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More information about dried fruit?

Is dried fruit just fruit?
Dehydrated fruit is the result of a process of almost completely removing water from fresh fruit, so no further ingredients need to be added to the process. However, the product label should be consulted to see if there has been any added sugar or salt, which would impoverish the food.
How many ingredients are there in a dried fruit snack?
Ideally only those referring to the number of fruits used to compose the food product in question. If we are talking about, for example, dehydrated apples, there should only be 1 ingredient in the ingredients list. However, this information should always be confirmed on the product label.
Does dried fruit have sugar?
The traditional dehydration process does not involve the use of sugar. In this context, the sugar present in the product is only that which is naturally present in it, coming from the fresh fruit from which it originated. It should only be noted that by removing the water from the fresh fruit, all the nutrients that remain for the final product will be more concentrated, which is why you will find a high amount of sugar per 100 g of dehydrated fruit. This way, it will be important to take into account the amount consumed of this type of food.
Is it healthy to include dried fruit in breakfast or snacks?
Dehydrated fruit can be a good complement to a breakfast or snack, as long as you take into consideration the addition of other food sources that contain complex carbohydrates (e.g. bread, breakfast cereals) and food sources that contain protein (e.g. yoghurt, milk, cheese), making the meal in question more suitable. Obviously the portion to be consumed, which is included in each meal, should not be neglected, and up to 20g of dried fruit may be the most appropriate quantity.
What are the benefits of eating dehydrated fruit?
Dehydrated fruit, as a snack, represents an excellent alternative to other snacks on the market that are high in fat, sugar and salt (Chang SK, 2016). In addition, it may provide significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals and phenolic compounds, which may promote the reduction of the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, such as Obesity, Type II Diabetes Mellitus or Cardiovascular Disease (Keast DR, 2004; Donno D, 2019; Sadler MJ, 2019). Thus, when consumed in moderation, it may represent an interesting complement to a varied and balanced diet.
Are there nutritional losses during the dehydration process?

The main losses are in water, vitamin C and phytochemicals and phenolic compounds, which are lost during the process. Otherwise, the nutrients in the original fresh fruit remain almost constant. With the loss of water from the original product, the nutrients and compounds that remain for the final product will be more concentrated.    

How many times a week can you snack on dried fruit?

A weekly food plan should be worked out according to the individual daily needs of each person. In the case of a person of normal health and weight, there will be room to include dried fruit in one of their daily snacks. In the case of individuals with other health conditions, this adjustment should always be carried out in conjunction with the dietician.

The nutritional interest of these snacks is reinforced, especially in terms of their content in phytochemicals and phenolic compounds with antioxidant effects, so they can work as a good complement to a balanced and varied diet (Chang, SK, 2016).

Can you give dehydrated fruit to children?

There is no contraindication for the consumption of dried fruit by children. There are some studies that address the issue of consumption of dried fruit snacks and oral health, but there is no consensus on the subject (Sadler MJ, 2019).In the case of children, the recommended daily intake limit of simple sugars is lower than for adults, so more attention should be paid to the dose consumed. Furthermore, you should also take into account the type of combinations you make so that the meal including dehydrated fruit does not have an exaggerated amount of simple sugars.  

Is eating dehydrated fruit fattening?

Like any food containing energy, when consumed in excess, it can contribute to weight gain. Therefore, when consumed in moderation, it has no influence on weight. 

In addition, it is important to highlight the substantial difference that a dehydrated fruit snack can present compared to other snacks on the market with high quantities of sugars, fat and salt, such as crisps, popcorn, chocolates, salty fried oleaginous fruits, biscuits, among others. Thus, one can have the pleasure of eating a snack which is appealing from a sensory point of view and without the imbalance of snacks rich in fat, sugars and/or salt.  

Can a person with Diabetes Mellitus consume dehydrated fruit?

If you take into consideration the amount of simple sugars present in dried fruit and combine its consumption with a balanced diet and physical activity, there will be no problem in consuming it. Besides, if you count carbohydrates, you can easily count them by checking the information on the package label and thus consume this snack more consciously. 

On the other hand, a 2017 review showed that dried, dehydrated and oleaginous fruit snacks may have a protective effect against certain metabolic diseases, such as Type II Diabetes Mellitus. This evidence is due to the profile of macro- and micronutrients and other bioactive compounds present, which explains the beneficial effects on the modulation of glucose and insulin metabolism shown in epidemiological studies carried out by Hernández-Alonso P, 2017).

Is eating dehydrated fruit the same thing as eating fresh fruit?

Although dried fruit preserves many of the nutritional qualities of fresh fruit (when comparing a portion of fruit with the corresponding amount of dried fruit), the end product is not the same, especially when taking into account the vitamin C content. However, not all fruits are good suppliers of vitamin C, so an adjustment of interpretation should also be made at this level. Some authors argue that dehydrated fruit could be inserted into the fresh fruit recommendations (in the equivalent reduced doses) in order to promote an increase in fruit consumption overall (Donno D, 2019; Sadler MJ, 2019), however, in Portugal, this recommendation is not included in the reference food guide - the Mediterranean Food Wheel (DGS, 2016). In this context, dehydrated fruit snacks can work as a complement, when consumed in the appropriate doses and included in a balanced diet and physical activity plan, accompanied by a nutritionist. 

Bibliographic References
The Mediterranean Diet Wheel. National Programme for the Promotion of Healthy Eating. Directorate General of Health. 2017. Chang, S. K., Alasalvar, C., & Shahidi, F. (2016). Review of dried fruits: Phytochemicals, antioxidant efficacies, and health benefits. Journal of Functional Foods, 21, 113-132. doi: Donno, D., Mellano, M. G., Riondato, I., De Biaggi, M., Andriamaniraka, H., Gamba, G., & Beccaro, G. L. (2019). Traditional and Unconventional Dried Fruit Snacks as a Source of Health-Promoting Compounds. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 8(9), 396. Hernández-Alonso, P., Camacho-Barcia, L., Bulló, M., & Salas-Salvadó, J. (2017). Nuts and Dried Fruits: An Update of Their Beneficial Effects on Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients, 9(7), 673. Keast, D. R., O’Neil, C. E., & Jones, J. M. (2011). Dried fruit consumption is associated with improved diet quality and reduced obesity in US adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2004. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.), 31(6), 460–467. Sadler, M. J., Gibson, S., Whelan, K., Ha, M-A., Lovegrove, L. & Higgs, J. (2019) Dried fruit and public health – what does the evidence tell us?, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 70:6, 675-687, DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2019.1568398