“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
How many times have we heard that phrase? Personally, I love fruits and veggies; even more as an adult than I did as a kid. Since giving up sugar earlier this year, I’ve replaced “dessert” with fruit.
Fruit is full of sugar. And sugar is bad, right? Let’s look at the evidence:
All of the sugar in this Bolthouse Farms juice comes from fruit – there isn’t any added sugar. Now, let’s look at an apple:
Is Fruit Sugar Healthy?
Again, natural sugar but still, how does this affect my “no sugar” lifestyle? The answer? One is pure fruit sugar, liquefied and poured down the hatch. The other? It contains fiber, requires chewing and passes through the digestive tract at a much slower pace.
The juiced version of a fruit is quickly absorbed, flooding your system with fructose; a whole piece of fruit takes time to break down, requires chewing and contains fiber. As a result, the amount of sugar that goes into your system at one time is limited. Fruit plays a role in satiety; it can help us feel fuller because, unlike processed foods that are digested early in the intestines, fiber rich fruit breaks down more slowly. The increased digestion time triggers satiety hormones which live further down in your small intestine.
This isn’t a green light to replace every meal with fruit. Sugar is still sugar. If you’ve cut out all added sugars, then consider yourself able to adequately process fruit sugar. If you’re still eating refined sugar, fruit is just fueling your sugar addiction.
Dr. David S. Ludwig breaks it down like this:
The available evidence suggests 3 key points. First, fructose in its primary natural form (whole fruit) is not associated with adverse effects up to the limits of human consumption. Second, excessive intake of refined sugar plays a significant role in the epidemics of obesity and related diseases, in part because large amounts of rapidly absorbed fructose can overwhelm hepatic biochemical pathways. Third, rapidly absorbed forms of glucose…contribute importantly to these diseases, especially considering their much greater caloric contribution to typical diets than fructose.
The take away:
Avoid refined sugars
Eat whole fruits
Skip the juice and blend the whole fruit instead
Eat the rainbow to get the most benefit from fruits and vegetables
Your turn: what is your favorite fruit? Have you given up sugar yet? Can you believe that one Bolthouse Juice has that much sugar in it?
If you want to learn more about how different types of sugar are metabolized, read this.