Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Are Dried Blueberries Bad For You?



Short answer

Dried blueberries offer concentrated nutrients and fiber, but their higher sugar and calorie content needs consideration, especially for those managing weight or blood sugar levels. Unsweetened and preservative-free varieties are healthier options. When consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, both dried and fresh blueberries can contribute positively to dietary wellness.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Nutritional Comparison: Dried vs. Fresh Blueberries

When considering whether dried blueberries are bad for you, it's critical to understand how their nutritional profile changes when compared to their fresh counterparts. Drying blueberries, a process that removes water content, concentrates both the nutrients and sugars in the fruit, which can impact their healthfulness.

Calories and Sugar: First and foremost, dried blueberries are higher in calories and sugar content per volume than fresh blueberries. This is due to the dehydration process, which reduces the fruit's weight and size but not its sugar content. For instance, a 1/4 cup of dried blueberries can contain as much as 150 calories and 29 grams of sugar, compared to 21 calories and 3.5 grams of sugar in a 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries.

Antioxidants: On the beneficial side, drying blueberries can increase the concentration of certain antioxidants. Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, compounds that are known for their anti-inflammatory and heart health benefits. A study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology demonstrated that dried blueberries retain most of their antioxidant power, thus providing a convenient way to consume these nutrients in a more concentrated form.

Fiber: Dried blueberries also offer a higher fiber content compared to their fresh counterparts. Fiber is essential for promoting digestive health and maintaining a feeling of fullness. Since the dehydration process only removes water, the fiber in blueberries becomes more concentrated, making dried blueberries a good source of dietary fiber.

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins and minerals in blueberries, such as vitamin C and potassium, may be slightly reduced during the drying process. However, dried blueberries still maintain a considerable amount of these nutrients, contributing to the daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals.

Nutrient Dried Blueberries (1/4 cup) Fresh Blueberries (1/4 cup)
Calories 150 21
Sugar (g) 29 3.5
Fiber (g) 2 0.9
Antioxidants (mg) Varies, but generally higher Varies
Vitamin C (mg) Reduced during drying 4.1

While dried blueberries are a concentrated source of nutrients and antioxidants, their increased sugar and calorie content may need to be considered, particularly for individuals monitoring their dietary intake for weight management or blood sugar control. Choosing unsweetened dried blueberries can be a wiser option to avoid additional sugars often added during the drying process.

Ultimately, both dried and fresh blueberries have their place in a balanced diet, each offering a unique blend of nutrients and health benefits. As with any food, moderation is key, and incorporating a variety of fruits, both dried and fresh, can contribute to a well-rounded, nutritious diet.

Sugar Content in Dried Blueberries and Health Implications

The process of drying blueberries can significantly alter their nutritional content, particularly in terms of sugar concentration. When blueberries are dried, the water content is reduced dramatically, which concentrates the flavors, nutrients, and, crucially, the natural sugars within them. Consequently, dried blueberries possess a higher sugar content per ounce compared to their fresh counterparts. This section dives into the specifics of this sugar content, contrasting it with fresh blueberries, and explores what this means for your health.

Firstly, it's important to note that sugar itself is not inherently bad. In moderation, sugar provides essential energy that our bodies need to function. However, problems arise when we consume it in large quantities, especially in the form of added sugars or concentrated sources like dried fruits. The American Heart Association suggests limiting added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) per day for men. Yet, just a small serving of dried blueberries can contain up to 29 grams of sugar, surpassing these daily recommendations with just one snack.

Let's break down the numbers:

Measurement Fresh Blueberries (1 cup) Dried Blueberries (1/4 cup)
Sugar Content 15 grams 29 grams
Calories 84 130

This table highlights the disparity in sugar and calorie content between fresh and dried blueberries. It's clear that dried blueberries pack a larger punch in both categories, in a much smaller volume. This concentrated source of sugar can lead to quick spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar levels. For individuals with diabetes or those trying to manage their weight, this can pose significant health challenges.

Furthermore, the high sugar content in dried blueberries can contribute to other health issues when consumed excessively. These include an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, dental problems, and potentially type 2 diabetes. It is the reason why nutritionists recommend consuming dried fruits, including blueberries, in moderation, and prioritizing fresh fruits when possible for a balanced diet.

However, not all is grim. Dried blueberries retain most of the antioxidants found in fresh blueberries, making them a nutrient-dense snack. These antioxidants are crucial for combating oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, offering health benefits such as improved heart health and a lower risk of certain chronic diseases. The key lies in managing portion sizes and being mindful of overall daily sugar intake.

To mitigate the high sugar content, consider opting for dried blueberries with no added sugars or those infused with artificial sweeteners. Additionally, integrating dried blueberries into balanced meals can help offset the rapid absorption of sugar, reducing potential spikes in blood glucose levels.

In conclusion, while dried blueberries are a convenient and tasty snack, their high sugar content does necessitate caution. By paying close attention to serving sizes and opting for versions with no added sugars, dried blueberries can still be a part of a healthful diet.

