Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It breaks down in our body to become a source of energy. There are two categories of sugar found in foods. One is naturally occurring sugar like sugar in fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). The other is added sugar that has been added to foods like baked goods and soda. When high doses of these types of added sugars are eaten, it can lead to weight gain and poorly controlled blood sugar levels.
Is it a rational and healthy choice to reduce your sugar intake by eating less fruit? Though naturally occurring and added sugar are both purely carbohydrates, the food sources in which they are found would affect the health impact they have on your body.
Whole fruits, such as an orange, contain fiber that most fruit juices lack. Fiber promotes fullness and keeps you from overeating. Your body breaks down the cells of oranges before the sugar can be released, so the sugar is absorbed into the blood more slowly. Eating fruit would raise your blood sugar levels, but in a slow and controlled manner, which is ideal for your health. On the other hand, although orange juice also offers nutrients like vitamin C, it would raise your blood sugar more quickly due to the lack or absence of fiber in it. The blood sugar “crash” after consuming fruit juice would make you feel hungry again very soon.
It is important to take all things that the food could offer into consideration instead of using one or two things to judge if the food is healthy or not. By consciously choosing more nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, you will get the beneficial nutrients your body needs without over consuming foods that might not make you feel fully satisfied and full. Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are underconsumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate, to name a few. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for some chronic diseases such as heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes or have a fruit allergy, enjoy your fruits as you wish!