Sugar has a bad reputation for being the main culprit for causing many health problems such as diabetes. But just like any other nutrients, it is equally important for our bodily function when taken appropriately and sufficiently. It is our primary source of energy, and it helps to metabolize fats and prevent our body from converting protein into energy.1,2
Most of us get it from food or drinks that contain many different types of sugars. Here are some common examples:2,3,4
Many may think that consuming whole fruits and processed fruits gives us the same nutrients. But in actual fact, eating whole fruits is always the better choice than packaged or processed food, that includes juices that we make at home.
Whole Fruits: Natural Sugar
Whole fruits are nutritious and jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber that are important for our daily diet. Interestingly, each fruit contains different levels of natural sugars such as fructose, glucose and sucrose but fructose is the main sugar found in most fruits.5
That is why choices of fruits are especially important, especially for individuals keeping a close eye on their sugar level. They can opt for low-sugar fruits such as avocados, apples, strawberries and so on. High sugar fruits should still be consumed but at smaller portions, so watch out for bananas, lychees, mangoes and others.5,6
Whole Fruit VS Blended Juice
Juicing fruits is a popular and convenient way of getting your daily dose of fruits. It usually involves separating the extract from its seeds, pulps and fiber.7 However, this may cause a spike in sugar level and appetite because there is no fiber to slow down the absorption of sugar.8
Whole fruits contain fiber which is an important component of a healthy diet. It helps to reduce food cravings by making you feel full longer, manage blood sugar control, promote heart health and gut health by increasing growth good gut bacteria and ease bowel movements.9 That is why taking whole fruits instead of blending fruits into juices is a much better option.7,9
Added sugar and Their Dangers
Manufacturers in the food industry oftentime heavily add sugars in processed food such as packaged juices or canned fruits. Our body metabolizes these sugars more rapidly than fruit sugars. This may increase a person’s sugar and calorie consumption significantly. The dangers of consuming added sugar over a long period of time may cause health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and many more.1,2
That is why we should never substitute whole fruits with processed fruits. Always check the label of the processed food, as some may contain hidden sweeteners or other flavoring agents that can greatly increase your sugar intake and calories. Go with labels that state “unsweetened”, “no added sugar”, or “packed in its own juice”.
Whole Fruits Rules!
All in all, the best source to get your daily intake of sugar is from whole fruits itself. They are nutritious and provide many health benefits such as reducing risk of heart disease, cancer, and mortality.10 Here are some tips to help you make choosing healthful fruits easier:8
As for diabetics, it is recommended for you to discuss with your healthcare provider and create a healthy and balanced meal plan on the appropriate amount of fruits to be included into your diet. It is best to enjoy fruits regularly, though make sure to choose your fruits wisely!