Preservatives in Dried Blueberries: What You Need to Know

When considering the health implications of dried blueberries, a critical factor to examine is the preservatives used in their processing. Preservatives are common in dried fruits to extend shelf life, maintain color, and prevent spoilage. While they make dried blueberries more convenient and accessible, it's essential to understand their potential effects on our health.

Most commonly, dried blueberries are treated with sulfur dioxide (SO2) to preserve their natural color and prevent microbial growth. While sulfur dioxide is effective in maintaining the quality of dried fruits, it can pose health risks for individuals with sensitivity or asthma, leading to breathing difficulties, headaches, and allergic reactions.

Other preservatives like sorbates and benzoates may also be found in some dried blueberry products. These chemicals serve to inhibit mold and yeast growth but have been linked to adverse reactions in some people, including nausea, hives, and in rare cases, anaphylaxis.

To minimize potential health risks associated with preservatives, consumers are encouraged to:

  • Look for organic dried blueberries, which are less likely to contain synthetic preservatives.
  • Check the ingredient list for any added preservatives, particularly sulfur dioxide, sorbates, and benzoates.
  • Opt for naturally preserved or unsulfured varieties, which use no chemical preservatives, although they may have a darker color and a shorter shelf life.
  • Consider drying blueberries at home using a dehydrator or oven to completely control the ingredients.

Research on the health impacts of food preservatives is ongoing, and individual reactions can vary. A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture suggests that while preservatives can extend the shelf life of fruits like blueberries, consuming them in moderation is key to avoiding potential health problems. Furthermore, individuals with known sensitivities should exercise caution and consult with a healthcare provider regarding their dietary choices.

In summary, while preservatives play a significant role in maintaining the appeal and edibility of dried blueberries, being aware of and managing their consumption is crucial for health-conscious consumers. By opting for products with minimal or natural preservatives and being informed about potential allergens, individuals can enjoy dried blueberries as part of a balanced diet while minimizing health risks.

Glycemic Index of Dried Blueberries and Diabetes Concerns

The glycemic index (GI) is a valuable measure for anyone, but particularly for individuals managing diabetes. It ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by their effect on blood glucose levels. Understanding the GI of dried blueberries is essential for those wanting to make informed dietary choices, especially considering the impact on blood sugar control. Dried blueberries have a moderate glycemic index, generally ranging from 53 to 59, depending on the source and processing method.

Dried fruits, including blueberries, often have a higher GI compared to their fresh counterparts due to the concentration of sugars during the drying process. However, the precise GI can vary. Factors affecting the GI of dried blueberries include:

  • The presence of additional sugars or syrups during processing, which can raise the GI.
  • Variety and ripeness of the fruit prior to drying, as these can influence the natural sugar content.
  • Drying method (e.g., sun-dried vs. freeze-dried), which can affect the fruit's fiber content and thus its GI.

For individuals with diabetes, integrating foods with a moderate GI can be beneficial, but portion control and balance within the overall diet are crucial. The American Diabetes Association emphasizes the importance of the total amount of carbohydrates eaten, rather than focusing solely on the GI. Nonetheless, understanding the GI of foods like dried blueberries can assist in planning meals that have a more predictable impact on blood sugar levels.

It's also worth noting that the dietary fiber in dried blueberries can offset some of the potential blood sugar spikes. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, providing a more gradual rise in blood glucose. Thus, when consuming dried blueberries, the net impact on an individual's diabetes management plan may be influenced positively by the fiber content, alongside mindful portion sizes.

Research studies support the cautious inclusion of moderate GI foods in a diabetes diet. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that incorporating a variety of fruits, including those with a moderate GI, can support overall health in individuals with diabetes, when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

In conclusion, while dried blueberries possess a moderate glycemic index, making informed choices about portion size and paying attention to the product's added ingredients are key strategies for incorporating them into a diabetes-friendly diet. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can provide personalized advice, tailored to one's individual health needs and dietary preferences.

Health Benefits of Dried Blueberries Despite Sugar Content

While dried blueberries are often highlighted for their higher sugar content relative to their fresh counterparts, it's essential to consider the broader nutritional profile and health benefits these small yet mighty fruits offer. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, dried blueberries bring several health advantages that can outweigh concerns related to their sugar levels, especially when consumed in moderation.

Firstly, dried blueberries are a potent source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which give blueberries their characteristic blue color. These antioxidants are known for their ability to fight free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that consumption of blueberries, dried or fresh, significantly increases antioxidant levels in the bloodstream.

Beyond their antioxidant capacity, dried blueberries offer dietary fiber, contributing to digestive health and promoting a feeling of fullness. Fiber can also aid in managing blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, making dried blueberries a smarter snack choice for those monitoring their blood glucose levels.

