Apricots are among the healthiest fruit that you can have on your dinner table. In other places, this fruit is also called the Armenian plum. Whether these are apricots or Armenian plums in your household, they’re tart, tasty, and healthy. Both fresh and dried apricots are a good choice for a snack because the fruit is naturally low in calories while being packed with other nutrients.
Seventy grams of apricots provide just 34 calories, eight grams of carbs, one gram of protein, 0.27 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of dietary fiber, 8% RDI for vitamin A, 8% RDI for vitamin C, 4% RDI for vitamin E and 4% RDI for potassium. As you can see, apricots are packed with the right balance of nutrients for weight loss and even bodybuilding.
Apricots also naturally contain a host of antioxidants. Plant antioxidants are widely touted for having anti-cancer properties, and they also help the body remove free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for accelerated cellular aging. Apricots contain reasonable amounts of zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene, too.
Medical science has long pointed to the body’s need for a continuous supply of antioxidants. The store must be renewed as the body deals with stress, food byproducts, and environmental toxins. Generally speaking, if you have a stressful job and are not eating well, you have to consume more natural food items that provide a good supply of natural antioxidants.
How Many Dried Apricots Equal a Fresh Apricot?
Six ounces of dried apricots or roughly 170 grams is equivalent to one cup of fresh apricots. A cup of dried apricots provides the same nutrients as two cups of cooked apricots (as in preserves and jams). However, you have to figure in any added sugars found in dried apricots and apricot preserves if you are counting calories.
Calorie counting is slightly more complicated than just considering the serving size, as different brands of dried apricots and preserves have varying calories. Fresh apricots provide less than 40 calories per serving, but this may increase in the commercial, dried varieties due to added sugar. Both HFCS and refined sugar from sugarcane can double or triple the caloric content of snack products.
Fresh apricots are processed with electric dryers to be preserved, stored, and used whenever needed. Dried apricots and other apricot preserves are still healthy. We recommend snacking moderately on these. As we have mentioned elsewhere, the natural sugars found in fruits are not considered part of your free sugar intake for the day because fruits contain natural fiber that prevents the sudden surge of blood glucose, which is unhealthy for everyone.
How Many Dried Apricots Should I Eat a Day?
Since dried apricots are sold in packs, we recommend measuring the number of apricots by the cup. ½ cup of dried apricots is equivalent to one cup of fresh apricots, so 1-2 cups of dried apricots are already comparable to four fresh apricots.
Depending on your caloric requirements, the ideal quantity can be anywhere from .5 cups to two cups. If you dry the apricots at home with a mechanical dryer, then you shouldn’t be too worried about the added sugar unless you do add too much sugar to the equation. We recommend holding off on the sugar because the added sugar would count toward your free sugar consumption for the day.
Experts recommend getting less than 10 grams of added sugar or free sugar daily.
If you are concerned about your weight or are trying to modify your diet because you have heart disease or type 2 diabetes, you must know much free sugar comes from your meals and drinks. Luckily, no scientific literature points to any significant risk of having any metabolic disorder from consuming fruits. Again, the reason for this is tied integrally to the fiber content of fruits.
The fiber dramatically helps in reducing the impact of any natural sugars in the fruits on the body. But then again, we encourage people to be mindful of their caloric intake as calories are still calories. If you overdo the consumption of any food or beverage, you will have problems shedding the weight.
What Happens If You Eat Too Many Dried Apricots?
Eating dried apricots and other dried fruits is a mixed bag for health effects. Studies have shown that people who tend to eat more dried fruit are more likely to maintain their weight or lose weight than those who have other dietary preferences. However, these studies were rooted mainly in observations, and in-depth studies on the effects of consuming dried fruits are few and far between. On the whole, we know that dried fruits contain the same types of nutrients present in fresh fruits, and as a result, these are better choices for maintaining health and losing weight compared to other processed foods.
The only visible downside, which we have observed in different kinds of dried fruit (not just dried apricots), is the caloric content. We know that we said that natural sugars do not count toward the free sugar allocation for the day. Yes, fruit sugars don’t count. However, it’s important to note how many calories you are getting per day, too.
Calories are calories, and if you eat copious amounts of dried fruit every day, you may gain weight. The added sugar in some brands is also problematic, as these dried fruit brands have 66% more calories than dried fruit without preservatives and added sugar.
Also, keep in mind that preserves come in different forms. There are naturally dried fruit products, and there are candied products. Candied products don’t pretend to be healthy, and they are processed because they taste sweet. People buy them for the sugar content.