Sweet, sweeter and sweetest. Today, more and more companies are packaging and inducing consumers to buy their dried fruit products. And more and more dried foods are showing up on food logs.
Just about any fruit can be dried, but some are more commonly eaten in their dried form than others. There are many advantages to dried food. Yet, as with almost everything, there come disadvantages as well.
Go for it
Popular forms of dried fruits are raisins, prunes, figs, dates, currants, apricots and apples. Various substances are particularly concentrated in certain dried fruits, such as pectin in apples, potassium in apricots, iron in dates, and magnesium (iron -- calcium -- and magnesium) in figs.
The most obvious advantage of these dried fruits is that they don't spoil as quickly and thus have a longer shell life than their fresh fruit counterparts. They are also easier to pack for road trips, hikes, and like excursions.
Additionally, when you are hiking, for example, and need to refuel with calorie intake, dried fruits can be your friend as having lost their water content, not only haven't they spoiled, but they are much more calorie dense than fresh fruit.
Unfortunately, this is where I can't help but think of their disadvantages as well.
When to stay away
If you are overweight and have issues with blood sugar and insulin levels, such as diabetes or other conditions, then you don't want to mindlessly eat raisins, dates, or dried pineapple. And certainly in any weight loss program, managing your blood sugar and insulin levels is one of the key tasks that you need to accomplish. Dried fruits have higher concentrations of sugar than fresh fruits. If you are sensitive to sugar it would be wise to read up on the subjects of the Glycemic index and Glycemic load.
Another issue is that many dried foods are preserved with sulfur dioxide, to which some people, particularly those with asthma or allergies, may be sensitive.
Vitamins are lost in the drying process and since dried fruit has a longer shelf-life, it will lose even more of its nutritional benefits the longer it is stored.
The many advantages of fresh fruit far outweigh those of dried fruit. One of them is a higher vitamin content. Enzymes are another. Receiving the best nourishment from in-season fruits are another. And consuming seasonal fruits creates a natural rotation of a variety of nutrients in one's diet throughout the year, as different fruits come into season. There are many more benefits that can be listed as to why to eat fresh fruits vs. dried fruits.
Unless you are on an expedition where you don't have access to fresh fruit (Himalayas, the North Pole, the desert...) I highly recommend fresh vs. dried fruit.
Europe's Premier Youngevity Coach
Stefan Aschan is the author of the Alpine Weight Loss Secrets book. Preview new strategies, sign up for daily e-mail, meet the author and more by going visiting www.stefanaschan.com or www.AlpineWeightLossSecrets.com.