The Truth About Fruit Sugar
By Kat Gal
There are more and more documentaries, videos, books and articles popping up about sugar. It’s nothing new, really. We KNOW that sugar is not good for us.
Educating people about the harmful effects of processed foods that are full of sugar and artificial sweeteners, helping everyone to reduce their Twinkie, cookie and candy bar consumption, recognize hidden sugars and turn their diet into a healthier one full of organic, real, whole foods is certainly important. However, it also seems to be creating a complete sugar phobia where people are avoiding anything sweet.
While reading articles about the harmful effects of sugar on your health, have you ever questioned whether or not fruits were unhealthy too?
Are fruits actually harmful to our health? Is fruit sugar dangerous?
Simply put: no, they’re not. But let’s dig deeper. Let’s learn more about sugar and how fruit sugar is different.
Fruit has three kind of sugars: fructose, glucose and sucrose. Fructose and glucose are monosaccharides that are the basic building blocks of carbohydrates. Sucrose is composed of two monosaccharides, making it a disaccharide. A sucrose molecule is composed of one fructose and one glucose molecule.
The total number of sugar in any fruit is the sum of the fructose, glucose and sucrose in the fruit. 3 oz of grapes has 12 grams of sugar, breaking it down to 8 grams of fructose, 7 grams of glucose and zero grams of sucrose. 3 oz of apple has 10 grams of sugar, breaking it down to 6 grams of fructose, 2 grams of glucose and 2 grams of sucrose.
Out of fructose, glucose and sucrose, fructose seems to concern most people. Fructose is almost identical to glucose, but it is metabolized by the liver, which concerns some researches that it would lead to insulin resistance and/or weight gain.
But according to the Journal of American Medical Association, increased levels of fruit consumption is actually correlated with lower body weight and lower risk of obesity-related illnesses. The reason for this is fiber.
Fruit is not a stand-alone source of pure fructose and eating fruit is different from consuming a tablespoon of sugar or sucking on candy. The fiber in the fruit actually slows down the absorption of sugar in the body, slowing the effects of the sugar, helping you feel satiated and even improves the diversity of your gut microbiome.
The idea of eating too much fruit is typically not a concern for most people, simply because most of the population actually does not eat enough fruit. The recommended minimum intake is 1.5 – 2 cups daily – that is only met by less than 13% of the population. This is only 2 pieces of fruit, yet so many don’t even get that amount in.
Fruits have amazing benefits. They are full of vitamins and minerals, keeping you healthy. Juicy fruits are full of water, keeping you hydrated. Fruits are a great source of fiber, keeping your digestive system strong.
Is it possible to eat too much fruit? Possibly, but it’s not likely given the stats on overall consumption. There are even groups of raw food vegans who live only or mainly on fruits – this is called a fruitarian diet – as well as high-carb low-fat vegans and natural hygienists – with plenty of people thriving on this lifestyle.
Now, do you have to go to this extreme? Absolutely not, but don’t be afraid to get your minimal requirement in and then some. Pay attention to your body signals and find out how much fruit is optimal for your health. If you have digestive issues, pay attention to food combining and eat fruits on an empty stomach a few hours after eating anything else. Of course, if you have diabetes or prediabetes and are still concerned with fruit sugar, consult your health professional.
When choosing fruit, it’s best to opt for lower glycemic options like dark berries and green apples. That’s not to say that the other super nutritious options aren’t also stellar! Find the right ones that work for you and your lifestyle and go from there. Remember, each person is different.
Kat Gál is a holistic health writer who helps health, wellness, and nutrition businesses to market their products and services through quality online content. She is also a freelance writing mentor teaching wanna-be-freelancers how to make a living writing at freelancewriterschool.com. Reach out if you are looking for amazing blog content at firstname.lastname@example.org or katgalwriter.com. Visit freelancewriterschool.com for freelance writing tips. Follow me on Instagram @freelancewriterschool and on Facebook at facebook.com/katgalwriter.
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