Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Are Dried Apples Bad For You?

Also Known As: Dehydrated apples



Short answer

Dried apples are not bad for you if consumed in moderation. They offer concentrated nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals per serving compared to fresh apples. However, they are also higher in sugar and calories, and some may contain added sugars or preservatives. It's essential to choose unsweetened, pure dried apples and monitor portions to align with your dietary goals. For those with blood sugar concerns or sulfite sensitivities, it's crucial to be mindful of glycemic load and check labels for additives.



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Long answer

Nutritional Profile of Dried Apples

Dried apples, like their fresh counterparts, carry an array of nutrients essential for maintaining good health. However, since the drying process removes water, the nutrients become more concentrated, allowing dried apples to provide a more potent dose of vitamins and minerals per gram compared to fresh apples.

On the positive side, this means that a smaller serving of dried apples can deliver a significant amount of these nutrients, which are essential for various bodily functions. Let's break down the nutritional elements found in a typical serving of dried apples, typically about a 1/4 cup or 40 grams:

  • Dietary Fiber: Dried apples are a rich source of dietary fiber, which is crucial for digestive health. Fiber can promote bowel regularity and help to prevent constipation. It also plays a role in managing blood sugar levels and has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Vitamins: They provide a variety of vitamins such as vitamin C, which is important for skin health and immune function, and some B-vitamins, which are critical for metabolism and energy production.
  • Minerals: Dried apples contain minerals like potassium, which may aid in maintaining healthy blood pressure, and iron, which is vital for oxygen transport in the blood.
  • Natural Sugars: While the concentration of natural sugars increases with the drying process, they are still a source of quick energy. However, it's important to monitor intake, especially for those managing blood sugar levels.
  • Phytonutrients: These include flavonoids and polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties and may contribute to reducing inflammation and combating oxidative stress.

It is worth noting, though, that not all dried apples are created equal. Some brands may add sugars or preservatives, altering the nutritional value significantly. Pure, unsweetened dried apples will retain most of the natural nutrients without additives.

When considering the inclusion of dried apples in your diet, it's crucial to account for the calorie density as well. Due to the removal of water, dried apples have a higher calorie count per serving than fresh apples. This is a critical consideration for those watching their total caloric intake for weight management or other health reasons.

For a clearer picture, here's a comparison based on a 40-gram serving of dried apples:

Nutrient Approximate Amount
Calories 95 kcal
Dietary Fiber 3-4 grams
Sugars 18 grams
Vitamin C 2% of the DV (Daily Value)
Potassium 5% of the DV

According to a study published in the Nutrition Journal, the concentration of phenolic compounds and total antioxidant capacity is higher in dried fruits compared to their fresh versions. This suggests that including dried apples in your diet, in moderation, could positively impact your antioxidant intake.

In conclusion, while the drying process alters the nutritional landscape of apples by concentrating sugars and calories, it also enhances the provision of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As with any food, moderation and awareness of serving size are key.

Sugar Content in Dried Apples and Glycemic Impact

When considering the health implications of dried apples, it is essential to understand their sugar content and the corresponding glycemic impact. Dried apples, like many dried fruits, undergo a dehydration process that removes water, resulting in a concentrated source of natural sugars. This density of sugars can be both a source of energy and a potential concern for certain dietary requirements.

Natural Sugars and Serving Sizes

Dried apples contain two primary types of natural sugars: fructose and glucose. The drying process does not add sugars to the fruit; however, it does mean that all the sugar present becomes packed into a smaller, more concentrated form compared to the fresh fruit.

  • A typical serving size (1/4 cup) of dried apples provides approximately 15 grams of sugar.
  • This is in stark contrast to a fresh medium-sized apple with roughly the same amount of sugar, but also with the water content that contributes to a feeling of fullness and hydrates the body.

Glycemic Load and Its Importance

The glycemic load (GL) is a number that estimates how much a food item will raise an individual's blood glucose level after consumption.

  • Dried apples have a moderate GL due to the concentration of sugars.

Individuals with Specific Dietary Needs

For people living with diabetes or those watching their blood sugar levels, the higher glycemic index and load of dried fruit compared to fresh can be a significant consideration. Monitoring serving sizes and pairing with a source of protein or healthy fat can help mitigate rapid blood sugar increases.

