Think for a minute if you’ve ever heard anyone tell you “you shouldn’t eat fruit, it has too much sugar”. This may not have been directly said to you but it’s apparent in the media and in some fad diets. In my years managing a health food store, I would regularly speak with customers concerned fruit was bad for them and the sugar would make them fat. Why did they think this? Our conversations would go something like this.
Yes, fruit has sugar but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not a refined sugar that you would find in sodas and packaged foods. This refined sugar would be sucrose which is your common table sugar. I want to keep this very basic and not bore you with science so I will quickly say sugar (a simple carbohydrate) breaks down in our body into glucose. Our bodies need glucose! It keeps our muscles moving and our brain going not to mention a ton of other functions. So, based on what I just said, you get energy from sucrose which you can find in sodas. Yes, but this does not mean you should get your glucose from table sugar as it is devoid of nutrients. In fact, you should do your best to limit your intake of refined sugar.
The other problem with white table sugar is that it’s everywhere! It’s very easy to consume extra sugars when it’s added and found in fast foods, sodas, cakes and pastry and candy. Yes, OK, this list seems obvious but there’s a lot of foods we assume are healthy that have added sugars.
- Granola and granola bars
- Jams and other spreads
Keep in mind, there’s better versions of the list above if you take a look at the nutrition label when you make your decisions in the grocery store. See my post here on how to read nutrition labels.
OK, now back to Fruit. Fruit contains fibre and water and is rich in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Strawberries are high in Vitamin C and avocados are rich in B Vitamins. Dark berries are rich in anthocyanins which have antioxidant effects to protect our cells. The fibre in fruit helps remove extra junk (extra cholesterol, extra hormones, waste products) from our bodies in our stool. It keeps the waste removal system moving which is essential! Fibre is also important for our gut bacteria. They can use fibre to feed and grow and support our overall health. Water is important for hydration and our metabolism.
With all these benefits, fruit is not bad for you. If you are consuming fruit in its whole from meaning a banana you peeled vs dried banana chips or a banana flavoured beverage, you will receive all the nutrition fruit has to offer.
It is important to note that I have only covered some very basic principles. Overall, fruit is a very beneficial food and its important to include a variety in your diet. Some people experience a fructose intolerance (or malabsorption) and cannot properly digest fructose and should avoid fruit. Determining this would be done with your Naturopath or preferred Holistic Practitioner.