Another recent fad – ditching fruit because it is now believed that fructose is harmful to our health. However following this recommendation will only deprive your body of beneficial nutrition and a healthy snack.
‘Experts fear mixed messages coming via social media from people untrained to dish out health advice could be giving fruit a bad name.
So is the sugar contained in fruit bad, should it be avoided and are certain varieties better than others?
The answer is no, according to Nutrition Australia Victorian executive officer Lucinda Hancock.
“The sugar which occurs in fruits is naturally occurring, it’s not an added sugar and that’s important because it gives us the energy which we need,” she said ’
People are concerned about fructose and so fruit gets the blame. However, 50% of your common table sugar (sucrose) is fructose. It is this added form of fructose that we need to be concerned about and this is where the vast majority of our fructose consumption is coming from – certainly not fruit. When found naturally in fruit the other nutrients present, such as fibre, assist in its slow digestion.
‘“In addition to that is the fact that fruit is very high in vitamin C, a source of vitamin A, a really good source of fibre and very high in antioxidants.
“These nutrients are really, really important in order to be healthy and to prevent risk of heart disease and stroke and other unhealthy eating behaviour problems.”
A diet containing a wide variety of food, including the recommended two serves of fruit a day, is vital for weight management and health, Ms Hancock says.
But just over half of Australians (54%) eat enough to meet the recommended serves, according to the Australian Health Survey released last year .’
As pointed out above, most Australians are not even consuming 2 pieces of fruit per day. This shows that there are bigger issues to worry about that the natural sugar found in fruit. It also indicates that fruit is not likely the issue.
‘“We’re consuming way too much processed food which has all the added sugar.
“We need to be focusing on reducing our consumption of processed foods and eating less processed foods, and more fruit, to get all the benefits as well as energy.”
“The key message is that we should be consuming two pieces of fruit and looking at whatever’s in season at the time because then that would be of a cost benefit too.
“They are all packed with nutrients that are vital to our health ”’
Unfortunately the negative information we have been receiving about fruit is unsupported and coming from individuals without the appropriate qualifications. This is understandably confusing for many individuals.
Ms Hancock said it is concerning that information about the nutritional benefits of fruit is being drowned out by diet recommendations that are not based on evidence.
“There’s so much information available and I think there’s a lot of mixed messages too and I think that causes a little bit of confusion .’
For more information about some of the many benefits fruit provides, visit the Herald Sun for the original article.