If sugar is so bad for us, why is the sugar in fruit OK? Part II

By Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP

Last week we began the conversation on sugar and fruit, abstracting from the article “If sugar is so bad for us, why is the sugar in fruit OK? The source is from the “The Conversation” March 7, 2018 posting, authored by Ms. Kacie Dickinson, an accredited practicing dietitian; lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics, Finders University and Ms. Jodi Bernstein, PhD Candidate in Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto. We were shown the difference between the sugar content from free sugar and fruit. Hence, it feels safe to eat fruit liberally. Yes, Ms. Dickinson and Bernstein continue their conversation as below;

We need to eat fruit

Unlike many foods that are high in free sugars, fruits are packaged with lots of nutrients that help provide us with a balanced diet for good health.

For starters, fruit is an excellent source of fiber. An average banana will provide 20-25% (6g) of your recommended daily fiber intake. Getting enough fiber in the diet is important for protecting against bowel cancer. There is clear room for improvement in our fiber intake – adults in many countries consume only about half of the recommended amount each day (25g for Aussie women and 30g for Aussie men).

The fiber in fruit, which is often absent in many foods and drinks with free sugars, may also help to fill you up, which means you eat less overall at a meal. It’s not clear exactly why this is, but it could be related to the volume of the food (especially compared with liquids) and the chewing involved.

Fruit is also a good source of other nutrients such as potassium, which can help lower blood pressure, and flavonoids, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.

There is evidence that eating whole fruits (alone and in combination with vegetables) reduces your chances of dying from cancer, obesity and heart disease.

Despite this, only about 50% of Australians eat at least two pieces of fruit per day.

Most national dietary guidelines encourage eating fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on the vegetables. To try and eat your recommended two pieces of fruit per day remember that a piece could be a banana, apple or orange, or two smaller fruits like plums or apricots, or a cup of grapes or berries.

When it comes to other sources of sugars, try to choose foods that have little or no sugar listed in the ingredient list, and drink water instead of sugary beverages when you are thirsty.

Sheila’s note: I have a personal experience with one of my cousins when it comes to fruit and sugar. He (I am not going to name him) thought that apple juice and orange juice are very healthy products because they are “apples and oranges”. He buys these juices from the market every week. When I pointed out that he was drinking sugar water, he was totally shocked. Therefore, we should not be fooled by the “fruit label” and think that any product with the name of a fruit is healthy.

Your home work from the Care Ministry this week: Identify the fruit drinks or soft drinks in your  home and check their sugar content.

The Care Ministry welcomes your comments/suggestions: kunlouis@gmail.com