Fruit…Friend Or Foe?
The health benefits of fruit have been the subject of ongoing debates within the health community for years. After numerous studies, various expert testimony as well as some widespread confusion, many people still continue to challenge the advantages of eating fruit. The main reason is that fruit is relatively high in sugar compared to other whole foods. Take bananas for instance, an average sized banana has about 12 grams of sugar per serving which according to the American Heart Association is just about half of our sugar intake for an entire day.
With that being said, it’s important that we first take a look at sugar in different contexts. Added sugars, which are sugars that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed like fructose or corn syrup, can lead to health problems such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These sugars should be avoided at all costs. This idea was highlighted by Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in their objectives for healthy people. Healthy People 2020 objectives .
Naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit, are not added sugars. Many people now believe that because added sugars are unhealthy, that the same must apply to fruits, since they also contain small amounts of fructose. However, this is completely false. Fructose is only harmful in large amounts and it is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit. The fact of the matter is that fruits contain a lot of nutrients that are important for health. These nutrients include fiber, vitamins, minerals, as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients.
At the end of the day, fruits are a great go-to snack option. They are nutrient dense and will typically keep you satiated until your next meal. But with that being said, I would caution you against eating large quantities of tropical fruits and instead encourage you to eat a wider variety of low sugar fruits. Particularly if you’re trying to keep your glycemic index ( www.glycemicindex.com ) in check. Here is a list of some low sugar fruit options: