Fresh vs Frozen Vegetables: Which Are Healthier?


by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.

We have been investigating the science of fresh vs frozen vegetables and put them head to head in this 28-page PDF report.

Grab “Fresh vs frozen vegetables: Which are healthier?” below:

 

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Conveniently download this 28-page science report. Contains links to extra reading materials and scientific references.

Topics covered in this report:

  1. Frozen vegetables and modern life
  2. Convenient, but nutritious – or not?
  3. Are fresh vegetables always better?
  4. Transportation of fresh vegetables
  5. Degradation of fresh vegetables
  6. How “fresh” are frozen vegetables?
  7. Blanching process before freezing
  8. Does freezing preserve or destroy nutrients?
  9. Preferred freezing temperatures
  10. Which option is more nutritious?
  11. Frozen vs. fresh, head to head
  12. Initial produce quality counts
  13. What about freezing fruits?
  14. Treatment of frozen fruits
  15. Added sugars and freezing point
  16. Added vitamin C
  17. Common frozen fruits with added sugars
  18. Vegetables: Which version wins?
  19. Conclusion and cooking options
  20. References and resources

 

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The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right
Alex Ruani leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where she and her team make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for students. She is a Harvard-trained scientific researcher who specialises in cravings and appetite neurobiology, nutrition biochemistry, and nutrigenomics. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition science, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free Science Catch-ups every other Thursday.
Connect with Alex via email.


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63 Comments

  • Laura

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    Eye opening, I always thought that fresh vegetables were more nutritious, I can’t believe i was operating under an incorrect assumption. Thanks for the science links and extra PDFs, this is a nice doc for me to keep and go back to and yes i enjoy the format. Thank you!!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 8, 2015

      Laura – glad we could help, I’m also fascinated by the discoveries we make in our research work and love to share them! :-)

    • Joanne Kitching

      Reply Reply January 10, 2015

      Please share more, very interesting reading

  • Joni

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    Thank you for the information in this format. I love it! It’s clear, concise and easily digested by anyone. I’m sure I will find it helpful to use with my clients as well. Thanks again!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 8, 2015

      Joni – thanks so much for your kind feedback, I’m delighted to hear that! :-)

  • Marcia

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    I love these articles would love more of them! thanks for sending this to me

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 8, 2015

      Marcia – you’re so welcome, we love having you in our community :-)

  • Rozi Aulakh

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    I enjoyed this article immensely, please do continue to share the knowledge! Thank you

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 8, 2015

      Rozi – glad to hear that you enjoyed it! More science coming your way next Thursday :-)

  • Heather

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    Very good information! I have always wondered this myself…

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 8, 2015

      Heather – glad we could solve the mystery!

  • Amina

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    Thank you .. very informative.

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 8, 2015

      Amina – you’re welcome!

  • Narelle

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    Well there you go! Pays to check the facts doesn’t it! Thank you for this information, very eye opening and informative. The format is great. Thanks for sharing. Please do include me in future information, I really appreciate it.

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 8, 2015

      Narelle – we will! Thanks so much for your lovely feedback :-)

  • Alegra

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    Yes this format was fine and the content was great! It is always good to examine a topic in more detail. I guessed the answer was “It depends,” but I still like to know more precisely HOW it depends!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 8, 2015

      Alegra – brilliant play with words! HOW it depends (context) gives things a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? :-)

  • Ashleigh

    Reply Reply January 8, 2015

    I really liked this, I got the facts without having to struggle to understand it. Please send out more! Thank you! :)

  • Bhakti Mehta

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I always thought frozen veggies and fruits were highly processed with added preservatives and low on nutrients. Had never imagined they’d be almost equally nutritious as the so called ‘Fresh’ produce! :)

  • Jeanette

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Thanks for sharing this very valuable knowledge. The format works well. Great topic – I always thought about this topic and was keen to find out the truth.
    Looking forward to learning more from you.

  • Rehab

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Thank you so much for the informative article,this clears many of ours assumption that fresh vegetables are always healthier than frozen ones.Looking forward to more interesting articles from the research team.

  • Vivi

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Obviously growing your own vegetables is the best possible option! Spinach or spinach beet are easy to grow and you need very little space to provide a good supply of extra fresh greens. Other leaves such as ‘wild’ rocket can be grown in a large pot and leaves harvested daily for use in salads or cooked in omelets, stews, pasta dishes. Fresh herbs can also add vitamins and nutrients to food, something like parsley is easy to grow.

  • Nataly

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Dear Alex,

    Thank you for a great article. PDF format is perfect for storing information, and thus it is possible to re-read the article when the need to refresh the data.

