We all know that fruit is good for you—but what about when it’s dried? Is freeze-dried fruit healthy…and is there a best dried fruit?

The short answer is—yes, dried fruit is good for you…but only in moderation. Here’s why…

Concentration. An apple fresh from the tree contains about 95 calories, 1 gram of protein, 19 grams of naturally occurring sugar, 3 grams of fiber, 8 milligrams of vitamin C and several beneficial phytochemicals, including quercetin and anthocyanin.

But what happens if you freeze-dry that apple? You remove most of the water content and the fruit shrinks. But nutritionally, nothing changes. You still have the name amount of fiber, vitamin C, phytochemicals, sugar and calories…just in a much smaller (and less filling) form.

Double-edged sword. The nutritional concentration of dried fruit can cut both ways. Because it is so much smaller—and generally less filling—than fresh fruit, you’re likely to eat much more dried fruit. Eating four dried fruits instead of one fresh fruit is going to deliver the same nutritional value—both good and bad—as eating four fresh fruits. Example: There’s a reason that people eat prunes (dried plums) instead of plums for fiber. One prune has exactly the same amount of fiber as one fresh plum—so to load up on fiber, it’s much easier to eat four prunes than four plums.

Downside of dried fruit: Caloric content. Yes, the sugars in fruits are natural, but they’re still sugars, and if you’re trying to lose weight, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by eating eight dried apricots…calorie-wise, it’s no different than eating eight fresh ones. That’s why moderation is called for.

Good dried fruit choices. Just about all dried fruits are good for you in moderation. Try different types—apricots, dates, figs, passion fruit, mangoes, apples, pears, cherries. Freeze-dried fruit options give you a crunchy texture that’s very appealing to some palates. Freeze-dried blueberries, strawberries, and kiwis are especially delicious.

Caution: Before you buy any dried fruit, read the Nutrition Facts label to make sure there are no added sugars. Manufacturers often add sugar to dried pineapple, blueberries, papaya, and cantaloupe, making them considerably less healthy. So called “craisins,” which are dried cranberries, are particularly high in added sugar.

Don’t confuse “chips,” such as banana or plantain chips, with pure dried fruits. They usually are fried in coconut oil, which is an unhealthy saturated fat, and contain added sugar and salt.

If you’re on a low-potassium diet because kidney problems or another medical condition, it’s best to stay away from most dried fruits.

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