Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about dried cranberries, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Cranberries are a type of berry that is commonly eaten in its dried form. Since dried cranberries generally have a more bitter taste you will almost only find dried cranberries with added sugar or sweeteners.
The nutritional values in this article will be from “sweetened dried cranberries” (1).
If you do have the choice between dried cranberries with or without added sugar, the ones with no added sugar are likely the best choice for weight loss.
Like most dried fruits, dried cranberries are not great for weight loss compared to many other food options. Find out the exact nutritional values of dried cranberries and how they compare to raisins for weight loss.
Micronutrients in dried cranberries
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in dried cranberries.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of sweetened dried cranberries provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 13% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin E: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 5% of the DV
- Niacin: 5% of the DV
And a few other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. These are not very large amounts of vitamins and minerals compared to many whole foods.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals dried cranberries are not the best food to add to your diet.
Dried cranberries do contain certain kinds of antioxidants, substances that help your body deal with oxidative damage. It is not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
Fiber in dried cranberries for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Sweetened dried cranberries contain around 5.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a very good amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many whole foods. For most people more fiber is a good thing for weight loss.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in dried cranberries you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a very good amount.
Do dried cranberries help you lose weight?
Before knowing whether or not dried cranberries deserve a spot in your weight loss diet you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in dried cranberries.
Sweetened dried cranberries contain 308 calories per 100 grams. 296 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (82.4 g per 100 grams of which 5.7 g fiber).
You might be able to fit in a tiny amount but dried cranberries are not great for low carb diets like the keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content.
The amount of calories in dried cranberries is relatively high compared to many whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Even compared to other dried fruits sweetened cranberries are on the high side when it comes to calories.
Most of these calories also come from carbohydrates which are, besides fiber, generally considered the least filling macronutrient.
You are adding valuable fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your diet but there are many foods that are more filling for fewer calories. So with dried cranberries in your diet, it becomes easier to overeat on calories compared to a lot of whole foods. In that way dried cranberries can be fattening.
On the other hand there are also worse foods for weight loss. If you have to choose between a cookie high in sugar and some dried cranberries, the dried cranberries are likely the better option when trying to lose weight. It depends on what you compare with.
Like with all foods you can most likely implement some dried cranberries into your diet and still lose weight. That being said, there are probably better food choices than dried cranberries for weight loss.
Dried vs raisins for weight loss
You now know how good dried cranberries are for weight loss but how do they compare to another very popular dried fruit, raisins?
Raisins contain around 6.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams so a good amount more than the 5.7 grams per 100 grams in dried cranberries. Raisins contain bigger amounts of vitamins and minerals than dried cranberries.
Because fiber is such an important nutrient for weight loss, raisins are likely better for weight loss than dried cranberries.