  • Charis

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Concise & easily understood – love it! An eye opening for everyone in my household. Thanks for sharing x

  • deedee

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Really enjoyed this article, thank you for sharing, please share more. I look forward to reading the other articles mentioned.

  • Robert Scholten

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Interesting article if only in demonstrating that ‘fresh’ vegetables in supermarkets aren’t very fresh. The argument seems to me not whether fresh is better than frozen as the vegetables tested weren’t fresh. It would be interesting to test the theory with freshly harvested produce against frozen.
    After all, one study neither proves nor disproves a theory it just gives good reference points for further work.

  • Melody Gold

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Hello and thank you for this great piece! It’s a question my clients and I have often wondered about. I much prefer this format as I am obviously already used to reading this style of writing from you. I am looking forward to more content. Kind regards, Melody.

  • Nick

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    I was of the same opinion as a lot of other people, that fresh was always best….this is good info, thank you its great format too, would love more like this. I have steered clear of frozen fruit for quite a long time now because I found that once they defrosted they became rather soggy & bland, I assumed this was due to a higher water content??

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 9, 2015

      Thanks, Nick! The water crystals formed during freezing go through the plant cell walls, breaking the structure, almost like little knives, so when you defrost them, the plant shape may not be the same – and that’s why defrosted fruits tend to be soggy. I’m no chef, but if you blend them into a smoothie for example, you won’t notice that and palatability may even be improved :-)

  • Moira

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Yes really like the PDF format as then able to file away too. However, when I try to save the doc it is asking for the owner password – am I missing this please?

    • Geoff

      Reply Reply January 9, 2015

      Hi Moira, thanks for sharing your feedback! I wanted to let you know that if it doesn’t save from within your PDF viewer you could always file/save the PDF easily by right-clicking with your mouse on the orange “Download PDF now!” button and save the file. If you have any issues, feel free to reach out via http://help.thehealthsciencesacademy.org. Thanks!

  • Karen

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Dear Alex

    Thank you for sharing this information for free, its an interesting read.

    I do have one question though. Surely when the vegetables are blanched at a hot temperature this would kill any enzymes within the food? This would not be the case in fresh food that hasn’t been heated.

    • Hi Karen,

      In answer to your question, you are right that when enzymes are exposed to high temperatures they are destroyed. There is therefore some destruction of nutrients during the blanching process. However, this is kept to a minimum because blanching is an extremely quick process: the vegetables are only exposed to the heat for a few seconds before being immediately plummeted into freezing temperatures.

      Also, we must put this into context with other processes that foods will go through before they are eaten. Frozen vegetables are not intended to be eaten raw and, thus, the blanching process, despite destroying some nutrients initially, will preserve many more in the long-term because it destroys microbes on the surface of the food and thus prevents nutrients from decaying whilst the food is frozen. Fresh vegetables may indeed be eaten raw but, as outlined in the report, many of their nutrients are likely to have been degraded before they reach your plate. And, of course, most vegetables are cooked and so the nutrient content of fresh foods will also be reduced.

      It’s a case of taking everything into consideration and trying to look at the overall picture because there are many factors influencing the nutrient content of vegetables.

      Sophie (Research Analyst, The Health Sciences Academy)

    • Moira

      Reply Reply January 10, 2015

      Thanks Geoff – will give it a go!

  • Marie

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    I love the new ebook in pdf format as it means that I can read it on my Kindle. Great information! and I’d love more of them! :oD

  • Charlene

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Omg amazing, thank you very informative

  • Iwan Surya

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Thank you for the great information. It’s very surprising yet valuable. The format also works fine for me.

  • Shazia Hasnain

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    PDF format is excellent as well as the style of presenting scientific researching in a easy to understand formate . Thanks a lot.
    It is really helpful that you have provided the list of original research references that has helped to make the article more authentic .

  • Paul Matthews

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Thank you so much Alex a really brilliant article. It has cleared up a number of misconceptions that i have been working under and will greatly improve the information that I am giving to my clients. I love that you back everything up that you produce with clear research and science based evidence. I love the format and I would greatly appreciate you continuing with this format.

  • Vidas Cooling

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Dear Alex,
    I downloaded your last newsletter about Fresh vs Frozen Vegetables in PDF format. It looks great and I would suggest sharing other reports the same way. Thank you for an interesting research.
    All the best,
    Vidas

  • Sarah

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Interesting article , thanks!
    What about tinned fruit and veg, how good are they compared to frozen?

    • admin

      Reply Reply January 9, 2015

      Hi Sarah! Tinned/canned fruit and vegetables probably deserves its own space, we’ll consider it as a topic for a future article :) In the meantime, one thing to keep in mind is that canned fruit increases your mortality risk – the researchers speculate that it’s the sugar syrup in it. You can find the exact mortality stats in our free nutrition course: http://FreeNutritionCourse.org/ Thanks! Maria (Research Analyst)

      • Emma

        Reply Reply January 9, 2015

        Love this! I had the same question as Sarah but then saw that on page 26, bullet 4, there’s a link to a whole PDF devoted to compare canned vs frozen vs fresh. Amazing!

