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Why is fresh fruit healthier than dried fruit?

Stefanie Sacks, MS
Nutrition & Dietetics
Dried fruit is often coated in added sugar, and berries often soaked in sugar water. In this video, culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks explains why fresh fruit is healthier than dried fruit, and why it's key to buy dried fruit with no added sugar.
Sarah Worden
Nutrition & Dietetics
While fresh fruit and dried fruit both provide the body with a variety of nutrients, fresh fruit is typically recommended for weight control diets for a few reasons. First, dried fruit is more calorically dense than fresh fruit. For example, picture a half cup of dried apricot  halves and half cup of fresh apricot halves. The measuring cup with dried apricots in it will have more apricots, hence more calories. The reason for this is that the majority of the water is removed from dried fruit. Now, imagine two people eat this fruit. Both will eat 1/2 cup of fruit, but the person eating the apricots will be eating more calories than the person eating the fresh apricots. The water content of fresh fruit helps us to feel satisfied without adding extra calories. Another reason why dried fruit is often made out to be the "bad guy" when it comes to weight control diets is that it is often coated in sugar, adding additional calories to it. 

While fresh fruit is usually the best choice because it is less calorically dense and it's higher water content helps to make us feel full, it is not always as convenient as dried fruit.

Dried fruit can be a great snack sometimes! Here are some tips:
  • Read labels. Make sure there is no added sugar. The only ingredient should be fruit!
  • On-the-go snacks. Dried fruit can be a great snack when fresh fruit is not available. Think about packing some dried fruit when you travel or keeping some in your desk at work.
  • Shelf stable. Dried fruit is a nutrient packed snack when refrigeration is not available. Think about bringing dried fruit on your next hike or road trip.
  • Portion control. Remember, dried fruit is more calorically dense than fresh fruit. Measure out 1/4 cup portions into individual bags so you don't overeat.
Like fresh fruit, dried fruit contains lots of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and folate. Dried fruit is a portable snack and in the kitchen it can be added to salads, pancake batter, bread recipes or a bowl of cereal.

However, dried fruit may contain more calories per serving than fresh fruit. A quarter-cup cup of dried raisins contain as many calories as 1/2-cup of fresh fruit. Also, some dried fruits are preserved with sulfite, which can trigger allergic reactions in some people, so read the package label and find a variety that is right for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.