"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Is eating dry fruits healthy?

Ask the doctor.

Photo: lola1960/iStock

Question I like dried fruit and I believe it's healthy. But I heard that eating dry fruits makes you gain lots of weight which is just not healthy. What is reality?

Oh The truth is that actress and comedian Mae West was flawed when she reportedly said that “too much of a good thing…can be wonderful!” Food incorporates calories, and eating too many calories – even healthy foods – can result in weight gain. But there are healthy calories and unhealthy (“empty”) calories, and fruit is a healthy source of calories. This is as true of dried fruit as of fresh fruit.

However, there are some caveats. Because dried fruit is far smaller than the fresh fruit it comes from, it's easy to eat too many calories by eating dried fruit. I rarely eat three fresh apricots or 30 grapes in a couple of hours, but I often eat greater than three dried apricots and 30 raisins in a couple of hours. Another concern is that some dried fruit manufacturers add sugar to dried fruit (which already incorporates its own natural sugars). When government-approved Nutrition Facts labels begin to seem, it would develop into easier to find out the quantity of added sugar in a serving.

Per ounce, dried fruit also incorporates more fiber and antioxidants called phenols than fresh fruit. Fiber fights heart disease, obesity and a few sorts of cancer (although its potential protective effect against colon cancer is controversial). People with diets wealthy in plant phenols have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, many sorts of cancer, and possibly degenerative brain diseases.

So, by all means keep eating dry fruits: they're stuffed with healthy nutrients. But avoid added sugars, and watch calories.