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Dried Fruit is just as bad (calorie-wise) as Candy?

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Is it true that Dried Fruit-- such as raisins in your trail mix-- is really no better (calorie-wise) than candy?

Just looking online, raisins for a quarter-cup are 100 calories already?!

Imagine that plus a fistful of nuts of whatever liking, and what is supposed to be considered a healthy trailmix is now equal to that of a snickers bar!

This is disheartening because when trying to cut out the sweets, people usually tell you to rely on dry fruit instead-- only to find out that this stuff is just as bad, and that will have to be cut too. Sigh.

Good-tasting fresh fruit is just so finnickey to find at the big Supermarket chains like Publix. What to do?

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  1. What to do? Watch the sizes and try to keep your snack calories to the 100 calorie range.

    Dried fruit is not bad calories wise if you watch your portions. Which can be difficult because of its concentration, but if you do it is a good part of any healthy diet.

    I can easily eat 6 prunes but wouldn't eat 6 plums at once. Same with peaches or apples

    As a comparison an ounce of grapes have 20 calories but an ounce of raisins has 85. So you can have more than 4 oz of grapes for the same calories which is why, in my mind, fresh is better than dried.

    This is an interesting article. Basically if you compare 100 calories of raisins vs 100 calories of grapes there is not a huge difference nutritionally. I think you can basically say the same about any dried fruit.

    In term of comparing a mix of raw nuts and dried fruits to a processed candy bar? I'd take the trail mix every time even if it had more fat/calories….

    1. You need to make a point of drinking at least 8 oz of water along with your dried fruit, which compensates for the difference in volume from fresh. It also fills you up. Nutritionally, though both have considerable sugar, dried fruit is much better than candy, which lacks vitamins and fiber.

      1. Fruit is sugar. I use a tiny bit of dried fruit in my trail mix, but more often I chop up a low carb, low cal snack bar and mix it in there. You don't need much for a bit of sweetness. I like to mix flavored almonds with natural nuts too. After awhile, you won't miss the dried fruit, other flavors going on!

        1. Dried fruits certainly have a lot of sugars including fructose. The sweeter the fruits the more sugar is there. I don't think it is too surprising if you think about it.

          <what is supposed to be considered a healthy trailmix is now equal to that of a snickers bar!>

          Probably not quiet like that, but you are right about the calories part.

          <This is disheartening because when trying to cut out the sweets, people usually tell you to rely on dry fruit instead>

          No one has ever said that to me.

          <This is disheartening because when trying to cut out the sweets, people usually tell you to rely on dry fruit instead

          <Good-tasting fresh fruit is just so finnickey to find >

          If good tasting fresh fruits are sweet, then it has exactly the same issue.

          1. There is a difference between the sugar in natural fruit and candy.

            Fruit contains some natural sugars known as fructose. Any type of sugar contains extra calories with zero nutritional value beyond energy production . Fruit/dried fruit that are naturally high in fructose are generally nutrition-rich overall. They are a far more beneficial source of sugar than foods that have extra sugar artificially added to them, whether in the form of a candy bar or some sugar laden fruit juice or any other food.

            In candy and other foods, many manufacturers add extra sugars that are not naturally found (as in original fruit). Often this sugar is sucrose, ex cane sugar. In many cases, it is additional fructose, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is a chemically-formulated and intense sweetener.


            1 Reply
            1. re: scoopG

              The interesting thing is that Robert Lustig and others will say that fructose is worse than sucrose which is worse than glucose.


              The video (see especially 21 min and 43 min).



              This has been picked up a few times on CHOWHOUND:


              High fructose corn syrup is nothing but mostly fructose and glucose. The most popular (not only) HFCS formulation is 55% fructose, aka HFCS 55


            2. I would guess that by volume candy is higher calorie than dried fruit, because candy is pretty much pure sugar, while dried fruit also has fibre and other material from the original fruit. (a 1/4 cup of sugar is about 200 calories)

              As far as using it as a substitute - again, I'd guess that eating the same volume as you would candy is a better option because it is lower in calories, and it contains fibre and vitamins, but still not a particularly low calorie one.

              As far as comparing fruit and nuts to a chocolate bar, trail mix has more nutrition than a chocolate bar, and a lot less of things like high fructose corn syrup or vegetable oil, and is therefore probably a better nutritional choice, calorie by calorie. But nuts are calorically dense, and trail mix still has a lot of calories per volume.

              If someone is actually recommending dried fruit and trail mix as an actual diet food to someone trying to lose weight, in quantities greater than about a 1/4 cup, I'd stop taking diet advice from them.

              Fresh fruit is a much better option - it's still got sugar, but it's also got more volume for the calories, and will be more filling, and take longer to eat. You could jazz it up with a bit of lemon juice, or some spices if it's not very good at the store.

              But yeah, if you're trying to lose weight by cutting calories, sweets become a special treat, in small portions, rather than a regular part of your diet.