One of the things I get asked a lot is about sugar in fruit so I thought I would write a blog explaining fruit and its sugar…
Most of the sugar found in fruit is fructose which is processed by the liver the same as the refined sugar found in junk food. Even though fruit does contain sugar it is usually far less than a chocolate bar, cake and biscuits. There is no nutritional need for any of these things in our diet, unlike fruit which contains other nutrients essential to the body such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and water. The fibre is important for helping us to feel full meaning we are less likely to keep snacking. It also helps us to absorb the sugar in fruit more slowly.
Fruit is best when in its natural form. When juiced it becomes concentrated with sugar and is absorbed by the body far more quickly. The fibre is removed meaning you do not get the same feeling of fullness and to get a small glass of juice you are likely to have a lot more of it than if it was whole. Fruit juice should be limited to 150mls a day. It is currently counted as 1 of our 5 a day but this is under review due to its high sugar content. Blending fruit is better than juicing as its pulp and skin is retained.
Adding fats and vegetables to the juice helps to slow the absorption of sugar. Why not give one of these green smoothies a try… I quit sugar- Green goddess smoothie, The body coach- go go go green smoothie, Clean eating Alice- Super green smoothie.
Dried fruit has had all the water removed but like with juice they become concentrated with sugar as the quantity you are likely to eat in comparison to a whole piece of fruit increases. They can be a good source of fibre but should be limited to 30g a day. They are great for replacing refined sugar in your baking and sweet treats.
The world health organisation class dried fruit, juice and also honey and other syrups as “free sugars”. This means they fit into the recommended daily allowance. See my blog The truth about sugar
We can easily absorb and utilise the equivalent of 2 pieces of fruit a day. This is not to say you shouldn’t have more but we are far better consuming more vegetables than we are fruit or choose fruits naturally lower in sugar like berries, green apples and kiwis.
Grapes, bananas, oranges and tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple are the highest sugar containing fruits and boy they are delicious. Do not avoid them as they are a far better sweet treat than sweet baked goods but just be mindful they are higher in calories than the lower sugar fruits so should be eaten with in a healthy balanced diet.
I quit Sugar have a great fruit pyramid highlighting the fruits to eat in abundance and the ones to eat sparingly. Check their website out to get the low down on their view of fruit and sugar.
I hope this has cleared things up. So in summary fruit is a delicious replacement to sweet treats. Best enjoyed in its natural form or as part of a smoothie packed full of vegetables, nuts and seeds. Have it alongside a fat or protein when eating it as a snack such as cheese, yogurt or nut butters or as part of a meal in your breakfast and salads.