Health Habits

Healthy Habits Challenge- Fruit Desserts

Author: Kayla Phaneuf

Since childhood, we are told that too much sugar is bad for one’s health. While that is true, does that mean all sugar is equally bad for your body? Not necessarily. There are generally two different groups of sugars: natural sugars, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains, and added sugars, which are processed or refined sugars added to food items like baked goods, cereal, soda, juice, and yogurt. So why should one prioritize fruit sugars over added sugars? 

  • Nutritional Value

Foods with natural sugars (whole fruits and vegetables) contain additional nutrition: protein, fiber, potassium, and vitamins. This kind of natural nutritional value is not found in processed foods and can benefit your body while also tasting yummy. For example, one normal sized whole orange versus a glass of orange juice has drastic differences in nutritional value: juice contains more calories, less natural pulps and oxidants, less fibers, and significantly more sugar. 

  • Whole Fruits are More Filling

Whole fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges are much more filling than a muffin, cookie, or cereal. This is because the body’s metabolism of processed and refined sugars works differently than when it is breaking down whole fruits. Because refined sugars are not as filling, it makes it easier to consume higher amounts of it due to the cravings it causes; whole fruits are a more balanced way to intake sugar. This week, instead of eating flavored yogurts in the morning chock full of added sugars, try plain yogurt and add fresh fruit and granola to it. This will keep you full for longer and better benefit your health.  

There’s nothing wrong with eating sugary treats every once in a while; balance is key. Awareness of the differences between natural fruit sugars and refined sugars is important and benefits one’s overall health long term. Next time you reach for a sugary snack, try something new and replace the craving with an apple, grapes, or a banana.

References:

The Conversation– If sugar is so bad for us, whis is the sugar in fruit OK?

Healthline- The No BS Guide to Added Sugar

Platejoy- Added sugar vs natural sugar: what’s the difference?

Mindpost- Cut sugar consumption to 5 percent of total daily calories, experts say