  • Joanna

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Thanks for the report. This format is great, very easy and convenient!

  • Karl

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for this! When I saw the document was 28 pages I was like, that’s a bit much! But then I saw the layout! Similar to the course notes! Very good, nicely, clearly laid out!

    Would be interested to see what else you have locked away! ;->

    Karl

  • Jessica

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Hi Alex,

    I love the format! I am about to read the article right now, thanks so much for sharing.

  • Lee Joss

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Great article and format – please keep them coming! Many thanks

  • cquen

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Nicely done on the format, good read

  • Laura Thompson

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    I found the report very interesting and very easy to understand. I would be interested in receiving further information.

  • Laura S

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Thanks so much for the continuous stream of info every Thursday!
    Please continue! I always look forward to the interesting things to learn in your this newsletter.

    Also wanted to mention the downloadable calender, so neat!

  • Mary Blackburn

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    Although I figured the answer was it depends. It’s nice to have something to show my client to back up what I am telling them.

    Thank you for this.

  • Alejandra

    Reply Reply January 9, 2015

    I found this article very interesting and eye opening.
    The format is also simple and easy to follow.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • Lisa Scott

    Reply Reply January 10, 2015

    Thank you for sharing this report, personally I found it very interesting and love the format. I have been buying fresh fruit and freezing it for putting in my nutribullet, but recently started buying frozen spinach as it is hard to always buy fresh and doesn’t last long in the fridge. Looking forward to more of your interesting articles in this format.

  • Claudine

    Reply Reply January 10, 2015

    Hi Alex,

    Thankyou for sharing this for free! and the format is great :)

  • Hanna

    Reply Reply January 10, 2015

    Great article, thank you for sharing the knowledge :) and please include me in the future!

  • Francesca

    Reply Reply January 11, 2015

    Alex,
    very good article. While everyone (including myself) is so concerned with buying Organic produce, we tend to forget that there is a lot more that may affect the vegetables and fruits that we eat. It is great that something is organic, but is it wholesome? Meaning how much of its nutrients were preseved between harvest to delivery to purchase? That is where your article and research is so useful and thought provoking.
    Also, I found very interesting the microwave link you offered. Still do not love it, but what the article pointed out made sense.
    Thank you,
    Francesca

  • cheri

    Reply Reply January 11, 2015

    Thanks for the link :)
    I always tht fresh was better then frozen. Best advice yet i reckon. Heaps of information which is easy to read and understand.

  • Danny

    Reply Reply January 12, 2015

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks for the article. I was aware of the effects storage can have on fruits and veg and have always tried to buy as local as possible. we forget at times that during storage the produce is compacted and the tempature in the room will regularly fluctuate and effect the nutritious value of the product. What I didnt know was, how good at times the frozen alternative can be. I always just considered frozen veg in the same light as frozen anything really. I assumed it must be processed in some element and couldnt possibly be as good as the fresh alternative. Interesting article and the other attachments where a good read.
    Thanks
    Danny

  • Hajar

    Reply Reply January 13, 2015

    Hi, thank you for the article! I never buy frozen vegetables…I was allways sure, that they are not good. But I’m freezing my oun vegies from my garden, and I never blanch them, just freez them as they are fresh, I’m doing this with:peas, mushroms from the forest, netles(I blanch it), Spinache, zukini, and even cucumber:))). This way some of them like cucumbers, peas..can be eaten row after unfreezing:))).

  • poing

    Reply Reply January 13, 2015

    What happens to the fibre content of frozen veggies though? The texture is often quite different from fresh, so something must be going on.

    • admin

      Reply Reply January 13, 2015

      Hi Poing! Alex answered this same question (from Nick) in these comments above, as follows: “Thanks, Nick! The water crystals formed during freezing go through the plant cell walls, breaking the structure, almost like little knives, so when you defrost them, the plant shape may not be the same – and that’s why defrosted fruits tend to be soggy. I’m no chef, but if you blend them into a smoothie for example, you won’t notice that and palatability may even be improved :-)” Hope this helps! Maria

  • Sue

    Reply Reply January 13, 2015

    I love that your info delves into the science, and not just the theory. I also really appreciate the additional article links because I do tend to geek out and look to go deeper, so having the resources in-hand to do that is much appreciated!

  • Michelle

    Reply Reply January 14, 2015

    Great report thanks I found it very interesting. The format is great and I’m looking forward to receiving many more thanks

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