Most people I know love dried fruits. I sure do. They are incredibly delicious and are a relatively healthy alternative to candy. However, the are some problems.
The population of the United States has consistently and significantly become more obese in the last 30 years. Those of us that attempt to remain healthy by exercising and eating better should know what we're consuming.
Many tout the benefits of eating dried fruits. There are some truths to this. There are also some misconceptions.
The benefits of fruits are well known. We know that they provide us with vitamins, minerals an other phytonutrients. The benefits of fiber and their antioxidant properties are also well known.
Now the bad news:
- Portion control can easily become an issue. Water takes up much volume in fruits. Since water is eliminated from dried fruits, we tend to consume much more. It wouldn't be difficult to consume the equivalent of five, ten or more fruits! This of course leads to an excessive intake of calories.
- Blood sugar levels can get out of control. Since we may have a tendency to consume too much, we may inadvertently increase our blood sugar levels; which in turn can create dangerous situations with people that have diabetes.
- Dried fruits have naturally occurring sugars (fructose). When they are dehydrated, these sugars become highly concentrated.
- Many people are completely unaware that many of these dried fruits also have some added sweeteners. Some are coated with sugars. Some are sprayed with corn syrup.
- Dried fruits are incredibly sticky and adhere well to the teeth. It's bad enough that the sugars are highly concentrated, but when they remain on the tooth structure for extended periods, cavities develop.
- Many dried fruits are sprayed with oils. If you are trying to avoid oils, you may unsuspectedly consume more oils than you desire. By the way, bananas are often deep fried.
- Many fruits have sulfur or sulfites to preserve the bright colors. If you have an allergy to these, then you may have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands.
I'm certainly not suggesting that you avoid dried fruits. Just know what you're truly eating. Consume them in moderation. Also, brush or at least rinse really well within the first 15 minutes after consuming dried fruits to get the sugars off of your teeth.
Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit www.advanced-smiles.com.