Slurping on soda after the gym? Downing a donut in between sets? We sure hope not… but JIC, we’re clearing the air about why these sugars are bad for you and fruit is A-OK.
Pick up a peach or peel open an orange, because we’re setting the record straight: The sugar in fruit is not bad for you.
Why Do Some People Think Fruit Is Bad for You?
Since we all know that we should avoid too much sugar, many people have taken it out on fruit, as well, because fruit contains sugar. Because we know that added sugars are bad, many just assume the same must apply to fruits—because fruit contains fructose—but, they’d be wrong!
Some studies reveal that fructose may be the most harmful type of sugar for your body and its metabolism, but not when consumed in moderation. Fructose is only harmful in large amounts, and it is almost impossible to consume too much fructose by eating fruit.
Think about the different types of sugar: Glucose occurs naturally in our bodies, running through our veins as nature intended, but fructose is not natural to our bodies and doesn’t metabolize the same way as glucose. This is what can make it bad for us. But, the main reason it’s bad for us is because so many of us overdo it: candy, soda, fast food, processed food—it’s everywhere. And the negative metabolic effects of fructose occur when it’s consumed in large amounts.
Most Fruits Are Loaded with Vitamins
Let’s not give fruit a bad rap, people. It’s not just about the fructose. Fruits are packed with nutrients that are great for our bodies and promote a healthy heart, skin, and lifestyle. You’ll find fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients. These fellas all benefit our bodies in very significant ways. Think about it: Don’t you feel better after eating a banana than you do after polishing off a pizza? Fruit can also help with cholesterol levels, fight diabetes, and even contribute to weight loss. You cannot say that about a donut!
Look at it this way: Fruit is its own food group and there are literally thousands of different fruits that grow naturally around the world (even if you can’t name them all). But, not all fruits are created equal. The nutritional value of different fruits can vary, so focus on fruits packed plentiful with vitamins and minerals.
(Don’t) Drink Your Juice, Shelby!
While we’re discussing the greatness that is the whole fruit, we must address the juice in the room. Even though whole fruits are super healthy for most, its juice offspring cannot say the same. Lots of so-called fruit juices out there aren’t even real fruit juices, so read your labels. Many juices on supermarket shelves are a mixture of water, a fruit concentrate, and bottle full of added sugar.
Even 100% real fruit juice can still be bad choice because the fructose cannot be metabolized as quickly because you’re not chewing on a piece of fruit. Smoothies are somewhere in the middle on the “good vs. bad” spectrum when it comes to sugar content. Placing whole fruit in a blender and dicing it up is much better than drinking fruit juice, but it’s not as good as eating a whole fruit, because blended fruit is not chewed like whole fruit, giving your body time to digest.
The lesson here is you still need to listen what your mother has always told you: Eat more fruits and vegetables! Fruit is an important part of a healthy, well-rounded diet that should include protein and plants (yes, those are your veggies!).