Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Powdered fruit vs. whole fruit

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.