Should You Be Avoiding Fruit Sugar?
Written by: Brandi Monasco
We all know that eating fruit is healthy for you and is an essential part of maintaining an overall well-balanced diet. Fruits are good sources of fiber, vitamins and nutrients. The USDA recommends that you eat about 2 cups or 9 servings of fruit each day.
Recently, however, I have noticed that many people have been avoiding fruit due to the idea that the sugar in fruit is just as bad as refined and processed sugar.
While there is a limit to the sugar you should get from fruit, it is NOT the same as eating a spoonful of refined sugar. When eaten in moderation, the sugar content in fruit is not harmful to your body.
It is a fact that the average American eats too much sugar (about 60 pounds a year!). According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily amount of sugar is:
- Men: About 150 calories, or 9 teaspoons of sugar a day.
- Women: About 100 calories, or 6 teaspoons of sugar.
If the average American eats 60 pounds of sugar a year, that boils down to:
- 96 teaspoons in 1 pound
- 96 teaspoons x 60 pounds = 5,760 teaspoons per year
- 5,760 teaspoons divided by 365 days = 15.78 teaspoons of sugar per day
To put this into perspective, a 12oz can of regular coke contains 9 ⅓ teaspoons of sugar.
That’s a lot of sugar!
The type of sugar that I am referring to is refined or “added” sugar: sugar or sweetener that you find in cookies, ice cream, sweetened yogurts and lots of other foods on the grocery store shelves. There are no added nutrients and no health benefits in this type of sugar. It does nothing but cause cavities and make you gain weight, increasing your risk for chronic illnesses and harming your heart health.
This list of sugar includes:
- Maltose or sucrose
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn sweetener
THIS is the sugar that you want to make sure is limited in your diet.
Now, what about the sugar in fruit?
When it comes to fruit, yes, it does contain sugar, but THIS type of sugar is natural sugar. According to the American Heart Association, “Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose).”
Your body doesn’t absorb natural sugars like it does refined sugar, which makes it lower on the glycemic index. Food with a high glycemic index raises blood glucose and makes your sugar spike, giving you more of a risk of developing diseases such as diabetes.
In an article found in The Journal of the American Medical Association, it states that, “increased fruit consumption is tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases.”
This is because fruit also contains antioxidants, nutrients and fiber that your body requires to keep going. The natural sugar in fruit is more like a compliment to these delicious health factors.
Sure, there is sugar found in fruit, but it is not the same as “added” sugar. Remember that “added” simply means that: it is added. Not real. Not natural. While it is still important to not overindulge in fruit, it is healthier and better for you to eat rather than eating a few cookies.
How do you include fruits in your own diet? Do you use them in your juices and/or smoothies? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments below!
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Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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