One of the problems associated with eating dried fruits, such as prunes and raisins, is that one underestimates the total amount of calories consumed. For instance, the calories in prunes are more than expected, as one is consuming the same amount of food as if eating the untreated fruit. However, as the dried version has been drained of water, it is therefore smaller and does not seem as high in calories. This is a misconception, as the amount of calories in, for example, raisins is the same as in grapes. Yet one would never consume the same amount of grapes as raisins, due to their larger size.
It is this ‘density’ in calories that tricks the stomach into not feeling full, despite actually having consumed a significant amount of nutrition. It is this same phenomenon that renders prunes and raisins dangerous foods to snack on. It is quite easy to consume an entire packet of raisins and not feel satiated.
The calories in dried prunes vary according to type. However, a commonly accepted value is approximately 240 kcal per 100g. The standard serving quantity is taken to be around 50g, which corresponds to about six prunes of average weight. One aspect of prunes nutrition that is often omitted in dietary guides is the fact that they act as a reasonably powerful laxative. Therefore, it is quite possible that the calories gained through the prunes themselves, are compensated by the effective increase in metabolic rate.
If this laxative effect is the only effect desired, then one popular way of reducing the amount of calories is to consume only prune juice. This is achieved by soaking prunes in water for a few hours in order to drain the fruit of its juice. This will achieve a good result, whilst cutting out the calories contained in the meat of the prunes.
Experts on nutrition recommend not consuming more than three or four prunes on any given day. More important than quantity, is the regularity with which one eats them. This will optimise their positive dietary attributes, whilst minimizing any discomfort caused by over consumption.