Is Freeze-Dried Food Healthy?

Being healthy is something that a lot of people strive for. It can take a proper diet, exercise, and good habits to make it happen. One thing that you have to know is how healthy the foods you’re eating are for you. There are a lot of things that could catch you off guard. 

A good example of this is protein bars. They seem like something that would be good, and you’d be hitting one of the most important macros when you eat them. The problem lies in how those products are made, and they can be pretty unhealthy.

There are all sorts of foods that follow the same trend. You’d assume that they were healthy at first glance, but they’re actually full of sugars and trans-fats. That’s why researching these things is so important if you’re trying to be healthy. Anything can catch you off guard.

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’re particularly concerned with your health and you’re looking for healthy snack alternatives to the things that they sell in the chip aisle. Specifically, you’re wondering if freeze dried food is actually as healthy as you’ve heard that it is.

Trying to get healthier snacks can be a challenge because of how tricky food can be, so knowing for sure that something you’re looking into is actually going to be healthy is important for your success. So, you’re in the right place to find the answer to your question today.

We’re going to be taking a deep dive into information about the nutrition that is provided by freeze-dried foods so you can understand if they’re worth adding to your diet, or even investing in a freeze-dryer so you can make your own yummy snacks from the comfort of your own home. 

What Makes a Food Healthy or Unhealthy?

Carl Sagan, the world-famous astrophysicist, was once quoted as saying “if you want to build an apple pie from scratch you must first create the universe.” What he was saying here is that you must first build a foundation before you can actually do anything. 

Now, we don’t have the time to get into the finest possible details about this topic. Nutrition is a field all its own and people spend years in college learning about it in order to be able to call themselves experts. That being said, we can do a quick crash course.

So, what makes a food healthy or unhealthy? This is a somewhat complicated question, but it really comes down to the ingredients, preparation methods, and what’s in the ingredients. Listing every single healthy or unhealthy ingredient would take a lot more time than we have, but there are compounds in food that you should look out for.

For Example, Here are Things that Make Foods Unhealthy:

  • Added sugars.
  • Too much sodium.
  • Trans fats.
  • Highly-processed.

And a Food is Typically Considered Healthier If it Has:

  • Vitamins.
  • Minerals.
  • Protein.
  • Good fats.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that this works on a spectrum. Something like potato chips has a lot of unhealthy things in it with a lot of calories, making it very unhealthy because it’s nutritionally empty and full of calories that don’t help you retain energy. 

On the other hand, it’s easy to use potatoes to make dishes that are full of nutrients that can help keep your body full of energy for the full day. It’s usually considered to be a matter of balance. Not everything is going to fall into one category or another.

That being said, healthy foods tend to be very nutritionally dense, making them excellent fuel for your body. When you eat healthy foods, you give your body a lot of the things that it needs to function properly without getting gunked up by a bunch of empty calories. 

You’ve definitely got no shortage of options when it comes to healthier foods, but sometimes the healthier foods just aren’t as satisfying. But, that’s why you’re here, so you can find something that might be able to actually fill the hole left by your favorite junk food that you’re currently trying to avoid.

What Does Freeze-Drying Do to Food?

Now that we understand what exactly makes a food healthy or unhealthy, in order to further our query we’re going to have to figure out what freeze-drying actually does to food. Without understanding this, we won’t have a snowflake’s chance of understanding if freeze-dried food is actually healthy or not. 

So, when you freeze-dry any food item, it goes through a process where the water inside of it is extracted. This process has a lot of fancy scientific names and does a lot of really complicated science stuff to make it happen. The internet has all of the specifics for the rest, but we’re going to have to cut right to the chase.

Essentially, a freeze-dryer cools the food down to a point where all of the water molecules are frozen. Then, it lowers the air pressure enough so that the water can go directly from ice to gas. That specifically is called sublimation. 

Once all of the water has been extracted, you have your freeze-dried food. It usually takes between a few hours and a few days depending on what is being freeze-dried and how much is being freeze-dried at a single time, but it’s mostly a hands-off process.

Is Freeze-Dried Fruit Actually Good For You?

How Healthy are Freeze-Dried Foods?

Alright, now we get to the answer that we’ve all been waiting for. How healthy are freeze-dried foods actually? Should you be rushing to the local hardware store to get yourself a freeze-dryer so you can get to drying your own food?

There have been a lot of studies on this topic because, as you might imagine, there are a lot of scientists that wanted to know the same answer. We were able to look through a research paper and you may be surprised by the results that we found during our searches.

Here’s What we Were Able to Dig Up:

  • Freeze-dried berries were able to retain 90% of the compounds responsible for their color.
  • Some nutrients such as vitamin C and folic acid were reduced in density throughout the freeze-drying process.
  • Freeze-dried foods were able to mostly get back to their original levels of nutrition after being rehydrated.

These three facts might not seem like too much, but they actually help paint a much bigger picture that will help us crack the case once and for all. It might not be able to tell us the answer in black and white, but here’s what we got from that information. 

Generally speaking, foods that are eaten while they are still dehydrated will have fewer nutrients than their fresh counterparts. You can get back to similar levels of nutrition if you rehydrate the foods before eating them, but you’ll still get most of the nutrients.

Berries will still retain most of their color throughout this process, which is a good thing because in some cases the compounds that are responsible for color also contain nutrients that your body needs. With those still being present, you can be sure that you’re getting something relatively healthy.

Now, here’s the part where it gets tricky. Whether or not freeze-dried food will be a healthier alternative to whatever snacks you usually get at the store really depends on what exactly it is that you’re freeze-drying. Not everything is going to be as healthy as other things. 

If you’re Freeze-Drying Things Like:

  • Apples.
  • Oranges.
  • Blueberries.
  • Strawberries.
  • Nectarines.
  • Plums.
  • Pears.
  • Dragonfruit.

You’re probably going to get something healthy out of it. But, that being said, not everything that you put into a freeze-dryer is actually going to be healthy. For example, if you freeze-dry:

  • Ice cream.
  • Cheesecake.
  • Cookies.
  • Pie.
  • Cakes.

None of it is going to come out as healthy food. You still have to think about what you’re putting into the freeze-dryer. Healthier foods will come out as healthier freeze-dried foods, and unhealthier foods will come out as unhealthier freeze-dried foods. Freeze-drying doesn’t make things healthier, unfortunately enough.

Also, if you want to eat healthier, it might be a good idea to avoid adding sugar to your fruits that you’re freeze-drying. As we mentioned earlier, added sugars are a great way to make things unhealthy very easily. It’s best just to put the fruits in as they are and enjoy them when they’re ready.

Becoming a Better You

Living a healthy life can feel like one of the hardest things that you’ll ever do. You just have to make sure to establish good routines and find balance in ways that work for you. Whether that’s through freeze-drying or some other method.

Different methods work for different people. Some people benefit a lot from running ten miles or more a day, while other people prefer to ride bikes. It’s your journey, and how you find your healthy life is ultimately up to you and what you’re the most comfortable with.