General Mills produces Fruit Roll-Ups, a fruit-flavored snack that resembles fruit leather in appearance and texture but not in nutritional value. Roll-Ups are gluten-free and fat-free. They are a novel snack for children and contain added vitamin C. Nutritionally, they may be a better snack than candy, but Fruit Roll-Ups don’t stack up very well when you compare them to fresh or dried fruit.
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Ingredients in Fruit Roll-Ups as listed on the Fruit Roll-Ups Variety Pack box include pears from concentrate, corn syrup, dried corn syrup, sugar and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Fruit Roll-Ups also contain 2 percent or less than 2 percent citric acid, sodium citrate, acetylated monoglycerides, fruit pectin, dextrose, maltic acid, ascorbic acid, natural flavor and the following food coloring: blue 1, red 40 and yellows 5 and 6.
One Fruit Roll-Up contains 50 calories. It has 1 g of fat – but no saturated or trans fat – 12 g of total carbohydrates, including 7 g of sugar, and 0 protein. A Roll-Up contains 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Enjoy Fruit Roll-Ups only occasionally, because they are primarily empty calories. The refined carbohydrates in this snack, which come from corn syrup and sugar, lack essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
For a more nutrient-dense snack consider fresh fruit or dried fruit. For example, a half-cup of fresh pear slices contains 41 calories, 2 g of dietary fiber and 11 g carbohydrates including 6 g of sugar. Fresh pear slices also contain potassium, vitamin C and several micronutrients. A quarter cup of prunes contains 112 calories, 29 g carbohydrates including 15 g of sugar and 3 g of dietary fiber. Prunes also contain vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium and several micronutrients.