Have you ever wondered what the difference is between fresh fruit and dried fruit, besides the latter being, well “dried?” There are actually quite a few differences between these two varieties of fruits. In terms of serving size, a half cup of dried fruit is equal to one cup of fresh fruit. Dried fruit is also more concentrated in its nutrients, calories, and sugars. To understand this, let’s look at grapes for an example.
According to the New York Times article, “Fruit, Cut and Dried,” a cup of fresh grapes are 80 percent water with 104 calories, while the equivalent serving of grapes, a half cup, is 15 percent water and has 434 calories. If you are watching you calorie intake, snacking innocently on dried fruit can unknowingly add up rather quickly. In this situation, choosing fresh grapes would be wiser, and they would also fill you up faster with their added water content. However, if you are exercising or going for a hike, and are looking for a convenient snack that could provide you with a concentrated amount of calories, then raisins would be the go to option. Raisins are also a mega house for potassium, with 1,086 milligrams per half cup serving. A fruit’s nutrients also vary in terms of its state. Fresh grapes contain 15.5 milligrams of vitamin C, while raisins are depleted to only 0.8 milligrams.
When choosing dried fruit, look for brands whose ingredient list does not contain added sugar or preservatives. The sulfur preservatives used in many brands to keep the fruit fresh and to maintain its color, have raised concern over being linked to health related issues, including asthma and other respiratory diseases. Also, some dried fruit versions can be fried, like banana chips, which at that point defeat the purpose of eating the item for its nutritional content.
At the end of the day, if you have the option of eating fresh, local fruit, that is the ideal way to go. While this is not always an option, if the only way for you to sneak a little fruit into your diet when in a bind is through a dried version, then be smart and choose the healthiest options available.