Fruits are whole, real, and nature’s default healthy foods. They are convenient, easily stored, and easily prepared for an easy-to-grab snack or whenever your hunger pangs strike. However, due to the increasing awareness of sugar dangers, some people are concerned that the sugar content in fruits makes them unhealthy.
How Much Sugar in Fruit?
Fruit contains both fructose and glucose. So does table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Table sugar is near enough 50% glucose and 50% fructose. As HFCS is a manufactured product, the glucose/fructose ratio can vary. However, as created sugar for end products such as soft drinks, it may contain about 60% fructose and 40% glucose.
Fruits vary greatly between species in their total sugar content and their glucose/fructose ratios. Most of the fruits that are commercially available today have been selectively bred for generations to produce a tastier product. That means the fruit farms are breeding your apples or berries for increased sugar content and usually reduced fiber content. You can get easily taste if you have access to any heritage species of any fruit. You will notice that they are invariably pithier and less sweet than modern types.
Even so, the total sugar in a medium-sized orange is about 12 grams, while one cup of strawberries has 7 grams. Both fruits may provide you with an average amount of 50 calories and about 3 grams of fiber. Add to that the amount of vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and other vitamins and minerals you can get from these fruits.
The sugar content of fruit varies markedly. For example, avocado is less than 1%, and apricots are 9%, apples 13%, banana 15%, orange 9%. Interestingly, at these percentages, consumption will result in feeling full without elevating blood sugar levels. Your body will also have benefitted from an array of critical nutrients.
Sugars in Manufactured Products
On the other hand, one 20-ounce (600 ml) bottle of soda may provide you with 240 calories and 65 grams of total sugar. Unfortunately, a bottle of soda does not contain any nutrients. Soda water’s composition is almost entirely sugar and water.
Ingesting this sugar volume with no buffering from other dietary components such as fiber will spike blood sugar levels. That will cause an insulin release and a corresponding sugar slump that will trigger a hunger response. In the meantime, your liver will be working overtime to convert the excess energy requirement into body fat.
Fresh fruit has a high sugar content compared to most whole foods and should be a healthy diet component. Ideally, you should consider your fruits as the ‘sweets’ or ‘dessert’ component of your diet. When comparing fruit’s health benefits to processed desserts, soft drinks, or other artificial sweets, it’s a no-brainer – fruits win hands-down.
It is also important to note that fruit juices and dried fruits may not be as healthy as whole fruits. Fruit juices do not contain fiber but can be loaded with added sugar. Dried fruits are high in sugar content. Therefore beware that since their size has been made smaller than the whole natural fruit, you can easily consume too much and, in consequence, consume a much higher percentage sugar content.