When should we eat dry fruit?

Sugar alternative: dried fruit - how healthy is it?

Is Dried fruit healthyand a valuable alternative to sweets?

Some swear by the natural, wrinkled fruits, others call dried fruit a calorie bomb or a sugar trap. Whether thick juice, syrup, granulated sugar or dried fruits - they are all rich in sugar. But how can the fruit sweetness be assessed in comparison to the other sugar alternatives? What else is in the concentrated product? Is dried fruit healthy? And how can you dry fruit yourself? In this article you will get our answers to all these questions about dried fruit.

Did you know already …

... that conventionally marketed banana chips are not freeze-dried, but are fried and sugared banana slices (Rehrmann, 2007)?

What is dried fruit?

Let's start from the very beginning: Fresh fruit has an extremely high water content averaging 80-90%. If we allow this liquid to evaporate by applying moderate heat, the so-called dried fruits are created, which only contain a quarter to a tenth of the original water content. For example, if we look at a fig, 1 kg of fresh fruit will make 250 g of dried fruit. By removing the water, the shelf life is automatically extended to up to a year, which is why drying or dehydration is also optimal Conservation methodis appreciated. What you should consider when storing: a dry, cool and dark environment (Rehrmann, 2007).

Due to the loss of water, the concentration changes at the same time Nutrients.Both the main nutrients, i.e. primarily carbohydrates, as well as fiber, minerals and vitamin A (retinol equivalent) are retained through the drying process (Gyurova et Enikova, 2014). We find all of these substances in a much more concentrated form than in the original fruit; the end product is above all rich in sugar and therefore also rich in energy (Hernández-Alonso et al.,2017).

The so-called Soft fruitsare also very popular. In order to get from the dried fruit to the soft fruit, the dried products are treated with steam, whereby they regain part of their water content (Rehrmann, 2007).

Dried fruit: production methods

If you want to dry fruit, there are different options. In the tropical south is preferably the Sunthe most common and at the same time most natural form of drying, whereas in more moderate climates drying systems are used for the industrial production of dried food (Engelbrecht, 2009). Another popular method is freeze-drying, in which water is gently removed from the fruits and the like in a vacuum; even the original color is retained. On the other hand, it is Freeze dryingenormously energy-consuming (Rehrmann, 2007).

Of course, you can also make your own fruity delicacies yourself, with the help of your oven or a dehydrator. We'll tell you below how you can easily dehydrate fruit yourself.

Dried fruit: advantages and disadvantages at a glance

Hidden sugar bomb or nutrient-rich energy donor? Whether dried fruit is healthy depends primarily on the respective processing method. When carefully dried, the fruits still contain a large number of valuable ingredients. Especially Minerals,like potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, the dried fruit has to offer. We also find a surprising amount of fiber in the sweet delicacies, which, among other things, ensure healthy digestion. In addition to energy, dried fruit can provide you with a number of substances that you need, especially in sport. Compared to fresh fruit, their long shelf life is another advantage for storage, and if you still get the fruit from fair trade, you are also providing social support to smallholders in the south.

So far, so good: But what about the other side of the coin? As you can tell by the taste alone, dried fruits are also a type of sweet because, despite all the healthy ingredients, it dominates sugarthe product. If we look again at the fig as an example, one tenth of the fresh fruit is made up of sugar and half of the dried fruit. This also means that we use it to nourish our caries bacteria.

In addition, a handful, or more precisely the heat-unstable vitamins, are lost during the drying process. For example, it comes to one Vitamin C lossof around 50-70% (Rehrmann, 2007; BLS).

Dried Fruit: Healthy Ingredients?

With a relatively high energy content of around 150-350 kcal / 100 g and a dominant carbohydrate content, the sweet treat does not make an attractive impression at first glance. Above all, the easily soluble single and double sugars are found to be highly concentrated in dried fruit.

But the fruits shine in theirs Micronutrient spectrum.From a nutritional point of view, a low proportion of sodium and, at the same time, an astonishingly high potassium content speak clearly in favor of dried fruit. Even if we find more or less large differences in the individual nutrient contents in the different types of fruit, they are all significantly richer in iron & Co than some other sugar alternatives. Unless they are additionally treated and do not contain any added isolated sugar, one can safely say that dried fruit is healthy.

Table 1:Popular dried fruits with selected nutritional values ​​per 100 g of food (BLS)

Energy (kcal)Sugar (g)Dietary fiber (g)Potassium (mg)Magnesium (mg)Calcium (mg)Iron (μg)
Apple247501162223301200
pineapple17238455552491234
Apricots2384318137050824400
Cranberries3126742641115330
Dates27864965050631900
Figs2545510850701933300
mango28960883588591965
Plums1432555122326813
Peaches2364813134054446900
Raisins30467578241802270

Dried fruit: what to look out for

However, not every product on the supermarket shelf can be classified as being of comparable quality. For example, the use of Preservatives,like the widely used sulphite containing sulphite, the value of the product. Incidentally, if the amount is> 10 mg sulfite / kg, the substance must be specified on the list of ingredients on the packaging. You can also find the preservative under the E numbers E 220, E 221 or E 228. Sensitive people in particular can react to the sulphurous acid with headaches, nausea, diarrhea or even an asthma attack. If you use organically produced dried fruit, you automatically bypass the unwanted preservatives, because their use is not allowed in organic production.

Those considered by many to be healthy Banana chipsare unfortunately more of a deep-fried and candied calorie trap than a healthy snack. The product contains almost 35% more calories than the freeze-dried or largely untreated banana chips.

