IS FRUIT SUGAR GOOD OR BAD FOR YOU?
We all know that excessive sugar consumption is not healthy. Sodas, cookies, ice cream, candy…all those foods are rich in sugar and should certainly be avoided.
But what about fruit? Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other beneficial nutrients but they also contain a considerable amount of sugar. Does that mean we should be limiting how much fruit we eat?
Isolated fructose consumption is a risk factor for metabolic alterations and declining liver function. However, fruit fructose (when you eat the whole fruit) is actually not (1). This might be due to the effects of the fiber and antioxidants in the fruit. Fiber slows the release of sugars in our intestines which highly reduces the sugar spike in the blood and it seems that certain phytonutrients may inhibit the transportation of sugars through the intestinal wall into our bloodstream (2,3).
Ok but, what about diabetics? Some doctors and other health professionals recommend restricting fruit because of its high sugar content. However, this doesn’t make much sense at all since a high intake of fruit is good for everyone. According to the Harvard Health Letter, “Fructose is naturally found in fruits. Fruits are not harmful and are even beneficial in almost any amount. The nutritional problems of fructose—and of table sugar, which is another form of sugar called sucrose—come when they are added to foods” (4)
Yes, fruit is amazing even for diabetics. And yes, this has been studied.
In one study, diabetics were randomized into two groups: one group ate 2 or more pieces of fruit a day while the other group ate a maximum of two fruits a day. If fruit wasn´t good for diabetics, then the group with the reduce fruit intake should have done better, right? Actually they didn´t. Eating less fruit had NO effect on their diabetes or weight. The conclusion of the study was: “intake of fruit should not be restricted in patients with type 2 diabetes” (5).
In another study, 17 individuals ate twenty servings of fruit per day (the fructose content of the diet was around 200g/day). After three to six months, there were no adverse effects on blood pressure, body weight or insulin and lipid levels (6).
In this third study, the participants ate around twenty servings of fruit per day for a few weeks. 20 servings! The results? No adverse effects on blood pressure, triglycerides or weight. There was, however, a 38-point drop in LDL cholesterol (7). Amazing right?
I really hope people stopped being afraid of bananas and started being more concerned about the excessive amount of animal products, unhealthy fats and added sugars they are eating.
KEEP CALM AND EAT FRUIT GUYS 🤞🏻
- Petta S, Marchesini G, Caracausi L, Macaluso FS, Cammà C, Ciminnisi S, et al. Industrial, not fruit fructose intake is associated with the severity of liver fibrosis in genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C patients. J Hepatol. 2013 Dec;59(6):1169–76.
- Manzano S, Williamson G. Polyphenols and phenolic acids from strawberry and apple decrease glucose uptake and transport by human intestinal Caco-2 cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Dec;54(12):1773–80.
- Johnston K, Sharp P, Clifford M, Morgan L. Dietary polyphenols decrease glucose uptake by human intestinal Caco-2 cells. FEBS Lett. 2005 Mar 14;579(7):1653–7.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Rethinking fructose in your diet – Harvard Health [Internet]. Harvard Health. [cited 2018 Nov 9]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/rethinking-fructose-in-your-diet
- Christensen AS, Viggers L, Hasselström K, Gregersen S. Effect of fruit restriction on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes–a randomized trial. Nutr J. 2013 Mar 5;12:29.
- Meyer BJ, de Bruin EJ, Du Plessis DG, van der Merwe M, Meyer AC. Some biochemical effects of a mainly fruit diet in man. S Afr Med J. 1971 Mar 6;45(10):253–61.
- Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, Vidgen E, Mehling CC, Vuksan V, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism. 2001 Apr;50(4):494–503.