Comparison with Fresh Apples

Fruit Form Sugar Content Fiber Glycemic Index Glycemic Load
Fresh Apple Approx. 19g per medium apple 4g Low (36 to 40) Low (5 to 6)
Dried Apple (1/4 cup) Approx. 15g 2g Moderate (Higher than fresh) Moderate (Higher than fresh)

It is noteworthy to mention that while dried apples contain fiber, the quantity is typically less than that found in fresh apples. Fiber plays a crucial role in digestion and can also affect the overall glycemic index of foods.

Added Sugars in Commercial Dried Apples

Unfortunately, not all dried apples are created equal. Some commercial products have added sugars or syrups that further increase the sugar content unnecessarily, making them far less healthful. This added sugar can dramatically affect the glycemic impact, contributing to quicker spikes in blood sugar levels. Label reading is paramount to ensure that you are choosing a product with no added sugars.

  • Look for labels that list "apples" as the only ingredient.
  • Check the nutrition facts panel for 0g of "Added Sugars."

Being informed about the sugar content and glycemic impact of dried apples is crucial for making choices that align with your health objectives. While dried apples can be part of a balanced diet, understanding their concentrated sugar content and how they might affect your blood sugar is vital in determining their role in your nutrition plan.

Sulfites and Other Preservatives Used in Dried Apples

The process of drying apples can sometimes include the addition of preservatives like sulfites. These substances are used to maintain color and extend shelf life, preventing spoilage and bacterial growth. However, while sulfites are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for most people, they can pose risks for certain individuals.

Here we delve into the potential concerns regarding sulfites and other preservatives in dried apples:

  • Sulfites Sensitivity: A small percentage of the population, particularly those with asthma, may have a sensitivity to sulfites. This can trigger a range of symptoms including wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. In rare instances, a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may occur.
  • Preservative-Free Alternatives: For those concerned about sulfites, preservative-free dried apples are available. These tend to be darker in color due to the natural oxidation process, but they offer a sulfite-free option for individuals with sensitivities or allergies.
  • Possible Nutrient Loss: In addition to their role as preservatives, sulfites might also affect the nutrient profile of dried apples. Some studies suggest that the addition of certain preservatives can result in the degradation of vitamins, particularly vitamin C, which is sensitive to their use.

It's also worth noting that other preservatives such as sorbates (e.g., potassium sorbate) and benzoates (e.g., sodium benzoate) might also be used in dried fruits, including apples. While these are also generally regarded as safe, ongoing research suggests it's important to consume them within the recommended limits.

Consumers concerned about sulfites and other preservatives have options:

  • Choosing organic dried apples, which are less likely to contain added sulfites or other chemical preservatives.
  • Reading labels carefully to identify the types and levels of preservatives used in the product.
  • Opting for "unsulfured" on the label, which indicates that the dried apples are free from sulfites.

Overall, while sulfites and other preservatives play a key role in maintaining the quality and safety of dried apples, awareness and education are crucial for those with sensitivities or those who wish to minimize their intake of these additives.

For those without sensitivities, consuming dried apples with preservatives in moderation should not pose significant health risks. However, it's always beneficial to understand the full scope of what goes into our food, and how these additives might affect individual health profiles.

Referencing expert opinions and up-to-date studies enhances the reliability of this information, particularly when it comes to evolving standards on food safety and preservative use. Consumers are encouraged to keep informed from reputable sources, such as the FDA and allergy-related organizations, which offer resources and guidelines regarding sulfite consumption and other food additives.

Potential for Pesticide Residue on Dried Apples

The concern over pesticide residues on fruit, and particularly on apples, whether fresh or dried, is shared by many health-conscious consumers. Drying apples doesn't eliminate these chemical residues; in fact, there may be a concentration effect. Therefore, understanding the implications of pesticide residues and how to mitigate their impact is key to consuming dried apples as part of a healthy diet.

Firstly, it's important to acknowledge that conventional farming techniques often involve the use of pesticides to protect crops from insects, molds, and diseases. While pesticides help in maximizing yield and ensuring a steady supply of apples, they can leave behind residues which may be present on fruit even after it is dried.

