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Q&A Mini-Episode: Is The Sugar In Fruit Bad?

If you haven’t already heard, we’re starting a Q&A section on our podcast. You can record your questions right into the podcast page on our website, and we’ll record our reply into a mini-episode. You can also questions on your phone, and send to us as a voice-note.

Ok so now to answer your question- what’s up with the sugar in fruit? Well the main sugar in fruit is called fructose, and although fruits come loaded with numerous health benefits, we should still be mindful of how much fruit we’re eating.

We typically recommend 2-4 servings of fruit per day. If you’re not as active, are mindful of calories you’re taking in, or have lower calorie needs based on your height/weight, I would recommend sticking to just a couple of servings. If you’re super active or want to gain weight, up to 4 servings is fine.

Why shouldn’t you go bonkers and eat all the fruit in the world? Well, although fruits are healthy, they also contain a significant amount of carbs and calories. When you eat excessive amounts of fruit, your body may store what it doesn’t use for energy as body fat. That’s why it’s really important that the amount of carbs, and for that matter, the amount of protein and fat you’re taking in as well, are appropriate for your height, weight, sex and activity levels- among other factors.

To answer your other question, there’s no comparison between the sugar in fresh fruit and the sugar in processed foods like cakes, cookies, and candies. Fruit comes loaded with fiber, water, anti-oxidants, pre-biotics, and other powerful properties, whereas refined sugar is basically equivalent to empty calories. There are no nutritional benefits.

I’ll end this mini-episode with best practices for eating fruits

  • Stick to whole fruits versus dried fruit and fruit juices (even if these juices are made from fresh fruits) As I mentioned earlier, the water and fiber in whole fruits will keep you satiated for longer periods of time.
  • When eating fruits, especially if you have a hx of pre-diabetes, or diabetes, pair them with a healthy protein or fat. Similar to fiber, this will slow digestion and avoid sugar spikes. Examples include an apple with peanut butter or 1 cup of berries with plain Greek yogurt.
  • The same concept applies to smoothies. Avoid making smoothies that only include fruit and/or fruit juices. Have a healthy balance of fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, and protein in your smoothies. Our new cookbook, The 28 Day Plant-Powered Health Reboot contains tons of recipes like these and you can also find some on our site.
  • Lastly, switch things up when eating fruit. Instead of eating that same apple every day, include a range of different fruits, so that you’re getting a range of nutrients. A great way to do this is by visiting your local farmers market. You get different fruits as they become in season.
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Satyajeet Biswas