How Hot Do Dehydrated Foods Get, And How Does That Affect Them Nutritionally? Are They Still Raw?
by Michelle Matthewman
Michelle's Question: Can you please advise the temperature used for dehydration/drying on the graph used to illustrate the loss of vitamins in cooked food vs raw food?
Andrew's Answer: It depends on how a food is dried. Traditionally, all fruits were sun dried. Today, many are still sun dried or dried in wind tunnels without the use of heaters. These are not technically cooked, but heated to the same extent everything exposed to hot, direct sunlight is.
Foods dried in this manner are no longer whole, and have been degraded nutritionally. The USDA figures on drying show nutrient loss comparable to heating for some vitamins and minerals, but much lower or nonexistent for others.
Some dried foods may use electric dehydrators to heat them up. How "cooked," they've been could depend on the operator.
Dehydrators will generally come with a temperature range. I've seen models with options for 85 to 155 degrees F, for instance. You won't know how hot they get unless you were there during the drying or you ask someone who was.
Although it's something of an arbitrary cut off point, 115 degrees F is usually the point when something is considered to have been cooked and no longer raw, so something dried in this kind of dehydrator could be considered cooked.
Simply put, dehydrated foods are compromised nutritionally,, and will not compare favorably with fresh, whole foods.
Learn more about how to adopt a healthy raw food diet of fresh fruits and vegetables here.