It’s no secret that too much sugar can cause health problems and lead to weight gain. But if sugar is bad, what about fruit? Fruit contains sugar, does that mean you should cut it out of your diet completely?
We’ve had it drilled into our heads that sugar is evil; it promotes weight gain, diabetes, cancer and skin ageing to name just a few. Whether it’s sugar from a cake or sugar from fruit, sugar is sugar and too much is not good for health. However, as with many aspects of nutrition, the answer to whether or not you should eat fruit is not a simple yes or no.
FRUIT VS CAKE
Yes, fruit does contain sugar and sugar isn’t good, but unlike a sugar filled Mars Bar or cake, fruits contain many nutrients that are beneficial for health. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are also amongst the best sources of antioxidants – nutrients known to protecting cells from damaging free radicals.
IS FRUIT FOR YOU?
Fruit has a number of health benefits and I am all for encouraging consumption of fresh, natural and unprocessed foods. Therefore, most healthy people can enjoy some fruit as part of a healthy diet. However, we are all different and there are circumstances when I might advise a client to cut fruit out of their diet completely.
The two most common reasons are:
For weight loss – with some (but not all) of my weight loss clients I recommend cutting out fruit temporarily while we focus on a ketogenic (very low carb) diet. This can be a very effective way to focus the body on using our stored fat as a main source of energy which in turn accelerates weight loss. Fruit can be reintroduced into the diet as part of a maintenance plan once target weight has been achieved.
To manage type 2 diabetes – when I work with type 2 diabetics who do not have their blood sugar levels well managed I will recommend cutting out fruit.
If you aren’t sure whether or not fruit should be included in your diet then it’s worth getting advice from an expert.
DID YOU KNOW…
Some fruits contain significantly more sugar than others. For example, 100g grapes contains the equivalent to nearly four teaspoons of sugar whilst the same amount of raspberries contains the equivalent to just one teaspoon. Other considerations to take into account are that when you eat fruit and what your eat it with can have a significant impact on how it affects your blood sugar levels.
HERE ARE MY 6 RULES OF HEALTHY FRUIT EATING:
- Choose fruits lower in sugar such as berries, coconut and grapefruit.
- Only eat bananas, grapes and mangoes occasionally as they are fairly high in sugar.
- Avoid eating dried fruits and drinking fruit juices due to their particularly high sugar content.
- Limit fruit to a maximum of two portions per day. A portion is one medium sized fruit or 80g.
- Have fruit with your meal – eating it with a combination of protein and fat will slow the absorption of sugars.
- Eating fruit after your workout is a good idea. Your body is likely to use the sugar to replenish the sugar stores in your muscles (known as glycogen).
Unless it’s been advised that you do not consume fruit for health reasons, or because you are on a carbohydrate controlled weight loss plan, moderate amounts of fruit can and should form part of a healthy diet. Just make sure you limit your intake, choose lower sugar fruits and eat fruit alongside other food.