Can be comparably inferior candiedas well aschocolatedDried fruits are classified. Their high degree of processing, with the addition of sugar and fat, significantly reduce the health value.

Dried fruit: that's what science says

According to our previous classification, one could say that dried fruit is healthy. But what are nutritional researchers saying?

So far, there have been a handful of studies on the effects of dried fruits or primarily raisins. For example, speak Hernández-Alonso et al. (2017) of a preventive as well as therapeutic effect Metabolic diseases,such as type 2 diabetes mellitus. Your ratings are based on both the effects of dried fruits and nuts. The secondary plant substances of the dried grape (resveratrol, quercetin, etc.) as well as the valuable dietary fiber are primarily responsible for the positive effects. Their anti-inflammatory and blood sugar-regulating effects as well as a multitude of other positive effects on a physiological, cellular and even gene-modulating level were highlighted in the review.

The glycemic index (GI), This means that the intensity of the increase in blood sugar after consumption of a food can also be classified as moderate in the case of dried fruit due to the sometimes high fiber content (Gyurova et Enikova, 2014). As you can see in Table 2, dried plums, apples and apricots in particular have a GI that is only half as low as table sugar; because this one plays with a value of 65 in a completely different league (Strohm, 2013).

Table 2:Glycemic index of selected dried fruits (Gyurova etEnikova, 2014)

Glycemic Index
Dates62
Figs61
Raisins54
Peaches35
Apricots30
Apples29
Plums29

Dehydrating fruit: this is how it works

The dried fruits can of course also be easily produced at home. If you want to dehydrate fruit, you'll either need a dehydrator or just an oven.

With the designated dehydrator you can even put your fruits in Raw food quality,in other words, let it dry at a maximum of 40 ° C. Vitamins that are sensitive to heat are largely retained and the taste is optimized. As an alternative, the oven can also be used, which, however, is associated with a relatively high energy consumption for the necessary duration of the heating. In addition, air does not flow around the food in the oven from all sides, which in turn increases the drying time.

Before you start drying, cut your desired types of fruit into slices and place them on the grid of the dehydrator or on the baking tray of the oven. Core fruit containing pits before drying. The thinner the slices, the shorter the drying time. In the oven you use the convection function and temperatures of around 50 ° C. On average, most types of fruit take between 12 and 24 hours to dry sufficiently.

To the StoreClassic mason jars with rubber closures are suitable. It is important to note that you let the freshly dried fruit cool down so that residual moisture can be released while it is still warm (Keimling, 2016; Ansahl).

Our conclusion on dried fruit

Is dried fruit healthy or just a type of sweet that doesn't make a valuable contribution to our diet? First and foremost, he decides Manufacturing processAbout the nutritional value of the product: Air-dried in the sun, self-parched and therefore largely unprocessed, the sweet fruits can be described as a healthy snack. The more processed, additionally sweetened or preserved with sulfites, the more worthless the product.

Overall, however, the high sugar content should not be underestimated and, just like with all other sweeteners, we recommend moderate, yet enjoyable consumption. In addition to fresh fruit, which should be your primary source of sugar, dried fruit can add to the diet with Extra portion of sweetnessround off tasty. In any case, the sweet fruits are a more valuable source of sugar than highly processed sugars and, above all, synthetically produced sweeteners.

The content of this article cannot and should not replace individual vegan nutritional advice. In the directory for vegan nutritional advice, you will find expert support, either locally or online.

 

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Ansahl Consulting GmbH. Drying - drying food cleverly and discovering new dishes. An e-book from gruenesmoothies.org

BLS. Federal Food Key Version 3.02. Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Engelbrecht J. Fruits and their preparation for the bakery and confectionery. Knowledge Forum Backwaren e.V. (2009), 4th unchanged edition, pp. 1-24.

Gyurova D.K., Enikova R.K. Dried fruits - brief characteristics of their nutritional values. Author’s own data for dietary fibers content. Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences (2014). Vol. 2 (4): 105-109.

Hernández-Alonso P., Camacho-Barcia L., Bulló M., Salas-Salvadó J. Nuts and Dried Fruits: An Update of Their Beneficial Effects on Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients (2017). Vol. 9 (7), E673: 1-34.

Seedling natural food. Drying in raw food quality. Special info no. S56191 (2016).

Rehrmann N. Dried fruits. Wrinkled exotics. UGBforum (2007). Vol. 6: 283-284.

Strohm D. Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load - A Concept Relevant to Nutritional Practice in Healthy People? Scientific opinion of the DGE. Nutritional review (2013). Vol. 1: M26-M38.

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  • Dried dates, apricots, goji berries: © dream79 - stock.adobe.com
  • Red berries mixed, dried: © hanabiyori - stock.adobe.com
  • Individual goji berries: © mates - stock.adobe.com
  • Cover picture - dried fruit with nuts in shell: © sriba3 - stock.adobe.com
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Medical disclaimer and further information

Medical disclaimer

Like any science, medicine and related disciplines are subject to constant development. Research and clinical experience expand our knowledge, especially when it comes to treatment and therapy. Insofar as a recommendation, dosage, application, etc. is mentioned in the information provided, you can trust that we have taken great care to ensure that this information corresponds to the state of knowledge at the time the work was completed. However, no guarantee or liability can be assumed for such. You are encouraged to check this yourself carefully and act at your own risk. Furthermore, in the event of an existing illness, our recommendations and advice should in no way replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment - it is not a therapy. You should therefore never use the information we provide as the sole source for making health-related decisions. If you have any complaints, you should definitely seek medical advice.

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