The Dietitian

Is Fruit the Same as “Sugar”?

FruitWelcome Spring! All of a sudden the stores are chock-full of beautiful super-tasty, affordable fruit. Cherries are my fav, followed closely by berries and pineapples. Here in Florida, people sell the most gorgeous sweet peaches on the sides of the road. Biting into a juicy nectarine or bright pink watermelon slice makes me think of childhood summer days by the pool. But, wait… is fruit even healthy??

Thank goodness the answer is a resounding YES! Sure, fruit has sugar in it, but it also has an abundance of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants to keep you healthy and fight off diseases. The type of sugar in fruit is slower to digest than others and whole fruits also have fiber to lower the glycemic load even more.

Studies demonstrate that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables live longer, healthier lives.  One recent study by the School of Public Heath at Imperial College in London showed that eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables substantially reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death.  Another Harvard study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that fruits like apples, pears, oranges and berries may help with weight control due to their high flavonoid content.

If you are Diabetic or are simply very concerned about sugar consumption, you can limit yourself to one serving of fruit every few hours. And, skip the fruit juice- losing the fiber is a big hit in the glycemic world.

A typical serving of fruit has about 80 calories- perfect for a snack or to accompany a meal. It also serves as a nice, sweet replacement for a high calorie, simple-sugar dessert. So, get out there and find some fruit to love! 🍒

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