Dried Fruits: Debunking the Sugar Myth
Traditional dried fruits have long been seen as a healthy snacking option in various areas of the world where sufficient sunlight allows for the preservation of fruits, such as the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. It has become critical to dispel certain long-held misunderstandings regarding the sugar content of dried fruits, which have become myths.
Traditional dried fruits are high in dietary fiber, low in fat and salt, and packed with vital micronutrients including potassium, copper, manganese, iron, and vitamins A, E, K, and niacin. Dried fruits are higher in sugars since they are carbohydrate foods, and with the present emphasis on sugar reduction, their healthy track record is being called into question, especially in countries where dried fruits have not traditionally been a native cuisine.
Sugar myths in dried fruits have their origins in dried fruits. So, are health specialists recommending dried fruits as a component of the solution?
The popularity of processed fruit snacks containing variable amounts of fruit pieces, fruit juice concentrate, and other types of added sugar, for example, glucose syrup in yoghurt coating and such other types of preservatives are blurring the lines between confectionery (high free/added sugar) and traditional dried fruits (no added sugar). Consumers have not questioned the assertion that processed fruit snacks with added sugar are nutritious, with some claiming to contribute to the 5-a-day and being convenient for children's lunch boxes.
Furthermore, traditional dried fruits are being added to the list of foods that should only be consumed during mealtimes due to their alleged negative impact on teeth. This is a potentially dangerous instance of urban legend, with rumours spreading uncontrolled over time and then being accepted as fact in new official health recommendations. Whole dried fruit should be acknowledged as a handy alternative to fresh fruit because conventional dried fruit is simply fresh fruit with the water removed. Because certain key influencers simply look at the relative sugar level of dried fruit, it's been very straightforward to follow the oral health advice and limit dried fruit consumption to mealtimes. Positioning traditional dried fruit as a near relative to confectionery rather than a nutritional alternative to popular snacks heavy in sugar, fat, and salt is incorrect and undercuts their potential as a nutritious alternative to popular snacks.
In 2011, an outstanding paper by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) summarised experts' findings that traditional dried fruits may and should be considered alongside fresh fruits to help achieve the higher fruit and vegetable intakes required for enhanced health outcomes.
The dried fruit business needs to convey the nutritious content and possible health advantages of traditional dried fruits based on reliable and high-quality research to correct misconceptions. Overall, we can continue to enjoy certain confectionery, so processed fruit snacks have a place, but traditional dried fruits are the most significant dietary choices that may enhance consumers' snacking habits.