Listen up, folks: I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people asking me if fruit is unhealthy because of the sugar it contains. It’s a good question on an oft-misunderstood issue of the different kinds of sugar and how the body metabolizes them.
Is sugar in fruit detrimental?
In Dr. Mark Hyman’s book The Blood Sugar Solution, he discusses the restorative qualities of fruits and veggies that heal the body.
He speaks out against two issues. First, sweeteners and refined sugar are evil, and the body metabolizes them differently than fruit sugar:
“My advice is to give up stevia, aspartame, sucralose sugar alcohols such as xylitol and malitol, and all of the other heavily used and marketed sweeteners unless you want to slow down your metabolism, gain weight, and become an addict” (Hyman 43).
“Naturally occurring fructose in fruit is part of a complex web of nutrients and fiber and doesn’t exhibit the same biological effects as the high fructose found in corn sugar” (Hyman 80).
If you’ve got serious health problems, he offers a restrictive diet plan where sugar, starchy vegetables, and grains are cut out for six weeks. This plan is for people who have sky-high blood pressure among other health problems, and aren’t just for the average healthy person.
For the rest of us, eating a wide variety of fruit aids in cancer and disease prevention, and contains all sorts of detoxifying vitamins and minerals. Our body needs the natural sugar in fruit to survive, and it DOESN’T need added sugar from other sources.
So, in a word: NO! The benefits of eating fruit are expansive and far-reaching, so you should eat a wide variety of fruit and instead focus on removing refined sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet.
How much fruit is too much?
The USDA recommends that women should get 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of veggies per day.
Now, too much of ANY kind of food can negatively impact your health. Fruit in excess is much less detrimental than, say, cake.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then you have to be aware of your caloric intake. But fruit is less likely to endanger your daily calorie totals than that tempting donut or a box of chocolates.
So yes, fruit has sugar. But it’s a natural sugar that, when consumed in moderation is good for you.
That sugar in your Starbucks Frappuccino, however, is not.