bite my words

Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Powdered fruit vs. whole fruit

2 Comments

A group of scientists in Valencia have come up with a way to help us all eat more fruit. They’ve freeze-dried strawberries, kiwis, and grapefruit and then ground them into powders which can be added to things like salads, smoothies, or water. Apparently the logic here is that grapefruit is too bitter to be eaten straight-up. Also, the high water content of these fruits meant that they don’t have a very long shelf-life. The freeze-drying process allegedly preserves the nutrients (i.e. vitamin C and other antioxidants) in these fruits while making them more convenient. This is a little puzzling to me. How is a powder that you have to add to something else more convenient than a piece of fruit which is essentially ready-to-eat? Sure, grapefruit can be a little messy but I’d rather have a piece of fruit on-hand to snack on than a packet of powder. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people eating more fruit and vegetables. I just don’t see how processing them into a powder is really an improvement.

I don’t believe that the nutrient profile of these freeze-dried fruits is the same as fresh fruit. You’re losing out on the water content of the fruit if you consume freeze-dried fruit so you would need to be sure to consume more fluids. It seems to me that it’s a struggle to get many people to consume enough fluids. Fruit is also a decent source of fibre. By freeze-drying and grinding fruit you’re destroying the fibre and losing out on that nutrient. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find nutrition information for freeze-dried fruit which means I can’t speculate as to the loss of other nutrients.

In addition to the above issues, an anti-caking agent was added to ensure the fruit remained nice and powdery. Despite the lack of evidence of risk associated with anti-caking agents, why not go with whole fruit that doesn’t have any potentially harmful additives (aside from the pesticides, obviously)? Is it really that taxing to go to the store at least once a week and buy fresh food? The problem is not with fruit. The problem is with our lack of willingness to put any effort into our food.

Author: diana chard

I'm a registered dietitian living in Nova Scotia, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

2 thoughts on “Powdered fruit vs. whole fruit

  1. I think it’s a matter of convenience. Sure, it can be more work to add powder to another food instead of just eating the fresh fruit. Fresh fruit does not always travel well, however. Consider a cycle-commuter or hiker who arrives at their destination only to find that their banana has been squashed, the apple is badly bruised, the pear is leaking, etc.

    I’m lucky enough to work next to a grocery store and can get my fresh fruit and vegetable on a daily basis; but additional ingredients like anti-caking agents aside, I can see powdered fruit at a benefit for some people to improve their fruit intake, provided that there is not substantial nutrient loss. I agree that fresh, whole foods are better.

  2. I’ll never understand the debate between ‘convenience foods’ and whole foods. In my opinion, if someone can’t be bothered to buy an apple, throw it in their purse and munch on the subway, who’s to say they’ll buy this powder, make sure they have something to eat it with and take that? Nice thought, but I’m not sure how practical it is.

    Also I’m curious to know what other nutrients are compromised from this freeze drying process.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,031 other followers