Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Fresh Fruit Is Much Healthier Than Dried Fruit?

TheBUZZ: Fresh fruit is much healthier than dried fruit?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Dried fruits are much higher in sugar and have a higher glycemic index compared to fresh fruit, making them a not-so-healthy choice.

WHAT WE KNOW

Dried fruits are full of nutrients, easy to pack, and count toward your daily fruit recommendation! The big question on consumers’ minds is, are they just as good for you as fresh fruit?

The main difference between dried and fresh fruits is the calorie and sugar content. Since dried fruits lose water (and therefore volume) during the drying process, their nutrient, calorie, and sugar content becomes concentrated once they’e dried. When you eat a handful of dried fruit, you are consuming more calories than you would if you ate that same amount of fresh fruit. So, the biggest concern with dried fruits (as with any food) is portion size.

Due to the higher concentration of sugar in dried fruit, many believe that they have a higher glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure used to determine a food’s effect on blood sugar levels. The higher the index, the more effect it will have on spiking blood sugar levels. Foods such as cakes, candies, soda, and other simple sugars are known to have a high glyecmic index. Foods with high glycemic indexes have been linked to the development of insulin resistance and diabetes. Traditional dried fruits have a low to moderate glycemic index and a glycemic response that’s comparable to fresh fruits.¹

In addition, dried fruits in particular are known for being good sources of two particular nutrients:

    • Potassium: One serving of dried fruit (1/4 cup) ranks among the top potassium sources in diets around the world.
    • Fiber: One serving of dried fruits delivers over 9% of the daily value of fiber, depending on the fruit.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004 data showed that intake of dried fruit is associated with lower body mass index (BMI), reduced waist circumference, and reduced abdominal obesity. Dried fruit consumption was also associated with improved nutrient intake (higher vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, iron, magnesium and fiber), more fruit servings per day, and healthier overall diets for both adults and children.² Learn More About BMI

As previously mentioned, recent studies reported by the International Nut & Dried Fruit Foundation showed that traditional dried fruits have a low to moderate glycemic index and a glycemic response that’s comparable to fresh fruits.

OUR ADVICE

Not one color or form—fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice—of fruits or vegetables is more nutritious for you than another! Fruits and vegetables in all forms are full of essential nutrients that your body needs to grow and function properly. Eating a variety of colors and forms is the best way to get a sufficient amount of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. Whether you like fresh or dried, the most important thing is that you eat your fruits & veggies!

Dried and fresh fruits are portable and perfect for lunch, as a snack, by the poolside, or at a picnic! Check out our Fruit & Veggie Video Center for fun ways to enjoy summer fruits and vegetables—including dried and fresh forms!

 

¹ Aksoy, Uygun, Arianna Carughi, James Anderson, et al. “Traditional Dried Fruits: Valuable Tools to Meet Dietary Recommendations for Fruit Intake.” International Nut & Dried Fruit Foundation; Accessed June 14, 2011,

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² Keast, Debra., Julie Jones. “Dried Fruit Consumption Associated With Reduced Improved Overweight or Obesity in Adults: NHANES, 1999-2004.” The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biologies (2009); 23: Meeting Abstract Supplement LB511.

 

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