Fresh fruits are an important part of a whole foods diet. They are a great source of antioxidants, water-soluble vitamins, and fiber. Water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C and B vitamins are necessary in our daily diet because our body cannot make them and only stores them in very small amounts. Antioxidants help our body get rid of free radicals that are harmful to us and can lead to disease such as cancer. The high fiber content in fruit aids digestion and is great for detox/cleanse and weight loss. Since fruits are one of the best sources of these water-soluble vitamins and nutrients, making sure that we get 2-3 servings of fruit every day will provide us with what we need to function properly.
1/2 cup or 1 medium piece of fruit (apple, pear, orange, 1/2 banana)
Like any other type of food, each type of fruit has different nutrient percentages. It's good to be mindful of this especially when it comes to sugar (carbohydrates) because consuming too much of it can potentially lead to health concerns. Dried fruits (all kinds) and fresh tropical fruits such as banana, pineapple, and mango, are the highest in sugar. Fruits lowest in sugar include all types of berries and lemons, while all other fruits fall in between. The good thing is that the fruits lowest in sugar contain the most antioxidants.
Some examples of fruit and their sugar content:
1 cup strawberries = 8g sugar
1 cup blueberries = 5g sugar
1 banana = 15-20g sugar
1 cup pineapple = 17g sugar
There are misconceptions with fruit because they are a whole and natural food (if organic) and they do provide lots of health benefits, but they are a source of sugar (carbohydrates) and can add up without us realizing it. So next time you are preparing that smoothie, take a look at how much fruit you throw in the blender and figure out how many servings that is. These sugars are natural, yes, but they are simple carbohydrates which are the same as white sugar and are digested fast to create a blood sugar spike followed by a crash. This is why a piece of fruit alone is not the best snack because it won't hold you over for a long time. Pair your fruit with some protein and good fat to enjoy a delicious snack. Protein and fat take longer to digest and balance blood sugar by slowing down digestion of carbohydrates.
Looking at sugar content is not as important as making sure we get those 2-3 servings of fruit each day, but is a good thing to keep in mind especially when doing a cleanse/detox (detox with vegetables) or watching sugar intake. Organic, local, seasonal, and fresh fruits are always the best option, they provide the most nourishment and health benefits. Remember that moderation is key!