The truth about sugar and carbs in fruit | Herbalife Healthy Eating Advice
Sugar in fruit â?? what are the facts? In this weekâ??s healthy eating video nutrition expert Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND sets the record straight about some of the worldâ??s healthiest foods â?? fresh, whole fruits.
Fresh fruit offers so much more than the natural sugar it contains â?? including water, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients (those naturally-occurring plant compounds that have wide ranging beneficial effects on the body). Where else can you get a package like that for about 75 calories per serving?
The idea that fruit is â??loaded with carbsâ? or is â??full of sugarâ? needs to be put into perspective. Itâ??s true that when you eat fruit, the overwhelming majority of the calories you consume are supplied by carbohydrate â?? mostly in the form of fructose, which is the natural sugar in fruit. But thatâ??s the nature not just of fruit, but of all plant foods â?? theyâ??re predominantly carbohydrate (and that means not just natural sugars, but healthy starches as well as structural elements, like cellulose, that provide fiber). When you eat vegetables, the majority of the calories youâ??re eating come from carbohydrate, too. But you donâ??t hear people complaining that vegetables are â??loaded with carbsâ?.
Before dismissing foods as being loaded with sugar, or too high in carbs, consider not only the amount of sugar or carbs youâ??re eating, but the form of the carbohydrate, too. Thereâ??s a big difference between the nutritional value of the natural carbohydrates found in fruits and other plant foods â?? the sugars, starches and fibers â?? and whatâ??s found (or, more accurately, whatâ??s not found) in all the empty calories we eat from added sugars that find their way into everything from brownies to barbecue sauce.
Faced with a serving of fruit, how much sugar are we talking about, anyway? An average orange has only about 12 grams of natural sugar (about 3 teaspoons) and a cup of strawberries has only about 7 grams â?? thatâ??s less than two teaspoons. And either way, youâ??re also getting 3 grams of fiber, about a full dayâ??s worth of vitamin C, healthy antioxidants and some folic acid and potassium to boot â?? and itâ??ll only cost you about 50 or 60 calories.
By contrast, a 20-ounce cola will set you back about 225 calories and, needless to say, wonâ??t be supplying any antioxidants, vitamins, minerals or fiber. Youâ??ll just be chugging down some carbonated water, maybe some artificial color and flavor, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 grams of added sugar â?? about 1/3 of a cup. Now thatâ??s what you should call â??full of sugarâ?.
Has this helped you better understand sugar in fruits? Learn more about healthy nutrition by checking out Susan Bowermanâ??s playlist at http://hrbl.me/HealthyLivingVIDEOS or take a look at Susan Bowermanâ??s healthy eating blog: www.DiscoverGoodNutrition.com
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