A comment I often get from new clients is that they are afraid to eat fruit because it has too much sugar. Today I want to take a few minutes to address the whole fruit has too much sugar
issue once and for all.
There are natural sugars such as lactose (milk sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar) and then there are added sugars. Before we go any further, it is important to explain that the body processes all sugars in the same way. So don't get sucked into believing that a dessert sweetened with coconut or raw sugar is any lower in sugar or healthier than a similar dessert sweetened with table sugar. Honey, date sugar, maple syrup, coconut sugar, agave, high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar are all examples of sugars that are commonly used in cooking.
An average piece of fruit contains about 15-20 grams of NATURAL sugar. In comparison, an average can of soda contains about 39 grams of ADDED sugar. Keep in mind that the piece of fruit also contains fiber (great for gut health), vitamins and chronic disease fighting antioxidants, while the soda contains carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup (sugar), caramel color, caffeine etc...
The naturally occurring FIBER in fruit, in addition to benefiting gut health, also has the advantage of slowing down how quickly natural sugars are digested and consequently these sugars have less of an impact on blood sugar. In comparison, processed and added sugars have an immediate impact on blood sugar which can result in fluctuations that lead to hunger, cravings and diminished energy.
Am I saying that we should never have sugar sweetened foods or drinks? No. My point is that there is no need to fear fruit. Research indicates that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help decrease the risk of many chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Is there such a thing as too much fruit? You can eat too much of anything! First and foremost, I usually recommend pairing a fruit with either a protein or healthy fat, to help keep you full. An apple and a cheese stick or handful of almonds will help keep the belly full longer than the apple alone because they contain protein and fat. If you notice an increase in gas and/or bloating when you eat too much fruit, maybe cut back and see if that helps. In general, I recommend 1-3 servings of colorful fruit per day.
It is very important to get your nutrition information from a qualified professional and not believe everything you read or hear. Now go cut yourself up a juicy slice of watermelon!!
To your health,