Dried Fruit vs. Fresh Fruit:
Be cautious of dried fruit, as it can add unwanted body fat in a very short time! Why? The dehydrating process concentrates the calories. A cup of fresh blueberries contains 84 calories, whereas a cup of dried blueberries contains a whopping 600 calories! Fresh fruit is the best option because it satisfies hunger longer (with less calories) due to the higher water content.
Dried fruit contains excessive sugar: they more closely resemble commercial candy than their fresh counterparts. If you’re going to eat dried fruit, do it sparingly. Besides, it tends to stick to the grooves in your teeth, contributing to dental decay.
- 40 g of dried strawberries = 140 calories, 35 g of carbs & 32 g sugar (that's a lot of sugar!)
- 40 g of real fresh strawberries = 12 calories, 3.2 g of carbs and 2 g of sugar (best option .... plus the added benefit of fiber!)
Nature's Healthy Candy: Goji Berries!
If you are craving dried fruit or fat-free candy such as licorice or jujubes, then opt for low-glycemic index (GI = 29) goji berries instead. Not only is this superfood packed with protein and fiber, but it is also high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and iron. The goji berry (also referred to as a Wolfberry) is rife with antioxidants, which as we know, help reduce the risk of diseases including cancer. This superfood is harvested in the Himalayans and is also chock full of essential fatty acids and amino acids. Remember that moderation is key: Do not consume more than a handful a day. Because of the low glycemic index, goji berries will not result in a huge spike in your blood sugar levels or lead to energy crashes or sugar cravings. Candy, on the other hand, is nutritionally vacant and devoid of fibre (it has a high glycemic index). Note that both goji berries and candy will let to fat storing if your daily calorie intake is greater than your energy expenditure.
- 40 g of red licorice nibs = 140 calories, 32 g of carbs, 17 g of sugar (high glycemic!)
- 40 g of goji berries = 129 calories, 34.3 g of carbs, 17.1 g of sugar (low glycemic = better)
- You don't have to demonize candy, provided the majority of your daily food intake is nutrient-dense.
- Goji berries are nutrient-dense and high in fibre. This is a wiser option than candy because Goji berries provide satiety, protein and micro-nutrition. Candy is nothing more than empty calories.
- If you eat more calories than your body burns, then you will store fat, regardless of the food you eat.
- Click here to learn more about my approach to flexible dieting.