Is fruit nutrition and dried fruit nutrition the same? The simple answer is no. The process of drying fruit has a dramatic change of its nutrition values. Dried fruit nutrition is higher in sugar and calories than regular fruit. Dried fruit is often depleted of fruit’s nutrients. Also dried fruit often contains colouring to make it look more appealing. Through the drying process fruit also increases in mold toxins.
Most dried fruits are sprayed with sulfur dioxide. It helps preserve the fruit and keeps it colourful. Often these preserved fruits are packed with sugar. You can get natural dried fruit, but you’ll notice it doesn’t last as long, and it will turn brown (like real fruit does with time). While the low levels of sulfur dioxide are considered okay from consumption, it can lead to breathing problems such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory disease. You may experience skin rashes, an upset stomach, or an asthma attack.
So what are dried fruit nutrition levels? To keep things simple we will be looking at dried fruit nutrition values based on 100g servings. Click the nutrition facts to see a larger image.
Dried Fruit Nutrition
Looking at the values of these fruits makes it hard to justify eating them. All of them are relatively high in sugar and contain little to no nutritional value. But, let’s look at what nutrients they do have:
Some, like dried apples, have a decent amount of dietary fibre. Fibre is important for your dietary track. It will keep your insides moving regularly, which will help your body expel unwanted garbage.
Not all nutrients are good in high levels. Dried fruits are high in omega-6, throwing off your omega-6 to omega-3 balance. This ratio should be close to 1:1 overall in your diet. Prunes and raisins have the best ratio, and even that is about 10:3.
Dried apricots are a good source of vitamin A in the form of β-carotene. β-carotene has to be processed in the body to become usable retinol, so it isn’t the best form of vitamin A, but it is still good to have in your diet. Dried apricots also have 1162mg of potassium, which is 24.7% of Health Canada’s recommended dietary allowance. Potassium is an important mineral to help your body maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.
Banana Chips have 76mg of magnesium, which is about 1/5 of what you should be getting on a daily basis. Most people aren’t getting enough of this important mineral in their diet, so this could be one good source of magnesium. Banana chips have significantly more magnesium and potassium than a normal raw banana. At the same time, you triple the amount of sugar per serving and your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio goes from 5:3 (46mg to 27mg), to 100:1.6 (620mg to10mg) when you process bananas into chip form.
A study put out by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2005 shows that the antioxidant levels increases in fruits once dried. Prunes and figs showed the greatest nutritional gain. You’re trading nutrients for antioxidants and high sugar levels. In general, dried fruits are not the best source of nutrients. It is always best to get your vitamins and minerals from good whole food and to keep processed foods to a minimum. If you are going to eat dried fruit buy unsulfured fruit, or dry it yourself.