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Is freeze-dried fruit healthy?

By The Health News Team | November 1, 2022
Freeze-dried apples

Freeze-dried fruit has become an increasingly popular snack. It’s light, with a crispy texture, and has an intense fruit flavor. However, you may wonder, “Is freeze-dried fruit as healthy as fresh fruit?”

According to Lindsay Yau, a Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers registered dietitian nutritionist, freeze-drying fruit causes some nutrient loss, but the overall method produces a high-quality, nutrient dense treat that is almost equal to that of fresh fruit. In fact, research has shown that freeze-dried fruit holds up to 90% of its original nutritional content and is a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals — chemicals produced by plants.

Benefits of freeze-dried fruit
Freeze-drying, or lyophilization, is a form of dehydration. The method was originally used to produce instant coffee and to create what we know as “space food.”

Freeze-dried fruit undergoes sublimation to remove water, allowing for maximum retention of nutrients and other benefits:

  • Nutrients
    Freeze-drying is the most effective food preservation method — maintaining the fruit’s structure, taste and nutritional value. The process allows for better retention of certain vitamins, such as thiamin and vitamin C. In addition, freeze-dried fruit is rarely produced with added sugar, whereas some forms of dried fruit often have sugar added to them.

  • Longer shelf life
    Freeze-drying increases the shelf life of fruit beyond 25 years. Since freeze-dried fruit does not require refrigeration, it is a great emergency and camping food option. Freeze-dried fruit can also save you space because of its smaller size in comparison to fresh fruit. Most importantly, the fruit can be rehydrated and restored to its original structure while retaining almost all its nutrients.

  • Convenience
    Freeze-dried fruit is convenient because it’s lightweight, portable and lasts a long time. Almost all freeze-dried fruit is ready to eat and can be enjoyed as a healthy snack.

Fresh vs. frozen vs. dried fruit
While choosing fresh or frozen fruit without added sugar over dried fruit is your best option, if convenience, cold storage and portability are concerns, freeze-dried fruit is a good alternative. A downside to consuming dried fruit is it may not be as filling as whole fruit because of the lack of water. In addition, because it is dry, dried fruit is more concentrated and calorie dense than equal amounts of its fresh counterpart.

“The most important part of a balanced diet is to incorporate a variety of fresh, frozen, and if desired, freeze-dried fruit and vegetables,” says Yau. “Always aim for what would make it easier for you to reach for more fruits and vegetables — whether it is fresh, frozen or dried.”

Yau also advises to check labels for added sugars and stay within your budget. Frozen fruit and vegetables are more affordable than their fresh and freeze-dried alternatives.

Learn more about nutrition; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News.

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