Sugar in fruit is a hot topic at the moment. Fruit has gotten plenty of bad press recently because “the sugar in fruit” is high. People find this very confusing because fruit is suppose to be healthy for us and should be included as part of a healthy balanced diet.
Firstly, sugar is a carbohydrate and therefore provides a source of energy. Like all carbohydrates sugar is broken down by the body into simple sugars such as glucose. This means that it can be readily used by the body for fuel.
There are different forms of sugar including white, raw or brown sugar, honey or corn syrup. There are also different types of sugar such as:
- Glucose – occurs naturally in fruits
- Fructose – occurs naturally in fruits, some root vegetables, cane sugar and honey
- Lactose – the naturally occurring sugar found in milk
Why is sugar considered “bad”?
As stated before sugar is a type of carbohydrate and therefore contributes energy to our diets. Consuming a diet high in sugar, particularly where the overall energy intake from the diet is greater than the amount being expended, can contribute to health problems like obesity. This is largely due to the fact that people will consume sugary foods in place of more nutritious foods and therefore consume lots of “empty of calories”. These therefore are the foods that people need to watch out for and reduce and include things like:
- Sweet biscuits
- Sugary breakfast cereals
- Soft drink
What about sugar in fruit?
Yes fruit contains sugar; however, it also contains many vitamins and minerals that are required by the body. Fruit is also high in fibre, which can help to fill people up and keep them feeling fuller for longer. It also has the added bonus of no fat, making it a healthier choice than other snack foods. For example look at the difference in energy between 100g of chocolate and 100g of blueberries:
*Values obtained from Calorie King
Whilst no-one will dispute that fruit is a healthier snack than chocolate (especially when you look at those numbers above!) the confusing part about fruit comes when people talk about the fructose in fruit. There are many advocates stating that fructose is bad, however they do agree on one thing: 2 pieces of fruit each day is ok.
Two pieces of fruit each day is what is currently recommended in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating as part of a healthy balanced diet.
For people who suffer from IBS, or other conditions, some fruits which are higher in fructose can exacerbate symptoms. However for the general healthy population, the fructose in 2 pieces of fruit is nothing to fear!
Summing it up…sugar in fruit good or bad
There are many sources of sugar in the diet. Two pieces of fruit each day as part of a healthy balanced diet is good. This also provides essential vitamins and minerals. Its not the sugar in fruit but the added sugars in foods that are a problem and should be reduced.
For more information about sugar in fruit or for nutritionist advice, contact the ENT Clinic on 1300 123 368 and make an appointment with our dietitian Rhiannon Welsh.