Sugar is bad, so I shouldn’t eat fruits?


You have likely heard volumes of information about sugar as it relates to health. It’s pretty common knowledge that refined sugar—such as the sugar found in sodas, candy, chips and cereal—is bad for you. This added sugar can be very harmful and cause weight gain and could potentially lead to more serious things like diabetes if left unchecked.


“What about fruits?”

 

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Some have said to avoid fruits, since they are high in sugar. However, just like cholesterol, there are good and bad kinds of sugar. Fruits are whole foods, so they are full of natural sugars, in addition to the vitamins and minerals that are packed into every orange, apple, grape, banana, etc.


The debate about whether fruit is good or bad for you still goes on, but most research points to fruits being largely beneficial even when it comes to sugar intake. The sugar contained within fruit is naturally occurring, so although fruits are high in sugar, they are not likely to cause any harm. This doesn’t mean that fruits are incapable of making you fat; that’s a case for energy balance, not food source.


Also, understand that whole, raw fruits are not to be confused with fruit snacks, fruit gummies, fruit concentrates, fruit juices or dried fruits. Whole, raw fruits are unprocessed and contain all the vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, while processed fruits do not, or contain less.


Fruits are Nutritious

 

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It is understandable why some would cringe at the mention of fruit. Take an apple for example. If you knew beforehand that an apple had just over 20 grams of sugar in it, you might think twice about eating an apple ever again. That is a lot of sugar to be consumed in one sitting, but you must remember that it is naturally occurring sugar, not added sugar or artificial sweeteners.


The type of sugar also matters. Over half of the sugar in said apple is fructose, and you could end up with too much in your system, causing it to be harmful to you. The other side of that coin is this: it would be physically impossible to eat enough apples to take in enough sugar to get a harmful amount of fructose.


Also, not all fruit sugar is fructose. Some fruits have a mix of both fructose and glucose, both of which are processed a little differently by the body.


The Verdict on Fruit

 

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If you look at the research done on refined sugar, fruit, and other types of sugar, the evidence is pretty overwhelming. Although whole fruits have a high amount of sugar, the fact that it’s natural and digests slowly tells us that there is no harm in eating fruits. You get the sugar, but you also get vital nutrients to help your body in a variety of ways. The dietary fiber slows down digestion and plays a big impact in the glycemic index/load of the fruit, so the key to consuming fruit is not in cutting it out of your diet completely, but knowing when and which fruits are best consumed in accordance to your goals.