Dehydrated foods are a staple among hikers and backpackers because it’s tasty and has a long shelf-life. You can mix and match depending on what you want to eat while on a hike and keep a fully stocked ‘pantry’ in your pack. Meat, fruits, veggies, herbs and so on provide ample variety while out and about. With that said, the question arises:
Is dehydrated food good for you? Yes, but only in moderation. As tasty as dehydrated foods can be, it’s not wise to eat too much at one time. The calorie content in dehydrated foods is extremely high; they also have high sugar and sodium content. This is particularly true when dealing with commercially produced dehydrated foods.
Why Dehydrate Food?
Dehydrating food involves removing the moisture in order to preserve it. Removing the moisture makes it difficult for bacteria to grow and spoil the food. This preserves the food long past its normal shelf-life.
Dehydrated foods can also be healthier snacks than what you’d normally munch on. They also tend to be more flavorful as the moisture which would’ve diluted the taste a bit isn’t there anymore.
They can be added to salads, trail mixes, smoothies, and other foods. A personal favorite of mine is to take sliced biltong, and sprinkling a bit of that into a bowl of instant noodles.
Positives of Dehydrated Food
There are a variety of benefits associated with dehydrated food:
- There are no additives or preservatives to the food, it’s all natural.
- Highly nutritious.
- Low risk of contamination/bacteria.
- High in fiber and antioxidants.
- Calorie content is preserved.
- You save money by preserving food – meaning you don’t have to buy so much.
- It’s easily stored.
Negatives of Dehydrated Food
Like a coin, there are positives and negatives associated with dehydrated food:
- You lose non-soluble minerals and vitamins.
- Calorie content is higher by weight.
- There may be artificial colorants and preservatives used (if commercially produced).
- Can have high sodium and sugar levels.
- Easily overeaten.
The Final Answer: “Yes, but…”
So, the final answer is yes, but only in moderation. As tasty as dehydrated foods can be, it’s not wise to eat too much at one time.
The calorie content increases substantially when food is dehydrated, and these calories tend to stack up quite a bit – particularly if you’re noshing on dehydrated snack foods throughout the day. This can lead to what’s called a caloric surplus; essentially your body has more calories than it burns.
The high salt and sugar levels may cause some serious health-related issues. This is true of both commercially produced dehydrated foods, and home dehydrated foods. Commercially dehydrated foods tend to use artificial/chemical preservatives to prolong the shelf-life and add to the flavor.
I hope you enjoyed and found the article informative. In closing, I’d like to say, as always, thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you for the next one! Take care, and watch those munchies!
Greg spent most of his childhood in camping grounds and on hiking trails. While he lives in suburbs nowadays, Greg was raised on a small farm with chickens. He’s a decent shot with a bow, and a knife enthusiast.