Dried fruit: Glorified candy?

Dried fruit is an easy portable snack, perfect for any lunchbox but there are a few things that you might want to know first.

  • Dried fruit is only a quarter of the size of fresh fruit and while this means you only need to eat a smaller sized portion to get the same nutritional benefits, it can get dangerous as it makes them less filling. We tend to over eat dried fruit because of the size and their ease for snacking. While dried fruit is better than fruit juice as it keeps in the insoluble fibre, please remember that it also retains the sugar and calorie count too.
  • Be careful which brand of dried fruit you buy. Some companies add sugar to make the fruit even sweeter. Given that fruit is already high in sugar (fructose at that), you really don’t want the extra portion in your system. Some brands have no additives so read the label carefully.
  • Some dried fruits lose part of their nutritional value when heated. For example Vitamin C is drastically reduced when exposed to the drying process so it may be best to opt for the fresh versions of citric fruits.
  • Check the product for sulphur dioxide. Some companies use this chemical to keep the food free of bacteria and whilst small amounts are relatively harmless, it does affect a small amount of the population and is linked to stomach pains, hives and even asthma.

While eating dried fruit is a better option than most unhealthy choices, like everything else, proportion matters. Be selective about which brands you choose and add some tasty dried fruit to a balanced diet. I have to admit, dried kiwis are my Achilles heel.