Any time that I tell someone to eat fruit, the first thing they say is, "Well isn't fruit full of sugar?".
I shake my head, not at them, but at the people who have spread that idea. The idea that sugar in every form is going to do you harm.
This couldn't be further from the truth. Fruit is delicious and will literally nourish your body is the most legit sense of the word. Fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other chemicals that the body can put to good use.
We need to be eating these things so that we can function at our highest level.
Yes, fruit does have sugar, but don't jump to conclusions. There's quite a bit different with the situation.
The sugar that comes from fruit doesn't come alone. It comes along with fiber, plant matter, and a host of other constituents that are within the piece of fruit. Now, let's take a donut instead. You are getting the sugar from the donut, but you are not getting vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Of course the absorption, processing, and effect on the body is going to be different.
It's been studied and the results show that people who eat these naturally occurring sugars are healthier and tend to practice healthier habits. It also leads to a higher fiber intake and sense of all around health. Versus the side that is consuming a ton of added sugar that deals with low fiber, and lower quality of health (1).
Sugar within a piece of fruit is NATURAL. That's the keyword. It has a place in the human body as a desired food. The body is ready to handle it and do good with it. Whereas the body doesn't know what to do with that Little Debbie.
Now, I'm by no means saying that you should never eat a donut. I eat donuts. I just have them rarely. The amount of fruit I eat is high in comparison to the amount of donuts that I eat.
To highlight another difference, we'll touch one of the ideas that people tend to consider. Blood sugar. Yes, eating fruit involves breaking down fructose. This in turn would increase your blood sugar. However, the amount isn't as significant as if you ate a candy bar. Here's why:
As you eat fruit, that thing called fiber we mentioned gets in the way. It can slow down digestion. It can make things RELEASE into the blood stream slower. Now, we can take the candy bar that does NOT have a ton of fiber (if any) and notice that it spikes the blood sugar. The sugar literally gets dumped into the blood stream which we know can cause a host of issues (2).
It's all about the "packaging" in a way. Fruit comes packaged for that slow release, whereas candy does not.
Calories Are King
Ever checked a food label? Ever seen how many calories are in a Snickers? 215 calories to be exact. Now, how many are in a large naval orange? 69-70 calories. That's an insane difference and could lead to someone gaining or losing weight.
Fruit is what we call nutrient dense. This means that it contains a tons of vitamins and minerals. It also means that it's lower in calories. You really get a good bang for your buck!
A Snickers is what we call calorie dense. It's low in nutrients and high in calories.
In a perfect world calories wouldn't matter, but they do. You can't lose weight without a deficit, and you can gain weight without a surplus (barring some medical conditions).
People eat sugar because they crave something sweet. So, they typically want to eat the high calorie treat. Well, fruit is just as much a treat and leaves you feeling satisfied. You are also able to eat more of it and not accrue a ton of calories.
So, hell yes, I'm going to tell people to eat a ton of fruit because it does them good and it keeps them from over eating. Especially if their goal is to lose weight.
Hopefully this shed some light on how fruit is different even if it does contain sugar. Sugar isn't bad. It's the way we consume sugar that is. If it's delivered properly and in the right amounts, then there isn't going to be a problem!
Now, go eat some damn fruit!