The information and opinion about dehydrated fruit is very conflicting. Is this a nutritionally interesting product?
The information and opinion regarding the consumption of dehydrated fruit as a snack is very conflicting.
Raisins, dates, plums, figs, apricots, bananas, apples and strawberries are the most common dehydrated fruits on supermarket shelves. Should we adopt its regular consumption: yes or no?
PROCESSING OF DEHYDRATED FRUIT
To obtain dehydrated fruit, the fruit is subjected to a drying process leading to a decrease in water activity, by removing almost all the water present in the food. This process allows food to be preserved as it reduces the activity of microorganisms and the enzymatic reactions that lead to the degradation of the fruit in vivo. Thus, this processing allows the fruit to be preserved for longer.
The application of heat under controlled conditions allows the majority of water to be removed from the fruit, reaching values between 0% and 20%, resulting in dehydrated fruit as the final product.
However, this process is not harmless, as it causes changes in the food, modifying its organoleptic (texture, flavor, aroma) and nutritional characteristics.
DEHYDRATED FRUIT: MORE FIBER, VITAMINS, and MINERALS… AND SUGAR
Due to the concentration caused by the loss of water, dehydrated fruit has greater nutritional density than fresh fruit when adjusted for the same portion.
Thus, for the same weight, dehydrated fruit has more fiber, vitamins (with the exception of vitamin C, which is sensitive to light and heat) and minerals than fresh fruit. However, it also has a higher sugar content, namely glucose and fructose, and consequent energy value.
Excessive consumption of fructose has been associated with negative health effects, such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
One of the problems with consuming this product is portion control. Excessive consumption easily occurs, consequently leading to an increase in caloric and sugar intake.
FRESH FRUIT VS DEHYDRATED FRUIT
To better understand the nutritional difference between fresh fruit and dehydrated fruit, we compared the nutritional composition of fresh apple and dehydrated apple per 100g:
|Composition (100g)||Fresh apple||Dehydrated apple|
|Of which sugars (g)||13.4||57.1|
|Vitamin C (mg)||7||4|
By analyzing the body composition values, you can see that when adjusted to 100g, the drying process promotes an increase in the concentration of calories, carbohydrates (namely glucose + fructose), fiber, potassium, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium. There is also a loss of vitamins, namely vitamin C and carotenes.
It is worth noting that if the food is naturally low in a certain type of vitamin or mineral, after processing it will continue to have a low micronutrient value. Therefore, the nutritional value attributed to a particular dehydrated fruit will depend on the type of fresh fruit used. An example of this are red fruits which, after the drying process, continue to have a high antioxidant value.
IS (THEN) DEHYDRATED FRUIT A GOOD OPTION?
Consuming these products can facilitate the intake of fiber and antioxidants, however they are rich in sugar and calories and can lead to consequences when consumed in excess.
In weight loss situations, the consumption of these products is not recommended, as they are rich in carbohydrates and portion control is difficult, leading to an increase in food intake and consequent failure in the weight loss process.
Preferring fresh fruit will promote greater satiety and lower caloric intake when compared to consuming the same portion of dehydrated fruit.
Even if you consume dehydrated fruit in your daily diet, it is important to introduce fresh fruit, as its consumption does not replace all the beneficial compounds found in natural fruit. Therefore, it is recommended that you consume around 3 servings of fruit per day.
However, it could be a good “desk snack” to introduce, if there is adequate control of the portion consumed, replacing salty snacks, such as chips, sugary biscuits and roasted and salted oil fruits. However, to increase satiety, it is recommended that you consume dehydrated fruit together with a source of lean protein, such as low-fat dairy products.