No, frozen fruit is not bad for you. Moreover, it’s often healthier because the nutrient breakdown is halted by freezing. However, buying frozen fruits with added sugar significantly reduces the nutritional value.
Frozen fruit is the busy person’s solution to getting more fruit in their diet. Studies have shown that freezing both fruit and vegetables arrests nutrient breakdown, preserving benefits until the food can be consumed. As fruit is preserved through ‘flash freezing’, it maintains up to 90% of the original nutrients; whereas, many refrigerated fruits lose nutrients through oxidation and decomposition. Choosing frozen fruits can also save money, as you will not need to worry about them expiring right away. They are usually edible within two years of the processed date (marked on the bag).
However, some frozen fruit companies like to add sugar to the bag to make the fruit sweeter (and therefore more likely to be purchased). You can usually tell which bags have added sugars by their label. Phrasing such as “lightly sweetened” on the front indicates added sugar, and of course, you can check the ingredient list for both sugar and artificial sweeteners (which come with their own problems).
Another thing to consider with frozen fruit is its ability to harbor the foodborne pathogen listeria. Listeria does not occur in the fruit on its own, but if frozen food is exposed to this bacterium at any stage in the packaging process, freezing the food does not halt its growth. If you cook frozen food, this bacterium dies. However, since frozen fruit is generally consumed without cooking, shoppers should be cautioned to check the FDA website for any frozen fruit recalls before purchasing. In May-2016, a nationwide (U.S.) frozen food recall—including frozen fruit—was issued after eight people were diagnosed with a strain of listeria that matched a strain found in frozen food distribution company CRF’s facility in Pasco, Washington, resulting in a recall that affected 72 brands of organic and non-organic frozen vegetables and fruit.
Ultimately, frozen fruit, when purchased without add sweeteners, is just as healthy as fresh fruit. Freezing fruit actually preserves nutrients better than leaving them as whole produce in the refrigerator. In order to receive optimal nutrition, avoid frozen fruits with added sweeteners. You can use frozen fruit in cooking if you wish to eliminate the threat of food poisoning, for such foods like jams or baking pies.
Possible short-term side effects
- illness from bacteria (unlikely)
Possible long-term side effects
- increased blood sugar
Ingredients to be aware of
- artificial sweeteners
- a source of fiber
- a source of vitamins
- boosts the immune system
- healthier heart
- healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels
- low in fat and sodium
- holds nutrients longer than fresh fruits
- fresh fruit from a local garden
Suggest improvement or correction to this article
Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 06-04-2016
Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Suggest improvement or correction