Dried blueberries are also a good source of vitamins C and K, along with manganese, contributing to overall wellness. Vitamin C is crucial for the immune system, skin health, and iron absorption, while Vitamin K plays a significant role in blood clotting and bone health. Manganese supports the body's metabolism and has antioxidant properties.

Incorporating dried blueberries into one’s diet can also improve heart health. Their high content of antioxidants and fiber can contribute to reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, two major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, published in the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, supports the notion that berry consumption, including blueberries, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors.

It's important to note, however, that moderation is key. Due to their concentrated sugar content, overconsuming dried blueberries can lead to excessive calorie intake and negate these health benefits. Choosing unsweetened varieties and keeping portions reasonable can help maximize the nutritious benefits of dried blueberries without overindulging in sugar.

In conclusion, despite their sugar content, dried blueberries offer a variety of health benefits that make them a valuable addition to a balanced diet. From their antioxidant properties to heart health benefits, these dried fruits can be a nutritious option when consumed thoughtfully and in moderation.

Choosing Healthier Dried Blueberry Options

Navigating the dried fruit aisle can sometimes feel like a trek through a nutritional minefield. When it comes to dried blueberries, not all options are created equal. Here’s a guide to help you select the healthiest versions, avoiding unnecessary added sugars and preservatives that can turn this potentially healthy snack into a not-so-great choice.

Look for Unsweetened Varieties

Many dried blueberries are coated in a sugary syrup before drying, significantly increasing their sugar content. Opting for unsweetened varieties ensures you’re getting the fruit's natural flavors and nutritional benefits without the added sugars. Reading labels is key: terms like "no added sugar" or "unsweetened" are what you’re looking for.

Check for Added Preservatives

Preservatives such as sulfur dioxide are commonly used in dried fruits, including blueberries, to preserve color and extend shelf life. However, some people may be sensitive or allergic to these additives. Seeking out options that are free from preservatives can be a healthier choice. Look for "preservative-free" or "sulfite-free" on the packaging.

Prioritize Organic

Choosing organic dried blueberries can reduce exposure to pesticide residues. Organic foods are grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, offering a cleaner, potentially healthier option. While organic products often come with a higher price tag, the benefits of reduced chemical exposure might outweigh the cost for those particularly concerned about pesticides in their diet.

Bulk vs. Pre-Packaged

Bulk bins can offer a fresher and often more economical way to purchase dried blueberries. However, there’s a catch. Make sure the store has a high turnover of their bulk items to ensure freshness, and always check for any signs of excess moisture or spoilage, which could lead to mold. Pre-packaged dried blueberries might be a safer choice in terms of hygiene and shelf life, especially if the packaging provides better protection against air and moisture.

Ingredient List Tells All

The ingredient list on the packaging can offer valuable insights into what you’re really getting. Ideally, "blueberries" should be the only item on the list, or very close to the only item. Be wary of long, science-sounding words that indicate additives and preservatives you may want to avoid.

Following these guidelines can help you choose the healthiest dried blueberry options, turning what could be a sugar-laden snack into a nutritious addition to your diet. Remember, moderation is key; even the healthiest dried blueberries are more concentrated in sugar and calories than their fresh counterparts, so enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.

Frequently asked questions

Certainly! You can naturally preserve blueberries by freezing them. Washing and drying blueberries thoroughly before laying them out on a baking sheet to freeze individually can help maintain their flavor and nutritional value. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag to store. This method avoids the need for added sugars or preservatives entirely.

Yes, dried blueberries can contribute to improved skin health due to their high content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins and vitamin C. These antioxidants help in combating oxidative stress and can protect the skin from damage caused by the sun and pollution, potentially reducing wrinkles and improving overall skin texture.

Dried blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber, offering a higher fiber content per serving compared to many other dried fruits. This high fiber content promotes digestive health and can help maintain a feeling of fullness, which is beneficial for weight management. However, the exact fiber comparison would vary depending on the specific types of dried fruits being compared.

Including dried blueberries in a low-carb diet is possible, but moderation is key due to their higher sugar content compared to fresh blueberries. Opting for unsweetened varieties and paying close attention to portion sizes can help minimize carb intake. Incorporating them with foods high in fiber and healthy fats can also help balance the overall carbohydrate impact.

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

Possible short-term side effects

  • spikes in blood sugar
  • breathing difficulties for those with asthma or so2 sensitivity
  • potential allergic reactions to preservatives

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased risk of obesity
  • heart disease
  • dental problems
  • type 2 diabetes

Ingredients to be aware of


  • high in antioxidants
  • good source of dietary fiber
  • rich in vitamins c and k
  • contains manganese
  • improves heart health
  • reduces oxidative stress

Healthier alternatives

  • unsweetened dried blueberries
  • organic dried blueberries
  • fresh blueberries

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Dried Blueberries Bulk

  • No added sugar
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • All-natural dehydration
  • Non-GMO
  • Convenient bulk size
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 07-08-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 07-08-2024

Random Page

Check These Out!