Q: Are the freeze-dried berries in some breakfast cereals as nutritious as fresh?
A: Freeze-dried berries retain most of their vitamins and other potentially beneficial substances (notably flavonoids). Freeze-drying means quick freezing followed by drying in a vacuum chamber. It preserves more nutrients than air-drying. The berries emerge in recognizable form, retaining their color but not their original taste and texture.
The catch is that a serving of breakfast cereal typically contains only a tiny amount of freeze-dried berries.
Keep in mind that many cereals contain fake fruit masquerading as real fruit. Those plump berries, pomegranates, and other pieces of fruit enticingly pictured on the package may be nothing more than sugar-sweetened gobs of flour with flavoring, colorings, and other additives. To avoid this marketing scam, check the ingredients.
Better yet, add your own fresh fruit to cereal and other foods. If you can’t get fresh berries, try conventionally frozen ones, which taste better than freeze-dried and are as nutritious as fresh. You can also add dried cranberries, blueberries, raisins, and other fruit, though they may not retain as many nutrients as freeze-dried or fresh.
Also see Are Cereals Healthier Today?