It’s a common misconception to think that eating dried fruit when trying to lose weight loss is a good idea. It’s just fruit, right? It’s a healthy plant-based snack. So it must be ok!
Well, yes, that is true. However, while you are still getting most of the nutrients of fresh fruit in dried fruit, you are also consuming a lot more calories when eating fried fruit.
So, does dried fruit make you gain weight? Yes, dried fruit can be just as bad for your waistline as candy if you aren’t careful! This is a problem if you are trying to lose weight, as you must stay in a calorie deficit.
Keep reading to learn why I don’t recommend eating dried fruit while on a weight loss journey.
Does Dried Fruit Make You Gain Weight?
A study done by Penn State in 2020 found that people who eat dried fruit are healthier than people who don’t.
I can assume though, that this is most likely because people who eat dried fruit are more health-conscious.
After all, it’s better to eat dried fruit than a bag of chips. Then at least you are getting all the nutrients from the fruit, and you aren’t just eating empty calories.
I know what you might be thinking: “Great! I’ll just eat dried fruit so I can be healthier!”. Not so fast!
If you continue reading further into the findings of the study, it says that they also found that “people consumed more total calories on days when they ate dried fruit.”
There is no way around it. Eating dried fruit is likely to cause weight gain because it makes it much more challenging to stay in a calorie deficit.
The Guide To Buying Dried Fruit
What you should do is do not buy dried fruit and eat fresh or frozen fruit instead. However, if you want to ignore my advice, here is what you need to keep in mind:
1. Only eat dried fruit in very small amounts.
3. Only buy organic dried fruit.
4. Only buy dried fruit that has no sugar added.
In the next section, I will go into more detail on why I’m making the recommendations above. So keep reading!
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly of Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is not all bad. It definitely has its benefits. The problem is people believing that it’s a good idea to eat dried fruit when they are trying to lose weight.
Let’s explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of dried fruit!
1. The Good
a. Dried fruit is healthy, as it has a lot of nutrients.
Although there are some exceptions, one serving of dried fruit is likely to have as much fiber, vitamins, and minerals as eating the fresh serving of fruit itself.
One exception is that dried fruit will contain a bit less vitamin C than fresh fruit.
So, for the most part, you wouldn’t be missing out on the health benefits of eating the fruit fresh.
In all transparency, you might find me eating prunes on one of those rare days where I’m constipated. It happens to the best of us!
b. Dried fruit is convenient and available all year round.
On the rare occasions, I do buy dried fruit, I put the bag in my purse and pull it out whenever I feel hungry.
And while I think that many of you would agree with me that the convenience is a plus, I could argue that why not just eat an apple or a banana instead? I can also put those in my purse!
2. The Bad
So far, eating dried fruit doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, it’s not all good either!
The pretty packaging with images of fresh fruit might be fooling you. Next time you pick a bag of dried fruit, I want you to check the ingredients writing on the label.
a. This might come as a surprise to you. Are you ready? A lot of dried fruit actually has added sugar and corn syrup. Say what!
Sugar is not good if you are trying to lose weight. Just one tablespoon of sugar has about 48 calories. So, avoid buying dried fruit that has sugar as one of its ingredients.
b. Some brands of dried fruit that are not organic are more likely to contain sulfur dioxide. This preservative can be problematic if you have asthma, a sulfite sensitivity, or a sulfite allergy.
Some fruit such as blueberries are known to be heavily sprayed with pesticides, so it is better to stick with organic fruit anyways.
3. The Ugly
My other gripe with dried fruit is that you are very likely to end up eating more than you should.
It easy to consume a lot of calories eating dried fruit. What would make you more full if you think about it, eating 20 raisins or 20 grapes? Eating 20 grapes, of course!
Eating the actual grapes would also keep you chewing and eating longer, whereas, with 20 raisins, I could put them all in my mouth all at once.
To put this into perspective, on average, 1 cup of fresh grapes has 60 calories vs. 1 cup of raisins with 430 calories!
So, does dried fruit make you gain weight? It definitely can!
The problem is that to make dried fruit, the water content is taken out from the fruit. Therefore, the fruit is reduced in size, and it doesn’t fill us up as it would if we were eating the fresh fruit.
That, combined with the added sugar, is a recipe for disaster when it comes to weight loss.
If you want to lose weight on a plant-based diet, eat fresh fruit instead of dried fruit whenever possible (click the link for a list of the top 5 fruits with the lowest calories).
You will not only be avoiding consuming unnecessary sugar, but you will also reduce your calorie intake for the day.
However, eating dried fruit is not all bad, as your body will still get all the fiber and antioxidants present in fresh fruit.
So, if you still want to snack on dried fruit despite my recommendation not to, buy dried fruit that has no added sugars, that’s organic, and try not to overeat.
Do you eat or avoid dried fruit when you are in weight loss mode? Let me know in the comments section below!