Fruit is known as nature’s candy, and for good reason: it’s so pleasantly sweet! But could this sugar be harming your progress? Should you avoid the fruit sugar for weight-loss?
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Sugar: Proof That It’s Harmful
Traditionally, sugar is not viewed in the health world as beneficial in any way, shape, or form.
WHY? Sugar is a contributing factor to many chronic diseases such as weight gain, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Plus, did you know that sugar is 8x more addictive than cocaine?? Scientist James J DiNicolantonio says “in animals, it is actually more addictive than even cocaine, so sugar is pretty much probably the most consumed addictive substance around the world and it is wreaking havoc on our health.” Bottom line: It doesn’t exactly have a good rap.
Food items that are high in sugar are what we would call “empty calories”. Meaning, sugar is high in calories but very low in any other nutritional benefits. It doesn’t contribute anything that our body needs to function. No vitamins, no nutrients. This can create an imbalance between free radicals (an uncharged molecule in your body that can cause damage, illness and aging) and antioxidants. Antioxidants are necessary to protect your body from free radicals! So when there’s an imbalance, chronic disease is more likely to occur: think high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and cancers.
Sugar in Fruit!
SO Should you avoid the fruit in sugar for weight-loss?
Now that we know more about sugar… let’s go over fruit!
A cup of blueberries has 15g of sugar.
A cup of pineapple chunks has 16g of sugar.
A medium apple has 19g of sugar.
A cup of mango has 23g of sugar.
A cup of apple juice has 24g of sugar.
That is quite a lot of sugar if we’re comparing to sweets!
One can of coke has 39g of sugar.
4 oreos have 16g of sugar.
5 pieces of a dove milk chocolate bar has 22g of sugar.
A cup of vanilla ice cream has 32g of sugar.
SoOoO… WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Is there a difference? Should you avoid sugar for weight-loss?
The main difference is the FIBER, WATER, and NUTRITIONAL VALUE.
Highly processed sugars lack nutritional value, but not only that, their lack of fiber and water causes our body to DIGEST the sugar at a much faster rate than sugar from a whole fruit. Whole fruit contains fiber, and water, allowing your body to slow the process down, keeping your blood sugar at even levels and avoiding any crazy sugar rush, high, and crash.
So what about juice??
According to Chloe McLeod a practicing dietitian, extracted juice, even from fruits is lacking the fiber and water. Sugar from fruit juices is going to be digested quickly almost in the same way our body recognizes refined sugar. Similar to refined sugar, fruit juice can cause a spike in blood sugar levels and insulin.
Honey? Maple Syrup? Agave?
These natural sugars are tough. They’re definitely a better option than refined white sugar as they do contain vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, and calcium. But again our body is going to be digesting these sugars at a much faster rate than sugars from whole fruits with fiber and water.
SO AVOID ADDED SUGAR ALTOGETHER?
My personal recommendation would be to create balance and moderation. Moderation, how sexy and exciting, I know. In terms of sugar from fruit: stick to the recommended servings of 3 per day. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with having more servings per day BUT more servings of fruit might take away from you having your proper servings of other foods like vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Again BALANCE, HOW EXCITING. Added sugar? The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than 5-10% of daily caloric intake to be from sugar. Again, “the WHO guideline does not refer to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars” BUT there IS significant evidence that shows a reduction in added refined sugars can drastically reduce the risk of obesity, and even tooth decay! YAY!
BUT BUT BUT I JUST CAN’T STOP!
I get it. It’s delicious AF and it doesn’t help that it’s also addicting… making it hard to avoid it! Like sometimes you just GOTTA have that cinnamon bun. Especially when it’s fat and moist and gooey and dripping fresh creamy icing.
But there’s good news! There is an optimal time a day to consume sugar in a way that will actually help FUEL your body.
According to Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD, the most efficient way to quickly replenish muscle glycogen that is depleted during a workout, is to consume 1.5 g of high-glycemic carbohydrates (aka rapidly digested carbs causing a quick spike in blood sugar) per 1 kg of body weight immediately after exercise. What most people don’t realize is that carbohydrates are SUPER important for building and repairing muscles after a workout. They help with protein synthesis. High glycemic carbs (sugar) consumed directly after a workout as well as protein is the best combination.
SO if you HAVE TO HAVE DONUTS EVERYDAY (which, sometimes I do let’s be honest) the most optimal time to have it is after a strenuous workout!
But in all honesty… just live your life. Again, moderation. Try not to stress. Try not to obsess. Just enjoy your life in moderation!
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