Q. Are dried fruits as nutritious as fresh, canned or frozen?
A. Diane L. McKay, an assistant professor at Tufts’ Friedman School, answers: “The short answer is yes, provided you adjust the serving size. That is, when fruit is dried, most of the water is removed in the process, which means the final product has less volume and weight than its fresh, canned or frozen form. Because there is less of the fruit remaining after drying, the serving size will be smaller, and all of the nutrients, and sugars, will be more concentrated. So, when you compare one-quarter cup of dried fruit with a one-cup serving of its fresh, frozen or canned (water-packed) counterpart, the amount of each nutrient is really close.
“Of course, there are exceptions. Because the drying process may involve heat, or prolonged exposure to air, in general dried fruit tends to have lower amounts of the water-soluble vitamins, like vitamin C and some of the B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, folate), as well as vitamin A. However, a 2011 study by Keast et al. reported improved nutrient intakes, a higher overall diet quality score, and lower body weight among US adults who consume dried fruit.”
An even more recent study of fruit and vegetable consumption and lower mortality risk found a positive association with dried fruit consumption and reduced risk.