Are Dried Fruits Higher in Sugar?

Dried fruit

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Dried fruits, like raisins and prunes, are convenient because they last for a long time and they're good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But, if you examine the nutritional information for both fresh fruit and their dried counterparts, you will likely notice a lot more sugar and calories per serving in dried fruits.

So, what happens? The fruit doesn't magically develop more sugar when it's dehydrated, but it does lose volume. What matters is how you measure the fruits before you compare them.

Why Serving Size Matters

Fruits are dried in special dehydrators, or they can be left in the sun to dehydrate naturally. The fruit is ready once almost all of the water has disappeared.

The loss of water means loss of physical size, so when a plump, juicy grape becomes a shriveled, leathery raisin, it's a lot smaller. The same thing happens when plums are dried into prunes or when any fruits or berries are dehydrated.

When you compare fresh and dried fruit by volume, you'll always find more sugar and calories in the dried fruit. For instance, you can fit about 30 grapes in a single cup, but once they're dehydrated, you can fill a one-cup measuring cup with more than 250 raisins.

One cup of raisins has 116 grams of sugar and a cup of grapes has about 15 grams of sugar. In terms of calories, a cup of grapes has about 104 calories while a cup of raisins has over 480 calories.

Sugar in Dried Fruit vs. Whole Fruit

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 10 grapes have about 7.5 grams of sugar and 34 calories. Thirty raisins have 47 calories and just under 10 grams of sugar. While it may seem like the raisins lost sugar during the drying process, it's probably not the case.

The natural sugar content of grapes varies by variety and the nutritional value assessments were probably carried out on different types. Even so, when you compare a raisin to a grape, the nutritional numbers are about the same except for the water.

It's important to point out that some dried fruits, like cranberries, are very tart, so sugar or fruit juices are often added during the drying process so the resulting craisins can be sold as a snack.

Should You Avoid Dried Fruits?

Fresh fruit is probably higher in some vitamins, like vitamin C, but mineral and fiber content are retained during the drying process, so there's no need to avoid dried fruit. But it's a good idea to keep an eye on serving sizes and calorie counts.

Raisins, craisins, dried blueberries, apple chips, and dried apricots are convenient and keep longer than fresh fruit. And they're versatile, too. To make dried fruits part of a healthy, balanced diet:

  • Make your own trail mix blend. Mix your favorite dried fruits, nuts, and seeds—just be sure to monitor your portion size. Check out this low-carb trail mix recipe for ideas.
  • Top off your oatmeal. Lightly sweeten your hot steel-cut oatmeal with a small serving of dried fruits for a hearty and healthy breakfast.
  • Toss dried fruits in a salad. Use your favorite dark leafy greens, fresh apple slices, dried cranberries or raisins, and a little goat cheese. Try this Kale and Cranberry Green Salad for inspiration.
  • Try ants on a log. Get the kids in the kitchen and teach them how to make ants on a log with raisins, peanut butter, and celery. It's a great snack for adults, too.
  • Sweeten the main course. Use dried fruit as an ingredient in your savory entree, like these Apricot Balsamic Skillet Pork Chops.
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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Raisins (Sun-Maid). FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. Grapes, American type (slip skin), raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  3. Grapes, red or green (European type, such as Thompson seedles), raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Published April 1, 2019.