I Thought Fruit Was Good for Me
By Rebecca Jilek, RD
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables the saying goes. But for most folks, the only vegetable they eat are sprinkled on top of a pizza or on top of a burger. And fruit can be loaded with calories and sugar. While fruit is often touted as the ultimate health food because it contains vitamins, minerals and fiber, be aware, it also brings along a lot of sugar. The sugar is in fruit, while natural, is fructose. Why is that bad? Because there is a tendency for your body to convert excess fructose to fat and it can also impact your blood sugar.
So, is fruit good or bad for you? The vitamins, minerals and fiber are beneficial. To side on the healthier side, consider the following tips when consuming fruit.
1. Choose fruit instead of fruit juice. The whole fruit provides fiber. The benefit of fiber is it slows down the digestion process and raises blood sugar more gradually. Juice is very high in the natural occurring fructose. Look at a juice label at the sugar grams. Every 4 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar.
2. Pay attention to the size of the fruit. A larger size or serving of fruit would be equivalent to 2 fruit servings at one time. It also can mean it contains double the number of calories and sugar. This could increase blood sugar along with the number that you see when you step on your scale. When choosing fruit consider the size. A proper apple serving is a 4 oz apple. Choose a pre bagged apple or organic apple which are closer to a 4 oz apple.
3. Eat a variety of fruits. Experiment with different fruits such as mango, star fruit, guava or ugli fruit that is a cross between grapefruit and mandarin. Berries tend to be lower in sugar so go for the raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.
4. Consider trying a new fruit every other week that you have never tried. Our grocery stores offer a great variety.
Bottom Line: Keep your portion size small, stick to whole fruit and go for a variety of different types to maximize the different vitamin and minerals.