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Why Dried Fruits Are NOT A Healthy Snack Food

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Do you love eating dried fruit? Let me share with you why consuming this sweet snack might be a problem when you are on a ketogenic diet.

RELATED: If Sugar Is So Bad Then Why Is Fruit So Healthy

In this article:

  1. Dried Fruit Is Not a Health Food
  2. What Is Dried Fruit?
  3. Half a Cup of Fresh Cranberries Versus Half a Cup of Dried Cranberries
  4. The Disadvantages of Eating Dried Fruit

What You Should Know About Eating Dried Fruit 

Dried Fruit Is Not a Health Food

It's really surprising to people when I tell them the best dried fruit you know is not actually a health food. In fact, it's probably one of the worst snacks you can consume. You usually see it mixed with nuts, and you sometimes mix it into your salad. 

What Is Dried Fruit?

Organic dried fruit can be nutritious because it has vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and is basically fruits that are dried or dehydrated. The only problem with this is it’s primarily concentrated sugar, and manufacturers add more sugar to it during the drying process. A lot of times, they coat high fructose corn syrup or other types of syrup to the fruit to make it really sweet. They also add sulfites, a preservative, but a lot of people are allergic to sulfites, which they don't know. Raisins are one of the most common types of dried fruit, but you can also find dried apricots, figs, prunes, and dates at the market.

Half a Cup of Fresh Cranberries Versus Half a Cup of Dried Cranberries

Hands holding fresh berries | Why Dried Fruits Are NOT A Healthy Snack Food | dried fruit nutrition

I want to compare how nutritionally different fresh fruit is from dried fruit, so you know why dried fruit is not healthy. Half a cup of fresh cranberries, for example, has only 2 g of sugar. That's hardly anything. But if you add half a cup of dried cranberries to your snack, it’s now 37 g of sugar. You see the tremendous difference in sugar content alone. On the other hand, fresh fruits like pomegranates are keto friendly and loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins which all make them a great addition to a healthy keto diet.

RELATED: Never Give A Baby Fruit Juice

The Disadvantages of Eating Dried Fruit

1. Has Fructose That Can Hinder Your Weight Loss Program

Because it’s obvious that dried fruit has a higher sugar content than fresh fruits, let me explain how it can affect your weight loss program. Your liver converts the excess fructose in dried fruit into very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), a cholesterol high in triglycerides. This conversion can lead to the storage of fat, which can result in weight gain over time. It can also create heart disease, obesity, and Fat Storing Hormone resistance.

Fructose does not signal your brain when you consume a lot, which can lead to an overconsumption of dried fruit. The sugar in it also does not stimulate leptin, a hormone responsible for regulating energy balance by preventing hunger or suppressing ghrelin, the "hunger hormone" that stimulates the appetite when you eat this snack. So, don't be surprised when you still feel hungry after eating dried fruit. 

2. Makes You Take More Calories

CALORIE counting counter application Medical | Why Dried Fruits Are NOT A Healthy Snack Food | dried fruit nutrients

Makers of dried fruit snacks took water from the product to dry it, making it less filling and denser than fresh fruits. This allows you to eat more which can result in consuming more calories than when eating whole, fresh fruits like most berries and watermelon. For example, one cup of grapes contains 150 calories only, while one cup of raisins (dried grapes) has 520 calories already. The difference in calorie content is quite huge. 

3. Causes Tooth Decay

Because dried fruit contains high levels of sugar, consuming it constantly can lead to tooth decay. Its sticky texture can harm your teeth because it can stick to them, allowing sugar to stay on your teeth for longer periods. Drinking water after eating may lessen the amount of sugar stuck on your teeth, but it does not completely go away. Brushing the teeth or using dental floss might help remove the stuck sugar on your teeth, but you need to do this immediately after you eat so the sugar does not stay long. This is also another reason why you need to think about eating dried fruit even when you're not on keto.  

4. Leads to Gastrointestinal Problems

Dried fruit is high in dietary fiber, and you need this nutrient to normalize bowel movements and promote bowel health. The problem with constantly eating dried fruit is too much fiber can bother your gut, especially if you usually don't eat high-fiber foods. Consuming very high amounts of it can lead to various health issues, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal cramping, and gas. You can consume dried fruit in small amounts if you want to take advantage of its fiber content. But if you are on a keto diet, you might want to think twice about consuming it. 

5. Contains Harmful Chemicals

Dried fruit | Why Dried Fruits Are NOT A Healthy Snack Food | is dried fruit good for you

Because dried fruit undergoes processing, it also contains chemicals that may harm your health. Some fruits have sulfur dioxide that helps extend their shelf life and enhance their color. The lighter or darker these fruits are, the higher the sulfur dioxide amount is. Although this chemical might be okay for consumption in small amounts, it can still be bad for people with chronic respiratory diseases because it can trigger asthma episodes and breathing problems. It can also trigger allergies to people who are sensitive to it and may provide symptoms, such as the following:

  • Itching in the mouth or throat
  • Throat swelling
  • Rashes
  • Sneezing
  • Migraines
  • Headaches

Sulfur Dioxide Definition: A colorless gas created by burning sulfur in the air that reacts quickly with other types of substances.

In most cases, you really have no idea where the dried fruit came from, and it's no guarantee they are organic. Some products you can eat with the skin may even have pesticides, which can be a problem, too. You don't know how farmers grow these fruits, so that’s another problem.  

It's very easy to consume a lot of dried fruit at one time versus fresh fruits because it is readily available in stores. But if you're on the ketogenic diet and trying to lose weight, dried fruit is something you want to stay away from. You want to avoid sugar, so avoid eating this sweet snack as much as possible.

Do you love eating dried fruit? How does it affect your weight loss journey? Share your experience in the comments section below!

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

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