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I've recently heard an opinion (from a sailor that attempted to beat a 122 day, westward route, around the world sailing record) that freeze-dried food is actually very healthy, as it contains less fat that normal meals and helps the metabolism.

Could you validate this opinion (only in terms of longer, i.e. lasting 30 days or more, tips)? Are there any (possible) health-related negative effects of freeze-dried food one should be aware of?

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I don't actually find less fat to be a good thing. Less sugar, yes. Less fat, probably not. As with any long-term activity, you should maintain a balanced diet to match your activity, and be aware of what's in your meals, and where you may need to moderate and/or supplement them. –  Nisan.H Feb 1 '13 at 20:25
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Hmm, check the salt content. I recollect that they're generally pretty high. As far as fat is concerned, when I'm hiking, I want fat for long-term energy, mixed with protein and whole grain carbs. –  Don Branson Feb 1 '13 at 21:23
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Let's be clear on something, are you simply talking about food that has undergone freeze-drying, or are you talking about commercial freeze-dried offerings? –  whatsisname Feb 2 '13 at 4:42
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I'm not sure this is answerable as per the title, as healthy in an outdoor survival situation is very different to healthy in an urban setting - less fat is often a bad thing in the wilderness. –  Rory Alsop Feb 2 '13 at 10:47
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@RoryAlsop I think there is a large enough selection even within the outdoor/survival situation that you could compare apples to apples, such as freeze dried vs. dehydrated vs. naturally dry (nuts, oats, rice, couscous, etc.). I'm just not sure this answers this particular question. –  Nisan.H Feb 5 '13 at 5:01
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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Generally there are no known health side effects to eating mostly or only freeze-dried food.

Freeze-dried food tends to hold more nutrients, and hold them longer, than most other shelf-life extending approaches. Freeze-dried fruits hold nearly the same amount of vitamins and antioxidants as their fresh equivalent. Freeze-dried food also does not need to have preservatives which have debatable negative effects (depending on type and quantity). Additionally, food preserved by freeze-drying stays nutritious for longer than any other approach (much longer than some).

Many commercial makers of freeze-dried food add a ton of sodium, but that is not part of the freeze-drying process. Some manufacturers are better than others.

Unfortunately for those concerned about the environment, the process of freeze-drying is much more energy intensive than other preservation methods.

Sources:
American Institute for Cancer Research article on antioxidants
NASA PDF document that describes 98% nutritional equivalent at 20% of the weight

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Can you cite any sources for this information? –  Mr.Wizard Feb 18 '13 at 7:58
    
Freeze-dried fruits hold nearly the same amount of vitamins and antioxidants as their fresh equivalent -- This just isn't possible. If you take an apple and freeze-dry it, unless you add something to it then it's still an apple, and hasn't gained anything (only lost). Perhaps you mean to say more nutrients per pound? –  Russell Steen Feb 18 '13 at 16:19
    
I could follow some footnotes and dig up an answer, and will try to do so when I get a chance, but I assumed the only thing lost of water. The difference from dehydrating is in how the water is removed. I personally have very little facts here and would need to do more research. –  Justin C Feb 19 '13 at 2:55
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