A simple web search of “sugar is a drug” uncovers hundreds of articles from trusted sources like Forbes, WebMD, The Guardian, etc. They all discuss recent research that demonstrate why sugar is addictive and our brain treats it like a drug. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that approximately 16 percent of total calories daily calories consumed in America, are from added sugar. Our sugars come from things like from beverages and candy. If sugar is a drug, we are a nation full of addicts. Cutting the amount of sugar we consume can be incredibly difficult. Many who advocate for a low carb or sugar free diet also suggest minimizing or quitting fruit. We are here to tell you to ignore them.
Although fruit sugar has a chemical structure similar to sugar, the sugar from fruit is a much better choice. Science tells us why. A few hundred years ago, fructose was was basically absent from our diets. What is fructose? It comes from beet or sugar cane, honey, high fructose corn syrup, and fruits. The chemical formula for fructose is the same as glucose (C6H12O6), “but its metabolism differs markedly from that of glucose due to its almost complete hepatic extraction and rapid hepatic conversion into glucose, glycogen, lactate, and fat” (physrev.physiology.org). Fructose is the main sugar found in fruit. Consuming fructose found in fruit is far better for you then consuming fructose (or glucose) in any other form. Eating fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects. In fact, increased consumption of fruit is linked to lower body weight and lower rate of obesity related diseases. This means you can ignore those who tell you to stop eating grapes or oranges, because they are carbs. Eating healthy has never involved discernment, and knowledge more than now. Fructose in fruit is healthier for three simple reasons.
- Fruits are low-calorie and loaded with water, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals (www.livestrong.com).The water helps to dilute the fructose and makes it less concentrated than fructose found in its other forms.
- The fiber found in fruits slows the metabolism of fructose. This lessens the impact of fructose on our blood sugar levels. One of the major adverse effects of all forms of sugar is the spike it causes in our blood sugar levels. Fiber minimizes the spike in blood sugar levels. To learn more about the importance of stabilized blood sugar levels- read this.
- Fiber isn’t enough to make fruits a healthy and sweet option. The secret of fruit lies in its cell walls. Sugar is “sequestered in the cell walls” (www.newyorktimes.com). The cell walls take time to breakdown, and therefore the fructose is injected into our bloodstream at even slower rates. That’s why fruits will not give you a sugar crash, even if they contain 30 grams of sugar!