The pervasiveness of added sugar in our diets is linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. But in the epic rush to avoid sugar, many health-conscious consumers and low-carb dieters are starting to avoid eating fruits because it contains natural sugar. Despite containing sugar, fruits are a part of a healthy diet when eaten in the right portions.
Is the sugar in fruit the same as added sugar?
Superficially, it could make sense; if you were to look at certain fruits’ nutrition labels, they may boast over 20 grams of sugar.
But this sugar isn’t the same as the kind that’s used in candy bars and ice cream. Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition, and New York City-based celebrity dietitian and fitness expert, weighs in: “It’s key to look at added sugars differently than sugar in fruit.”
“In fruit, we’re getting so much more nutrition [compared to refined sugar],” she adds. Fruit also comes with free-radical-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, water, and fiber. This total package is what makes eating fruit so good for you.
Is fruit sugar good for you?
Countless studies have found that increased fruit consumption, regardless of the fruit’s sugar content, is tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases.
Experts believe it’s because when you eat whole fruits, you’re also getting plenty of fiber. And this fiber helps you feel full while slowing the digestion of the fruit’s sugar (which keeps your blood sugar from spiking).
On the other hand, refined sugars are just empty carbs that lack these healthy nutrients, which is the reason why they’re metabolized quickly, lack the ability to make you feel full, and contribute to weight gain.
Is too much fruit sugar bad for you?