Research on Pesticide Residues:
Several studies have explored the presence of pesticides in dried fruits. For instance, the USDA Pesticide Data Program monitors the levels of pesticide residues in the U.S. food supply. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also publishes a yearly list known as the "Dirty Dozen," which often features apples due to their high pesticide residue levels relative to other fruits.

It's worth noting that pesticide residue levels are regulated by government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States, which establishes Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) that are considered safe for consumption. However, some health advocacy groups argue these levels might not account for long-term exposure or the combined effects of consuming multiple pesticides found on different foods.

Implications for Health:
The main concern with pesticide residues is their potential impact on health over time. Some pesticides have been linked to a variety of health issues, ranging from short-term effects like headaches and nausea to long-term effects, including endocrine disruption and an increased risk of certain cancers. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to the potential adverse effects of pesticides.

How to Reduce Pesticide Residues:

  • Choosing Organic: Opting for organic dried apples is one meaningful way to reduce pesticide exposure. Organic fruits are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Although organic does not always guarantee zero pesticides, the type and amount used are generally considered to be lower and of less toxic nature.
  • Washing and Peeling: While this may not be viable for dried apples, washing and peeling fresh apples can reduce the pesticide residue. This method is not foolproof, as some pesticides are systemic, meaning they’re absorbed into the fruit.
  • Variety Selection: Some apple varieties may be grown with fewer pesticides. Investigating types of apples that are less susceptible to pest infestations can lead to choosing apples with potentially lower pesticide residues.
  • DIY Drying: Drying apples at home using organic apples can help control exposure to pesticides. This is an effective way to know exactly what is going into the process.

While the health implications of pesticide residues can indeed be a cause for concern, it is also important to balance this against the nutritional benefits of consuming apples, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. A nuanced approach considering both the risks of pesticide exposure and the benefits of apple consumption is essential for making informed dietary choices.

Monitoring organizations and staying updated on the latest research regarding pesticide residues can aid in making the best choices when enjoying dried apples as part of a varied and balanced diet.

Dried Apples vs. Fresh: Benefits and Drawbacks

When comparing dried apples to their fresh counterparts, it's essential to look at both benefits and drawbacks. This comparison helps in making an educated choice dependent on individual dietary needs and preferences.

Benefits of Dried Apples:

  • Convenience: Dried apples are travel-friendly and have a longer shelf life than fresh apples, which makes them an excellent option for snacking on the go.
  • Nutrient Density: Drying apples removes the water content, which in turn concentrates the nutrients per serving.
  • Caloric Energy: The removal of water means that dried apples provide more calories per ounce, which could be beneficial for athletes or anyone needing a quick energy source.

Drawbacks of Dried Apples:

  • Sugar Content: Drying apples can concentrate not only vitamins and minerals but also sugars. This is something to be mindful of, particularly for those managing blood sugar levels. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition elucidates this effect.
  • Reduced Satiety: Since dried apples contain less water, they may not provide the same level of satiety as fresh apples, potentially leading to overconsumption.
  • Preservatives: Some commercially dried apples contain sulfites or other preservatives to extend shelf life and prevent browning, which can cause issues for individuals with sensitivities or allergies.

Fresh apples, on the other hand, offer their own set of benefits and potential drawbacks:

Benefits of Fresh Apples:

  • Hydration: Fresh apples are high in water content, which can help in staying hydrated and contribute to a feeling of fullness.
  • Lower Caloric Density: With their high water content, fresh apples provide fewer calories per volume, making them a great snack for those looking to manage their weight.
  • Fiber Content: Fresh apples typically retain more of their fiber, specifically pectin, which is beneficial for digestive health and can help regulate blood sugar levels.

Drawbacks of Fresh Apples:

  • Seasonality and Shelf Life: Fresh apples are seasonal, and outside of their season, they may be less available or less flavorful. Their shelf life is also shorter, which can lead to more food waste if not consumed in time.
  • Inconvenience: Fresh apples require washing and are more delicate, making them less convenient for on-the-go situations compared to their dried counterparts.

The health impacts of dried versus fresh apples can vary. It's essential to consider how they fit into your overall diet and lifestyle. Moderation and variety are key principles in nutrition, so incorporating both fresh and dried apples in different contexts could provide a balance of the benefits while mitigating the drawbacks.

As with any dietary decision, individual needs such as blood sugar control, digestive health, caloric needs, and potential food sensitivities should be considered when choosing between dried and fresh apples. Engaging with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can provide tailored advice relevant to your health objectives.

