The World's Healthiest Foods

Are any nutrients lost when fruits are sun dried?

Yes, the sun drying of fruit causes nutrient loss. We've seen a very detailed study on the drying of fresh mango, and the results showed up to 94% loss of beta-carotene and 84% loss of vitamin C during sun drying. The term "sun drying," however, is very general, and the exact amount of nutrient loss depends on the actual steps used to dry the fruit. The technology behind solar dryers used to produce large amounts of commercially dried fruit is always improving, and we expect that dried fruits will better be able to retain nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamin C along with improvements in drying technology.

Because most fruits are not dried in whole form, a good bit of nutrient loss can occur due to the cutting and slicing of the whole food and exposure of its interior nutrients to air, light, and heat over a prolonged period of time. So in many instances, it is not only the sun drying but the cutting and slicing of the food long before it is eaten that contributes to nutrient loss.

We place dried fruit and fruit juices into a different category than whole, natural fresh fruits. In general, the further a food gets from its whole, natural state, the more nutrients it will lose. While "sun drying" may be a more natural method of processing fruit and desirable for this reason, it still results in nutrient loss when compared to fresh fruit.

WHFoods Recommendation

Whenever possible choose fresh fruit over dried fruit.