It crunches like a chip, but it’s actually a fruit?! Life is solved—goodbye Lays, hello dried apricots and stomach muscles. Well, although dried fruit is pretty much fresh fruit without water, stay on the qui vive while shopping for and eating these snacks. Their fruity pedigree can be misleading.
Thousands and thousands of years back Phoenicians and Egyptians munched on traditional dried fruits as healthy alternatives to fresh fruits. I know what you’re thinking–our society idolizes the eating habits of ancient humans (AKA Paleo Diet). If they ate dried fruit, so should we!
Well, that was a long damn time ago, and the farther away we’ve gotten from ancient history, the farther we’ve gotten from keeping dried fruit healthy.
Ancient civilians would use dates, date juice volatilized into syrup and raisins as sweeteners. Today, we have advanced ways to candy and sweeten these fruits so that they taste like freakin bonbons. And if it tastes like a bonbon, it’s probably not that great for you.
Think about it—when a fruit or piece of fruit is dehydrated, it gets much smaller. For example, say you dehydrate one cup of fresh apricots… you’ll get ¼ cup of dried apricots. Sounds simple and intuitive enough, but it’s pretty freaking hard to remember when you’re digging into a bag of something delicious.
Tip: If you’re watching your calorie consumption, measure the fruit in a cup rather than eating it out of the bag.
If companies dry their fruit chemically, the fruit loses a lot of health benefits–and then as a result all us consumers get ticked off because it’s supposed to be a fruit snack, man. It’s suppose to be healthy. Well, thanks to sulfur dioxide and other chemical substances you can say goodbye to Vitamin C and Vitamin B.
Companies add sugar to these snacks which degenerates the health gain even more. I know what you’re thinking: is this a joke? Am I even eating anything nutritive at this point?
To avoid these added sweeteners, check out the list of ingredients. The only ingredient that dried fruit should have is … well, the fruit. Search for labels that say “no sugar added”; dried fruits like cranberries, pineapple and bananas might be tough to find without added sugar.
Color is also a useful way to distinguish the healthy dried fruit from the not so healthy. Unappetizing, I know, but brown and withered (ew) is your safest bet.