March 15, 2010

Fresh, Frozen, Canned & Dried Fruit: How Does Fiber Content Stack Up?

Trying to increase dietary fiber intake usually means adding more fruit to your diet. As a rule, fruit has more fiber per serving (3-5 grams/serving) than do vegetables (1-3 grams/serving). But what kind of fruit is best if you're concerned about fiber? When we're talking about fruit, there are generally four categories the fruit can fall under:
  1. Fresh fruit
  2. Canned fruit
  3. Frozen fruit
  4. Dried fruit
Fresh and frozen fruit are usually identical when it comes to fiber content. Canned fruits tend to have the same amount of fiber as their fresh/frozen counterparts, however, there is often added sugar (from syrup or juice) that increases calorie content of canned fruits.

Dried fruit is a little trickier - the dehydration process removes the water-holding capabilities of fiber. Dried fruit tends to be lower in fiber per serving than the fresh fruit it came from. Certain types of dried fruit are often sweetened with extra sugar (think dried pineapple and cranberries), which increases calorie counts and decreases overall nutritive value. 

Additionally,  because of the compact nature of dried fruit, it's easy to eat a LOT of calories worth of dried fruit in a short period of time. You can pop 130 calories of raisins (1/4 cup's worth) in a few bites; whereas, eating 130 calories of grapes (about 1 cup's worth) takes a longer amount of time, meaning you're likely to consume less calories overall with fresh vs. dried fruit.

So when weighing your fruit and fiber options - fresh is usually best (with frozen options high up on the list too). Compared to dried fruits, fresh fruit:
  • Has no added sugar
  • Contains more water
  • Often contains less calories per serving
  • Is higher in fiber