Is This “Healthy” Ingredient Actually Harmful?

Is This “Healthy” Ingredient Actually Harmful?
Is This “Healthy” Ingredient Actually Harmful?

What is fruit concentrate, and is it healthy or unhealthy? Get the low-down on this common sweetener.

What is fruit concentrate?

Registered dietician Caroline West Passerrello told NPR that fruit concentrate is “fruit with the water removed.” She explains that, “It retains the sugar and calories, but it loses the volume, and .”

It turns out that “fruit concentrate”, which companies use to sweeten packaged foods, is really just another name for added sugars. The name might make it sound like a healthier sweetener, but fruit concentrate doesn’t bring any vitamin or fiber content to the table at all.

When you eat something like a whole orange or apple, you are getting sugar. What sets whole fruit apart from other sweet foods is that you also ingest vitamins and fiber along with that sugar. The fiber, especially, is key. Fiber slows down your body’s absorption of sugar, which prevents an unhealthy blood sugar spike.

What foods contain fruit concentrate?

Fruit concentrate is making its way into more and more snacks. It sounds better on an ingredients label than sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but, at the end of the day, it’s not much different from a nutritional standpoint.

Fruit concentrate can be in any product with added sugars. The list below is of common items that use fruit concentrate as a sweetener:

  • granola bars
  • packaged cereals
  • fruit pouches (the ones that parents feed to their kids as a snack or treat)
  • fruit juices
  • cookies
  • wine and beer (It won’t be listed on the label, but it’s used as a flavoring.)

Avoiding added sugars

When you think about fruit concentrate, look at it like any other added sugar. Too much added sugar is linked to chronic disease, so keeping all added sugars—including fruit concentrate—to a minimum is the best move for your health.

The American Heart Association recommends that women consumer at most 100 calories from added sugars per day and that men limit added sugars to 150 calories or fewer.

When you’re reading a nutritional label, definitely check the ingredients list for added sugars like fruit concentrate, if you’re so inclined. This post has a list of common names for added sugars that you might see on ingredients list. You can also look at the Nutrition Facts, which will tell you how many grams of sugar are in the food you’re about to eat. Multiply the number of grams by four, and you have the calories from sugar.

Right now, nutrition labels do not break out added sugars from natural sugars, but beginning in July of 2018, you’ll be able to see exactly how many grams of added sugar are in the food you’re buying. Here is a side-by-side of the current label vs. the new label:

As you can see, added sugars versus total sugars can be different, so those new labels will be handy! In the example above, this product has 12 grams of total sugars, but 10 grams of added sugars. That’s 40 calories from added sugars.

With some savvy label-reading, you’ll be able to easily minimize the added sugars—including from fruit concentrate—in your grocery cart without having to squint at ingredients lists, searching out added sugars by names.

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Lisa Roth Collins is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and is the Marketing Manager at She is passionate about health and wellness and tries her best to make healthier choices every day for herself and her family. Her journey to natural health was driven by her own struggles with digestive discomfort, depression, and anxiety. Lisa returned to school in 2014 to study nutrition at the Canadian School for Natural Nutrition. She threw herself into her studies so she could learn as much as she could to help herself feel better and thrive. Upon completing the program and being certified as an RHN, Lisa began her work at Naturally Savvy where she has been able to help so many people learn to make healthier choices for themselves. Through her work, she has connected with so many incredible people in the industry whether other authors, influencers, or brands. Plus, she is affectionately known as "Techie Spice" because of her ability to wrap her head around technology. Every day she gets up with a renewed sense of energy and ready to make a difference. You can read all of Lisa's content here. In her spare time, Lisa loves to try new recipes, make delicious and nourishing meals, and she is an avid reader. For more information about Lisa, check out her profile on here.