Why should you prefer dried fruit with no added sugar?

Why should you prefer dried fruit with no added sugar?

Good looking, tasty and coloured: dried fruit has been generally appreciated by both adults and children. It can be used as snack or as an ingredient in traditional recipes. Figs, dates, apricots, sultana, pitted prunes and strawberries belong to the culinary tradition of several countries.

The question we often ask is: should dried fruit be considered as a food that is in line with a healthy diet or not?

In order to provide an answer to such a question a preliminary important clarification should be made: dried fruit is considered to be such fruit that is usually produced by means of the dehydration process, i.e. by removing the watery part from fruit.

The dehydration process carried out in this way is one of the most ancient techniques. It consists in a physical transformation of fruit, excluding thus the addition of sugar substitutes and additives in general.

Often we come across dried fruit characterized by bright, unnatural colours and a consistency comparable to that of fruit jellies: this is the case of candied dried fruit.

The difference between candied dried fruit and traditional dried fruit is pretty clear, both from an organoleptic and nutritional point of view:

  • in fact, candied dried fruit partially maintains the appearance of fruit, even though from the perspective of nutritional values it is mainly constituted by sugar that is added after the candying stage. This type of dried fruit cannot be considered as a food to be inserted in a healthy diet: in fact, if we analyse the nutritional declaration we notice that candied dried fruit may be put at the same level as candies. Just consider that candied pineapple consists of 75-80% simple sugar, while other nutrients such as fat, proteins, minerals and vitamins are almost not present. An exaggerated consumption of added sugar has been linked with an increase in the occurrence of diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome and several other disorders. To avoid dried fruit with added sugar it is important to read the labels, the list of ingredients and the nutritional information on the packaging.
  • For what concerns natural dried fruit the sugary content is rather high, too. Taking the nutritional values of traditional dried pineapple as an example, it can be seen how simple sugars account for 50-55% of the food composition. The main difference lies in the fact that the high content of sugar in traditional dried fruit is only due to the drying process that, by removing liquids (constituting almost 70-90% of fresh fruit), brings to the concentration of sugar that is naturally contained in the fruit. Moreover, traditional dried fruit does not only deliver “empty” calories, because, besides sugar, it also maintains fibres, minerals and vitamins as well as several other important nutrients for the normal functioning of the organism.

In 2011 a revision with the title “Traditional dried fruit: a precious tool to satisfy the recommended daily allowance of fruit” allocated to traditional dried fruit characteristic nutritional features that are comparable to those of fresh fruit. It also promotes the consumption of traditional dried fruit as a valid alternative to improve the daily consumption of fruit, especially in those cases when consuming fresh fruit is not that practical (e.g. when out of home, in the office, during sport, etc.). Furthermore, thanks to the reduced content of water, dried fruit can be stored much longer than fresh fruit. In fact, besides sugar, the removal of the watery part from the fresh fruit brings to the concentration of several nutrients. Weight being equal, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times of fibres, vitamins and the minerals present in their fresh equivalent. Dried fruit represents a concentrate of compounds with antioxidant action, in particular phenolic compounds, whose consumption has been associated with different beneficial effects on health, first of all the protection of cells from oxidative stress induced by free radicals, which has been put in relation with a reduction in the risk of onset of various diseases.

The consumption of dried fruit obviously should not replace that of fresh fruit in the daily power supply:

  • despite being a rather valid preservation technique, the drying process results in some changes from the nutritional point of view. Some vitamins, the so-called thermolabile vitamins (to which numerous vitamins of the B group and vitamin C belong) are sensitive to high temperatures and degrade when subject to heat. This is the reason why they are present in lower concentrations in dried fruit.
  • The water contained in fresh fruit becomes part of the daily water intake: for this reason, if dried fruit is consumed, it is important to drink during the day in order to compensate such lack.
  • Dried fruit has a rather high glycaemic index. To avoid the occurrence of glycaemic peaks it is recommended to consume dried fruit together with a share of oily nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.) that add to the snack fat and proteins that are able to reduce the glycaemic index. Obviously, not all types of dried fruit have the same glycaemic index: pitted pruned, for example, have a rather low glycaemic index, while dates provide immediate energy and replace bars during workout thanks to their high sugary content.
  • Among the main precautions to adopt when consuming traditional dried fruit is paying attention to portions. Food contains calories and eating too many calories in relation to the individual need inevitably brings to an increase in weight, even if calories originate from healthy food. The same is true for traditional dried fruit: as a consequence of the concentration of sugar it contains much more calories than fresh fruit, weight being equal. To avoid excessive calories it is therefore necessary to consume a lower quantity: in fact the standard portion of dried fruit is 30-40 g against 150 g of its fresh counterpart.

Natural traditional dried fruit with no sugar added is a healthy and tasty food that can be included in a healthy diet as mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack in addition to different preparations or even as a substitute of fresh fruit when you are not home. Paying attention to portions and including dried fruit in a balanced diet accompanied by daily physical activity is the key to enjoy it without remorse.

On Nuturally we want to provide you every day with more and more products 100% natural. On our online shop you will find Dried Fruit with no added sugar containing thus only natural sugar. We are committed to removing all additives and preservatives when not strictly necessary in order to let you experience only the real taste of fruit.


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


https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/is-eating-dried-fruit-healthy https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1819573





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