If you’ve read any of the recent health headlines, you’ll know that sugar is on the hit list for health professionals, and rightfully so. Most of the foods we eat today are loaded with added sugars that do nothing but spike our blood glucose levels, and cause all sorts of health related issues.
But with the recent concerns about sugar, some have begun to lump fruit into the same category as cookies and cakes. Yes, it’s true that fruit contains sugar, but is it as deadly as the type that’s found in processed foods, and if not, how is it different?
Let’s take a closer look at fruit and sugar, and see if there’s any real cause for concern, or if this is another case putting both the good and bad apples in one barrel.
Not the Same Type of Sugar as Baked
Fruit does not contain the same types of sugar as a cookie or a soda. This alone makes a huge difference in your overall health. Natural sugars break down much slower than refined sugar, and does not have a negative effect on the liver or blood glucose levels.
Processed sugars, on the other hand, are quickly absorbed by the body and cause an immediate spike in glucose levels. The glucose is then used for energy, or if not burned, the body stores it as fat. This is the main difference between sugars from fruit, and sugar from common processed foods.
Serving Size Matters
When it comes to determining if fruit can make you fat, you have to consider the serving size. Consuming too much of anything is not good, especially if you don’t have the activity level to maintain or decrease your weight. However, you would need to consume a significantly higher amount of fruit than you would cookies or pop to become obese, or even overweight. Also, natural fruits are much more satisfying than processed foods, which can help you to eat less.
Fiber and Water Content
Here’s another reason why fruit is safe for weight loss; most fruit is high in fiber and water content, which leaves you feeling fuller longer. Compare that to drinking a soda, or eating a cookie; 10 or 15 minutes later you’re hungry again and ready for another. Studies have found that processed sugar is highly addictive, and leaves most people wanting more. This is one main cause for weight gain, and a problem in both adults and children.
Fruits with Higher Sugar Levels
If you’re still on the fence about fruit being the main culprit for your weight gain, you can eliminate some of the fruits with the highest sugar content from your diet. These includes mangos, grapes, pears, and pineapples.
Again, the main reason why you would gain weight from eating these fruits is if you’re not active enough to burn the calories. In that case, eating salad could even cause you to gain weight if you never move around. But, eliminating some of these from your diet should help in terms of cutting calories and shedding the pounds.
The bottom line is that fruit is healthier for you than any other sweet foods. Your body knows exactly how to process natural fructose, and fruit is lower in calories than baked goods and sodas. Of course, if you eat too much of anything you could gain weight, but the calories in fruit compared to other types of processed foods is noticeably lower. So, you should feel safe eating that banana, or having that second handful of strawberries. Your body can burn it off naturally, and it won’t cause you to become overweight.