Is Fruit Making Us Fat?
Written by: Brandy Baxter, MS, RD, LDN
Fruit is getting a bad rap these days because of the sugar it contains. As consumers become more aware of the sugars in their beverages, processed foods, and sweets, it can be easy for them to lump in fruit as another sugar bomb that causes weight gain and diabetes.
However, the sugar in fruits are processed much differently by the body than those found in soda or a piece of cake. The fiber in the fruit slows down the digestion of the food, giving your body the opportunity to absorb the sugars over time. This reduces the likelihood of the sugar being stored as fat. In contrast, sugar from soda is absorbed almost instantly, encouraging a spike in the fat storage-promoting hormone insulin.
Also, the amount of sugar found naturally in fruit is way less than we imagine. A cup of whole strawberries contains just 7 grams of sugar, while ½ cup of sliced peaches has similar sugar content of about 8 grams. Compared to some drinks and sweets that contain over 35 grams of sugar, this is a small amount.
So what is a healthy amount of fruit to consume in a day? The USDA suggests most adult Americans consume about 2 cups of fruit per day. For specific recommendations based on your gender, weight, and medical history, meet with a registered dietitian.
What is the best way work fruit into our diet? Consume the majority of your fruits through fresh, canned, or frozen fruits. Because of the way fruit juice and dried fruits are made, they have higher concentrations of sugar so should be reserved for just once in a while consumption.
It is also important to remember fruits also have health promoting nutrients that play important roles in a variety of body functions and that also can reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Start improving the quality of your diet today by adding some fruits to your meals or snacks!
Resources and Information: