry.

Read the claims on the pack and you’ll be sucked in by the marketing - '96% fat-free', 'contains fibre', 'gluten-free', 'now with 25 per cent more fruit' and so on.

However, when you check through the list of ingredients, you’ll soon notice that less than HALF the product is actually apricot. The rest is sugar, syrups, some sort of oil (to bind), starch (to thicken), with colour, flavour and preservative added.

At 82 per cent carbohydrate, they have not-quite twice the carbohydrate content of plain dried apricots. So don’t think of them as fruit, but as a fruit-based sweet treat. Two or three are fine after dinner but don’t gobble down half the pack!

For my own experience, however, I do admit it’s hard to stop at just two or three. They’re very more-ish. So I’ve learned to put a portion out on a plate, close up the bag and be content with the serve in front of me.

  • Dried apricots       54% carbs
  • Apricot Delights    82% carbs

Compare the ingredients of a typical Apricot Square or Log from three suppliers (taken from the packs):

Apricot Logs (from produce market, pack of 8 logs)

Sugar, sweetened condensed milk, coconut, vegetable oil, flour, gelatine, dried apricots, colour, flavour, salt, Glycerol Monostearate 471

Apricot Indulgence 200g pack of squares (supermarket)

Sugar, dried apricots (40%), maltodextrin, invert syrup, cocoa butter, acidity regulator 330, preservatives 220, 224, colour 160c

Apricot Delights 500g pack Angas Park

Sugar, Dried Apricots (30%) (Preservative 220), Glucose Syrup, Vegetable Oil, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Food Acid 330, Colour 160b, Maize Starch, Flavour

So, to answer your second question…

Yes, you are better off nutritionally eating dried apricots. It’s pretty much like anything really - the less processing that happens, the better something is for you. And that’s certainly the case here.

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby has the answers! She is an accredited nutritionist, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Nutrition for Life 2020 Edition is a fresh new update on all the things you've read about or heard in the last year. Think insects, collagen, vegan eating, Keto dieting, vitamin B12, fast food and cafe culture.  It has plenty of colour pictures and is easy to dip in and out of. Grab your copy NOW!