Which of these survival foods is considered to be the most unhealthy?
• Dried fruits
• Energy bars
• Trail mix
• Fresh fruits
Answer: Dried fruits
Of the answer choices above, dried fruits are the most unhealthy survival food option. Here’s why…
Part of a healthy, balanced diet includes the consumption of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Dried fruit might seem like a handy snack to meet this dietary recommendation.
Dried fruit has had its water removed by a dehydrator or naturally, from the sun.
Apricots, cranberries, raisins and dates are just a few examples of popular dried fruit choices. Sometimes they’re coated in a spice or sugar for added taste, such as dried mangoes with chili pepper.
There are both pros and cons to dried fruit; you be the judge as to whether you reach for fresh or dried fruit next time.
Here are the Pros and Cons of dried fruit:
Fans of dried fruit love its sweet taste, the no-mess, how convenient on-the-go it is, and its long shelf life – dried fruit outlives any fresh fruit.
We find these snack packs in vending machines, at the airport, while we are checking out at the grocery store, and at gas stations.
It seems like a good alternative to a candy bar when the options are limited, as dried fruit is nutritious in the sense that it is just compacted fruit.
By weight, dried fruit actually contains close to 3 ½ times the amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber than fresh fruit and it is a great source of antioxidants.
Sugar, sugar, sugar. Dried fruit can contain up to 3 times the amount of sugar compared to fresh fruit – no wonder it’s so tasty. Ever heard the word “fructose?” Well, that is the very sugar hiding in dried fruit.
When we have extra fructose in the body the liver converts it to VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein). This is the bad cholesterol that is high in triglycerides. The health consequences of high triglycerides include heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
For example, let’s look at the very popular dried cranberries. Topped on a salad or part of your trail mix, it seems like an added healthy bonus. Wrong. One cup of fresh cranberries has 4 grams of sugar but one cup of dried cranberries has over 70 grams – that equates to more than 2 bags of M&Ms.
This extra sugar content also raises the calorie content. In general, dried fruit has twice the calories and carbohydrates as fresh fruit. While all these no-nos are added, calcium is subtracted as a result of the drying process.
So when it comes to eating dried fruit, eat less of it in order to reduce the consumption of sugar and carbohydrates.
The Freedom of Choice
What we perceive to be healthy doesn’t always turn out to be that way. Clean and healthy eating involves fresh choices, where mother nature is the only additive. It’s probably a good idea not to eat anything that contains ingredients we’re unable to pronounce.
Luckily, real fruit doesn’t come with an ingredients label because it doesn’t need one.
Many times we are misled to believe that the bag of dried apricots is one serving, when really it is two or more, which is another indication that we often neglect to read labels carefully and are not always fully aware of what we are putting into our bodies and how much.
It is easy to justify reaching for a package of dried fruit instead of the candy bar, and that certainly is the better choice. But it’s not as healthy as choosing a piece of fresh fruit and remember, a fresh apple can fit in your purse or bag pretty easily.
~ Here’s to Your Survival!
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