We’ve all been told that an ideal diet should contain two servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables a day, since most fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that lead to health benefits for the body.
Fruits help to strengthen the immune system, fight off heart disease, obesity, and can even reportedly prevent cancer. The antioxidants, fibre, and vitamins also help to keep you healthy, while the fruit itself is also a great source of energy.
For that reason, fruits such as strawberries and apples are seen as healthier food options. Dried fruits or fruit juices are also considered as relative guilt-free options for those looking for a sweet treat.
However, fruits should still be consumed in moderation, as with all things. The type and amount of fruits you consume, as well as the way you consume them, could make a huge difference in the nutrients you are feeding yourself.
Some fruits contain high sugar content
While fruits are a healthier choice as opposed to desserts to satisfy a sweet tooth, the sugar content found in both are comparable if a large portion of fruits are consumed. When eating fruits, you could exceed the daily limit of sugar consumption without noticing!
The Health Promotion Board
recommends consuming about 40 to 55g of sugar daily, and depending on the type of fruit you choose, you could be close to exceeding the limit by eating two servings alone. For example, 10 grapes, which is one serving, can contain up to 23g of sugar. Other fruits such as bananas, oranges and pineapples also contain high levels of sugar, around 16-18g in one serving.
On the contrary, other fruits such as avocado, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries contain low amounts of sugar, which explains why these fruits are popular complementary ingredients to healthy breakfast bowls.
Excess sugar leads to accumulated fat
Fruits containing high sugar content have a high glycemic index (GI), which means they cause glucose levels in the blood to rise at a faster rate after they’re digested. When that happens, insulin is released to induce the absorption of sugar from the bloodstream.
However, when high-sugar foods are consumed, leading to a higher-than-usual level of insulin in the blood, your cells will take in more glucose than it needs to maintain normal bodily functions. The excess sugar will slowly be turned into fat by your cells and liver, if they’re not being expended as energy.
Hence, while you’re consciously consuming ‘healthy’ fruits, high GI fruits such as mangos could be overloading your body with too much sugar and result in unwanted fat accumulation.
Fruits are best consumed whole
No matter the choice of fruit, the healthiest way to consume them is to have them whole. If you’re hoping to reap the nutritional benefits of the fruit, consuming them in their natural form is the best way.
Alternative ways of consuming fruits include dried fruits and fruit juices, which are yummy options, but can contain excessive amounts of sugar.
Drying fruits typically removes all their water content, and concentrates their natural sugars. Those who have a sweet tooth might find it hard to avoid overeating dried fruits, which can result in the consumption of high levels of sugar, without the nutrients and water content present before.
Fruit juices are also not recommended as the regular juicing process causes the fruits to lose most of their nutrients and natural fibre, and could sometimes contain artificial sweeteners. Read more about this here
After all that’s been said, fruits still contain a wealth of nutritional and health benefits that make them a great addition to your diet. However, with the huge variety of fresh fruits to choose from, be mindful of your choices and their nutritional values, and be sure to avoid overconsumption.