Because heat is used during the dehydration process, pineapple loses much of its nutrient content when it is dried. Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, deteriorate rapidly, as do minerals like potassium and calcium, which tend to drop by at least 50 percent. Dried pineapple holds onto its sugar content, however, and is two to three times higher in calories than raw pineapple. As a snack, it is an effective low-fat way to get some quick energy, but if you are trying to watch your weight or your blood sugar level, eating fresh pineapple or a lower-sugar fruit in moderation is a healthier option.
Although dried pineapple offers some nutrient benefits, the cost is a large amount of sugar and calories. A 3-ounce serving of dried pineapple provides about 50 percent of the vitamin C you need each day, while the same amount of fresh raw pineapple gives you more than 100 percent. Similarly, a cup of raw pineapple contains 18 micrograms of folate, which is virtually depleted by dehydration. Antioxidant compounds protect your healthy cells from free radical destruction, preventing premature aging and the development of diseases.
To make dried pineapple a more nutritious snack, look for locally grown products, which are likely to have been more nutrient-dense before dehydration than commercially-grown pineapples, and opt for dried pineapple that is not coated with sugar. Pair it with a low-sugar dried fruit, such as cranberries, to dilute the sugar content. Adding nuts or dried seeds will incorporate healthy oils that help your body absorb the fruit’s fat-soluble nutrients, such as beta-carotene.