Frozen vs. Fresh food… the truth behind the nutrition

Did you know that the nutritional value of the same food items can differ when frozen.
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Some frozen foods have been found by the Medical Research Council to be higher in nutritional value when analytically compared to fresh.

This lends itself to conclusive article statements like – ‘…frozen food is healthier for you because it’s for more nutrition when you compare it to the fresh version.’ This is simply not true at all! One of my nieces is studying Dietetics and we had a discussion about the nutritional value of food in different forms and I wanted to share some of our discussion points with you.

Seasonal and Fresh is always the best option… 

There are nutritional and enzymatic elements of fresh foods that do not survive the freezing process and make eating fresh over frozen worth it every time.

The frozen vegetable marketers like to promote their products through marketing them as nutritionally higher in vitamins and minerals and therefore better for you. Based on the Food Composition tables, in a lab environment, certain fruits and veggies really are tested and recorded to be higher in nutrition than fresh… but why is this?
After much research…
Here is the answer, direct from the Medical Research Council…

‘Conclusions cannot be drawn from the direct comparison between the vitamin and mineral composition of different forms of a specific food (boiled, frozen, canned, etc.).

There are many factors that could give us a variable values that may make it seem as through the nutrition density of frozen food is higher than fresh from an analytical perspective.

  • Temperature regulation:

The destruction of some nutrients by heat is only one of the factors influencing nutrient composition during processing. Moisture loss during cooking leads to the concentration of all nutrients.

  • Crop history and sample type:

Most often it is not samples of food from the same crop that were analysed raw, frozen, boiled, canned or dried. Differences in growing conditions, sample handling, etc. could therefore result in nutrient differences.

  • Laboratory locations and methodology:

Analyses for the various forms (raw, boiled, frozen, canned, etc.) of a food item may also have been done at different analytical laboratories, possibly using different analytical methodologies and thus producing different values.

Adding additional ingredients to processed food as well as the fortification of the food item may also influence the final analytical values.’ Source: MRC

Frozen food is a literal convenience for easy meal solutions and storing fresh food safely for convenient use later. Foods that are frozen should not regularly be replaced with fresh food and choosing fresh over frozen is always the most nutritious way of eating.

However, if you only have the option of your fruits and veggies being frozen, better frozen than tinned or dehydrated!

Please know that I’m not saying to not freeze fresh food or not to eat frozen food, heck, we have excessive freezer storage space here on the farm and we use it.

We prepare and store fresh food in a frozen state so that we can extend the seasons and we get to enjoy fruits and veggies when they are not in season. I also often use frozen fruit for smoothies or juices and even use frozen fruit for making ‘out-of-season fruit’ cordials, compotes and jams – Frozen food is uber convenient and has a place in my home!

I really just wanted to share the foodie facts on why sometimes, certain foods can have a higher nutritional value when frozen.

Ciao for now xx

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