May 18, 2024
Margarine and Shortening

Choosing the Healthiest Fruit Snack for Your Diet

According to recent research by food scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, only three types of fruit snacks meet the latest recommendations for high-nutrition snacks set by federal dietary guidelines. These recommended options include dried fruit, fruit puree, and canned fruit with juice.

The study compared the nutritional profiles of various commercially available fruit snacks, which are products made with fruit and fruit juices, and may contain added sugar, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Among the options analyzed, dried fruit emerged as the top choice due to its high nutrient density and fiber content, as well as its low added sugar content.

In contrast, fruit-flavored snacks like gummies were found to have the lowest nutrient density and fiber content, along with the highest amount of added sugar. Canned fruit packed in syrup and dried flavored fruit also ranked low in nutrient density due to their higher added sugar content.

The researchers, led by Amanda Kinchla and Alissa Nolden, published their findings in the journal Nutrients. They analyzed data from 1,497 fruit snacks using the Nutrient Rich Foods (NRF) Index to assess the overall nutrition quality of each product. The NRF Index considers both beneficial and limiting nutrients to determine the healthfulness of the snacks.

While consuming fresh fruit is always the healthiest option, the study highlights that many people in the U.S. fall short of the recommended daily fruit servings. Therefore, choosing nutrient-dense fruit snacks could be a practical way to increase fruit intake in the diet.

The research suggests that reformulation of certain fruit snacks is necessary to improve their nutritional quality. Fruit-based bars and formed fruit could be made lower in added sugar, while canned fruit with added sugar and fruit-flavored snacks may benefit from increased nutrient density and fiber content.

Moving forward, the focus should be on reducing added sugar content, enhancing fiber content, and improving the sensory appeal of fruit snacks to encourage healthier snacking choices. By making these improvements, consumers can enjoy delicious fruit snacks while supporting their overall health and wellness goals.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it