Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: The Sugar In Fruit And Table Sugar Are Basically The Same?

TheBUZZ: The sugar in fruit and table sugar are basically the same?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Fruits are composed mainly of sugar, making them a less healthy choice.

WHAT WE KNOW

Peaches, plums, berries, melons are all at their juicy peak! Despite the smorgasbord of flavors and colors offered by summer’s fruits, many people pass them by in fear of their sugar/carbohydrate content. What many people do not know is that there is a huge difference between naturally occurring sugar found in fruits, dairy, and other foods and added sugars.

The primary sugar in fruit is fructose, which some refer to as fruit sugar. Fruits contain water, fiber and other beneficial nutrients, making them an optimal choice to include in a balanced and healthy eating regimen. Purified forms of sugar — including table sugar, honey, and high fructose corn syrup — consumed as added sugar to soda, candy, and sweetened baked goods should be consumed in moderation. Too much added sugar can contribute to weak bones, obesity, fatigue, lack of concentration and tooth decay.

Researchers are learning that Mother Nature put more thought and chemistry into her fruits than just sweetness. Many fruits contain phenols, a form of antioxidants that offers many health benefits including protection from heart disease, cancer, and other damaging effects of free radicals in the body. Added sugars certainly do not provide this benefit. In addition, the benefit seems to be derived from eating the fruit, not a mixture of added sugars and phenols. Read More about Free Radicals

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

Strawberries, for example, were recently found to help with glucose metabolism and the reduction of increases in blood lipid levels after meals. This research study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition supported the role of phenols in strawberries in decreasing the oxidation of fatty acids that could cause a build up of plaque in the arteries.¹

It’s not just strawberries that contain these phenols that protect the body from many of the leading causes of death, but most fruits do as well! Stone fruits including peaches, plums, apricots, and pluots are also high in phenols. For example, a study published in Molecules found that apricots have 15 different phenol varieties.²

OUR ADVICE

Yes, fruits contain sugar, but this sugar is different from added sugar! Added sugar lacks the multiple health promoting qualities of fruits provided by phenols, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

When it comes to reducing sugar intake, your goal should be to limit foods that have corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey, dextrose, molasses, malt syrup, glucose, fructose, lactose and maltose listed as ingredients.

The antioxidant quality of fruits and vegetables is just one of the many ways fruits and vegetables are protective to your health. Consuming a diet that meets your daily recommendation for fruits and vegetables and getting adequate exercise is a great way to give your body a strong defense against cancer and other diseases. While some cancers and diseases are not preventable, eating your fruits and vegetables helps remove those free radicals that can damage tissues in your body and contribute to many of the leading causes of death.

 

² Sochor J, O. Zitka, H. Skutkova, et al. “Content of Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Capacity in Fruits of Apricot Genotypes.” Molecules (2010); 15(9); 6285-305.

 

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