Fruit sugar: good guy, bad guy or both?

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Shutterstock.com/ Mreco99

Sugar, in general, has obtained a well-deserved negative reputation when it comes to health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, the general public lumps all types of sugar into one category, and that is not correct. All kinds of “sweet” flavor in food is not the result of white processed sugar and is not harmful but essential to the optimal functioning of your body. Excess white sugar has been proven to contribute to heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancer, along with adding unnecessary weight gain resulting in an epidemic of obesity. Limiting your intake of highly processed sugar is recommended and encouraged in your everyday diet.

White sugar is often added to foods in cans and boxes under names such as high fructose corn syrup, glucose or sucrose, and these are all are names for the same, high-calorie sugar that provides no nutritional value. The sugar used in popular items such as cookies, cakes, and candy is easy to spot and avoid whether it’s made with white or brown sugar, which is simply white sugar with molasses added for color. So, with processed sugar added to 75 percent of all packaged foods, and the obvious sugar-laden products, you must be extremely cautious not to fall into the trap over overconsuming sugar.

What is the type of sugar in fruit?

Fructose is the natural sweetness that is produced in fruit as it ripens, and aside from the fact that its sweet flavor, it should not be associated with white or brown processed sugar at all. Fresh fruits are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and water, all of which are vital to maintaining your overall health and preventing disease. Because all these work together, the fructose sugar found in fruit is digested slowly, and all fruit contains these five essentials. According to the USDA, they should be consumed three to five times daily.

Why is fructose good for you?

The healthy sweetness of fructose is found at lower levels in fruit also, and it’s the type of sugar that the body and brain require to function properly. Natural sugar gives your body energy and is found in every cell. Fiber allows the fructose to be absorbed by your system gradually instead of instantly, like white sugar, which is the reason for sugar-spikes, followed by a drop in your system. These fluctuations can lead to fatigue and depression, and most of the population will go back and get another hit of the processed sugar for another sugar-high. This is destructive to your system, but fructose is not an indulgence; it’s necessary for a nutritious lifestyle.

Let’s eat more fruit

Fresh fruit enhances the diet, so make sure you have three to five 1/2 cup servings daily. For low-carb intake, choose the lower-carb, nutrient-dense fruits including kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, and avocado. Make sure you choose the fruit juices that contain no added sugar; organic is best. Dried fruit like mango and pineapple tend to have more concentrated fructose, so limit these higher-calorie fruits, but enjoy fresh fruits daily.