Frozen vs Fresh Fruit

Image Credit: Busy Mom / Wikimedia commons

Fresh fruit versus frozen–which is better?

Are there published studies providing evidence about the efficacy of frozen fruit (vs fresh)? What are viable sources of acai in the US? Sambozan adds soy lecitihin to their acai product.

evanbrand / Originally posted on  Pink juice with green foam

Answer:

I found two good studies comparing fresh to frozen fruit. One on strawberries and one on raspberries. They both found the same thing: “no statistically significant differences between the…[antioxidant levels] for fresh and frozen strawberries” and “It is concluded, therefore, that freshly picked, fresh commercial, and frozen raspberries all contain similar levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants per serving.”

In fact, frozen last longer than fresh, are available year-round, and tend to be cheaper and more convenient. If you look in my freezer, normally it’s half frozen greens and half frozen berries (though this time of the year it’s also stuffed with 20 pounds of fresh dates!).

In terms of your acai question, I’m not sure what your concern about soy lecithin is. Even people with soy allergies are often able to tolerate lecithin (and soy proteins are more than 100 times less allergenic than other allergens such as eggs and dairy). I love the frozen packs of unsweetened acai pulp (featured in my videos Superfood Bargains and Antioxidant Content of 300 Foods), though if you’re extremely allergic to soy you may just have to stick to less exotic berries. See my video Best Berries.

Image Credit: Busy Mom / Wikimedia commons

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


19 responses to “Fresh fruit versus frozen–which is better?

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  1. Juicing vegetables or fruits can result in abundant amounts of pesticides in the juice IF you don’t grow or purchase (certified) organic. But, freezing the veggies or fruit should not matter.

  2. @beccadoggie10 thank you for the blanching times, I live in San Diego, California, so I have to problem getting fresh fruits and veggies all year-round, yet I love blanching veggies, but I am not always sure about the times. I also find hard to find organic blueberries, and blackberries in near-by grocery stores, unless they are frozen, I am thankful for this post Dr. Greger, as for many others. Your website has literally saved my life, thank you!

  3. Dr Greger,

    I came across the study where was said that non organic berries have high level of pesticides and herbicides, sounded that it is not worth to consume non organic berries .

    How unsafe are non organic berries

    Also wanted to hear your opinion on GMO produce

    Thank you

    Vlad

    1. Vlad, Great question. Dr. Greger has two relevant older videos that discuss the benefits of eating organic foods: Can pesticides be rinsed off? (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/can-pesticides-be-rinsed-off/) and Cancer Fighting Berries (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cancer-fighting-berries-2/). A recent video encouraged us all to rinse even our organic produce since it could be contaminated with fecal bacteria: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/norovirus-food-poisoning-from-pesticides/.

      Regarding GMOs, Dr. Greger answered another reader’s question on the issue here: http://nutritionfacts.org/questions/gmos-and-decreased-nutrition-in-our-foods/ .

      Hope that helps!

    1. drew4021: One of the more memorable lines from Dr. Barnard’s book on Preventing and Reversing Diabetes is, “There are just two problems with eggs: the yolk and the white.” So, what’s the problem with the white? Dr. Barnard talks about the problems that animal protein presents for kidney health. Other experts talk about the (strong in my opinion) link between animal protein and cancer. The question scientists then want to answer is: Is there a causal link? If so, what is the mechanism by which animal protein might cause cancer?

      If memory serves, Dr Campbell in The China Study mentions several ways in which we think that animal protein causes and promotes cancer. Here on NutritionFacts, you can get a great education on how animal protein is linked to the body’s over-production of a growth hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 helps cancer to grow. To watch the series about IGF-1, click on the link below and then keep clicking the “next video” link on the button to the right until you get through the bodybuilding video. Then you will have seen the entire series.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/igf-1-as-one-stop-cancer-shop/

      With all of the information we have about the harmful effects of animal protein, I think it’s best to stay away from egg white. Why not get your protein from safe sources? Sources which are known to have lots of positive health effects and will naturally give you a balanced amount of protein? (ie: whole plant foods) Make sense?

  4. These studies only go so far as freezing for 24hrs and 3 days. What about weeks, months??? If I knew that my frozen fruit got to me three days after harvest great. But that never is the case! The fruit on the shelves has been there for months. Where’s the realistic, functional and useful data???

  5. Hi there!
    I have a question regarding frozen spinach.
    Lets say I buy fresh organic spinach and I process it so that it is all broken into smaller and more digestable parts and then I freeze it, so that I can steam a certain amount any time I want. Does it have the same nutrition than fresh spinach? Or even frozen spinach bought directly from the supermarket? Because I understand this already frozen spinach from the supermarket is already cooked and then frozen right? My question is whether processing fresh organic spinach and then freezing it holds the same nutrition as fresh spinach or already frozen spinach from the supermarket for that matter? Than you so much for any comment!!!

  6. Hi Valentina – I’m Janelle, a Health Support Volunteer for Dr. Greger and a Registered Dietitian. Thanks for your great question! Frozen produce at the store is often blanched prior to freezing, so some nutrients may be lost but it is minimal overall. Because produce is picked at its peak ripeness and then frozen immediately following, this can actually help preserve other nutrients better than in fresh. So whether you choose to purchase frozen spinach or freeze it yourself, both are great ways to pack more greens into your diet!

    Now as for cruciferous vegetables (example: kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts), I would recommend purchasing these foods fresh, chopping them up, waiting 40 minutes, and then cook or freeze as you’d like. The chopping and waiting allows time for sulforaphane production (an anti-cancer compound). The blanching process prior to freezing these foods at the store destroys the enzyme needed to produce sulforaphane. Here is more information on cooking strategies for cruciferous veggies (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/second-strategy-to-cooking-broccoli/). Hope this helps!

  7. what about dried acai powder? or would it just be better to have powdered greens like wheatrgrass instead?
    Please write an article on acai ,like you have for many other foods and topics,thanks!

    1. The issue with acai powder is that many acai products have actually been found not to contain acai!!! If you were going to consume true acai powder, I would assume it would contain much of the antioxidant power of whole acai, but may have less of certain nutrients such as vitamin C.
      A search for “acai” on nutritionfacts.org brings up many videos for you to learn more about the berry. Dr. Greger has discussed it quite in depth already.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=acai

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt, Health Support

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