This is a great question because we often speak of dried fruit as being a more concentrated source of nutrients as opposed to its fresh counterpart. As a result, it can be a bit confusing when we try to rank it on any scale. The glycemic index is simply a way to measure how the carbohydrates contained in a certain food can potentially raise our blood glucose. Foods that are higher on the glycemic index have greater potential for raising our blood glucose levels- verses foods that rank at the lower end of the scale.
Portion is Key
Assuming that the dried fruit in question doesn’t contain added sugar; the only difference between dried and fresh is water content. Dried fruit is simply the dehydrated version often with a preservative added. Therefore what we are left with in the end is a volume difference. The same nutrients found in fresh fruit will be present in dried- just in a smaller space due to dehydration. This makes portion control a key factor in the equation. A good rule of thumb is to simply cut your portion size in half when having dried fruit for similar rankings to fresh on the glycemic index. The good news is that dried fruit can be easily incorporated into your diet before and after exercise.
Pre/Post Workout Nutrition
Prior to exercise, your goals should center on ensuring adequate carbohydrates for quick energy coupled with smaller amounts of protein to help build and repair muscle tissue. Dried fruit offers carbohydrates and the protein you choose to pair it with can vary greatly depending on your taste preference. A few ideas may include:
Low-fat cheese stick
1 Hard cooked egg
After your workout, ideal nutritional goals are similar. You’ll want to focus on carbohydrate replacement along with protein to help the repair and rebuilding of damaged muscle tissue. Examples that can easily incorporate your favorite dried fruit include:
A small non-fat smoothie
Dried fruit can offer a nutritious alternative to fresh varieties. With portion control in mind, we can utilize the foods we love to enhance our workouts and refuel our body with the right nutrients at the right time.
American Diabetes Association, Glycemic Index, Retrieved July 25, 2013, from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/glycemic-index-and
Brand-Miller, J. et. al., (2002), The New Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index, Marlowe & Company, New York, NY.