Can dried fruit replace fresh fruit? Let’s find out together

Can dried fruit replace fresh fruit? Let’s find out together

That it’s important to add fruit in one's diet is now a fact, but can fresh and dried fruit be put on the same level?

According to a team of scientists made up of Dr. Daniel D. Gallaher from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Andriana Kaliora from Harokopio University, and Dr. Gary Williamson from the University of Leeds, definitely yes.

A review published in 2011 and presented at the World Nut & Dried Fruit Congress titled “Traditional dried fruit: a valuable tool to meet the recommended daily requirement of fruit” argues that traditional dried fruit - therefore not candied and with no added sugar or concentrated juices - retains many of the characteristics of its fresh counterpart and can therefore be considered a good and healthy snack.

Traditional dried fruit, which includes apricots, apples, prunes, figs, and sultana as well as also mango, pineapple, and many other fruits and berries, is nothing but fresh fruit deprived of its liquid partDrying is one of the world's oldest preservation methods and, if it is done at low temperatures (i.e. below 42°C), the fruit maintains many of the nutritional characteristics it has when fresh.

Indeed, like its fresh counterpart, even dried fruit provides many essential nutrients including fibre and minerals, in particular potassium and calcium, as well as a series of compounds essential for health such as vitamins and antioxidants (polyphenols, tannins, etc.).

Although it is a valid conservation method, drying causes some changes from a nutritional point of view, in particular as regards the content of vitamin C which, being a very unstable vitamin, decreases significantly with drying and disappears almost completely during storage.

Dried fruit from Nuturally (the online shop selling Nuts and Natural Dried Fruit) is practically fat-free, low in sodium and with no added sugars.

The absence of water makes it more resistant to deterioration and easier to store and transport; as a result, it is available all year round, easy to incorporate into other foods, and relatively cheap.

All these characteristics make dried fruit a great aid in promoting the increase in overall daily consumption of fruit.

Why is it so important to promote fruit consumption?

In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that around 2.7 million deaths caused by various diseases may be due to low consumption of fruit and vegetables globally. In addition, approximately 31% of ischemic heart disease, 20% of esophageal cancer, 19% of ischemic stroke, 19% of gastric cancer, and 12% of lung cancer globally could be prevented simply by increasing fruit and vegetable intake to reaching the minimum recommended by the WHO (400 grams of fruit and vegetables per day, equivalent to five portions of 80 grams each).

Dried fruit could therefore help increase fruit intake as its ease of transport makes it consumable at any time, even when one is away from home or in a hurry, which generally makes it difficult to consume fresh fruit that must be peeled, washed, and preserved.

The only precaution that we need to have when eating dried fruit is to avoid exceeding with portions: indeed, just like minerals and vitamins, even sugar becomes concentrated once you remove water! To avoid consuming excessive calories, it is necessary to eat a smaller quantity compared to fresh fruit; the standard portion of dried fruit is 30-40 g against the 150 g of its fresh counterpart.

One might think that, given the high concentration of sugars, dried fruit has a higher glycemic index than fresh fruit, but it’s not so. This depends on several factors including the high content of fibre, polyphenols, phenols, tannins, and sugar composition (mainly fructose).

According to these considerations, therefore, dried fruit should be recommended by professionals as a useful tool to achieve a healthy diet as it provides variable quantities of fibre in a natural and tasty way.

It seems trivial, but until a few years ago the situation was quite different due to two main reasons:

  1. The confusion between traditional dried fruit and processed fruit snacks. Processed fruit snacks (processed snacks with fruit, fruit juices made from concentrates, etc.) have long been promoted as healthy solutions for children's snack but in 2015 an English survey (Action on Sugars - May 2015) revealed that 85% of these products contained a greater amount of simple sugars than gummy candies from some of the best-known brands. By association, therefore, even dried fruit was demonized as a source of simple sugars harmful to health, although recent research has confirmed that these products are absolutely not comparable.
  2. Dried fruit was included in the list of foods whose consumption was limited to meals only due to its potential harmful effect on the teeth. This is actually an urban legend. Indeed, old research based its results on the fact that dried fruit tends to stick to the teeth; luckily, the latest research is debunking these false myths.

In conclusion, dehydrated fruit is simply fruit whose water has been removed and therefore all dried fruit can be considered a practical alternative to fresh fruit, without obviously the aim of completely replacing it as the water present in fresh fruit is part of our body's daily water requirement and is therefore very important to keep us hydrated, especially in very hot periods.

Encouraging the consumption of dried fruit as a snack instead of traditional packaged snacks is a way to contribute to the improvement of people’s eating habits!  

Nuturally offers only traditional, natural dried fruit with no added sugars, providing its customers with only the best that nature offers us every day.


Aksoy et al.; Traditional Dried Fruits: Valuable Tools to Meet Dietary Recommendations for Fruit Intake

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