Moderation and Incorporating Dried Apples into a Healthy Diet

When it comes to adding dried apples to your diet, moderation is key, just as it is with any food. Despite their convenient snack-sized form and nutritional benefits, dried apples can also be high in sugar, especially if additional sweeteners are used during the drying process. Consuming excessive amounts of dried fruit can contribute to excessive calorie intake and may lead to an increased risk of dental caries.

Here's how you can incorporate dried apples into a healthy diet without overindulging:

  • Check the Serving Size: Stick to the recommended serving size, typically around a quarter cup. This portion allows you to enjoy the taste and nutritional benefits of dried apples without consuming too many calories.
  • Opt for Unsweetened Variants: Look for dried apples without added sugars or preservatives to ensure you're getting just the fruit without unnecessary additives that can negate the health benefits.
  • Pair with Protein: Combine dried apples with a source of protein, like nuts or cheese, to balance the sugar content and promote satiety, which can help with overall calorie control.
  • Stay Hydrated: Pairing dried fruit with water can help to rehydrate the fruit in the stomach, which can aid in digestion and help you feel fuller, potentially reducing overeating.
  • Beware the Glycemic Index: Dried fruit generally has a higher glycemic index than fresh fruit. Consuming it in larger quantities may affect blood sugar levels more significantly, especially important for individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes.
  • Mindful Snacking: Treat dried apples as a snack rather than a main food item. This approach helps to respect their concentrated sugar content and keep your overall sugar intake in check.

It's also worth noting that the way dried apples are prepared can impact their nutritional value. Dried apples that have been fried or coated in syrup, for instance, will have a much higher calorie content than those that are air-dried or baked without added sugar.

Integrating dried apples into recipes rather than only snacking on them directly from the package can offer more balanced ways to enjoy their flavor. They can be added to:

  • Breakfast cereals or oatmeal for a natural sweetener and fiber boost
  • Mixed with nuts and seeds in homemade trail mix
  • Incorporated into baked goods as a substitute for raisins or other higher-sugar dried fruits
  • Added to savory dishes like salads, stews, or meat dishes for a hint of sweetness

In conclusion, while dried apples can be a nutritious and delicious part of your diet, they are best ate in moderation and mindfully incorporated into a varied and balanced diet. Paying attention to the serving size, choosing unsweetened varieties, and combining them with other healthy foods can help maximize the benefits while minimizing the potential downsides.

Frequently asked questions

Dried apples can be included in a diabetes diet, but caution is needed due to their concentrated sugar content and higher glycemic load compared to fresh apples. Those with diabetes should monitor serving sizes and consider pairing dried apples with a protein or healthy fat to help mitigate blood sugar spikes.

Yes, eating dried apples can help with digestive health due to their rich dietary fiber content. Fiber can promote bowel regularity and help to prevent constipation. However, moderation is important, as excessive consumption can lead to too much fiber intake, which might cause digestive discomfort.

Dried apples do not have the same nutrient content as fresh apples. The drying process removes water content, which results in a higher concentration of calories and sugar, and often a reduction in vitamin C due to its sensitivity to heat and air. However, dried apples still contain high levels of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them nutrient-dense per serving.

To avoid sulfites and other preservatives, select organic dried apples or those labeled as 'unsulfured.' Carefully read labels to confirm that there are no added sulfites or chemical preservatives and check for simple ingredients lists, with 'apples' being the sole ingredient listed if possible.

Ask a question about Dried Apples and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased blood sugar
  • overeating
  • dental caries

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • potential nutrient depletion (with sulfite-preservatives)
  • long-term blood sugar management issues

Ingredients to be aware of

  • added sugars
  • sulfites
  • other preservatives
  • pesticide residues


  • rich in fiber
  • vitamin c
  • b-vitamins
  • minerals like potassium and iron
  • antioxidants
  • convenient
  • long shelf-life

Healthier alternatives

  • unsweetened dried apples
  • organic dried apples
  • drying apples at home
  • fresh apples

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Bare Baked Apples

  • Naturally crunchy snack
  • No added sugar
  • Gluten-free option
  • Non-GMO
  • Convenient pack of 16
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Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-17-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-17-2024

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