Dried fruit can be excellent way to get your daily fruit servings in a convenient, on-the-go manner, but should you be concerned about how much added sugar is in various dried fruits? The answer is yes.

Certain dried fruits typically do not contain added sugars because when dried they are sweet enough on their own. These often include raisins, apricots, bananas, peaches, etc.

But, there are many other dried fruits that do incorporate additional sugars. Some are often candied, or let's just say have a full-on sugar coating. So, you might as well be eating something very close to Sour Patch Kids. Typically, these dried fruits include pineapple, mango, cranberries, cherries, and blueberries. If not candied, these fruits are often infused with various sweeteners or juices to ensure the sugary taste you would get from eating fresh fruit. But, this is something to be mindful of when purchasing and consuming dried fruit, especially if on a regular basis.

What you can do?

The key here is to check the nutrition label and ingredient list before you purchase your foods. Under new FDA laws, all food companies are being required to include an “Added Sugars” component to every nutrition label. This will be listed under "Total Sugars", so an easy comparison between these numbers can be made. Every company has until 2020 to comply with this law, but many manufacturers have already recreated their food labels.

This addition will make it very easy for consumers to determine whether or not their packaged foods are chocked full of additional sweeteners or if the sugar content is coming solely from the fruit itself.

Portion Control

Another very important thing you should keep in mind when eating dried fruit is the serving size. It is VERY easy to consume way more than the serving size, especially if you are like me and could eat trail mix by the pound. The typical serving size for dried fruit is between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup, and according to the FDA's MyPlate recommendations, a 1/2 cup serving is equal to one serving of fruit. 

Since the physical process of drying food removes the majority of the water content, we are left with a fruit basically shriveled. Let’s just say what once was a whole apricot might be the size of one dried apricot. So with this being said, it’s easy to see how the calories can rack up pretty dang quick.

Now, I am not advising against dried fruit because it truly is delicious and nutritious, but read your labels and search for companies that sell no sugar added dried fruits. I promise you they are out there. Trader Joe’s and Target sell a wide variety of dried fruits and many that do not contain added sugars. They might be a little more pricey, but hey, at least you are getting the real thing.