When it comes to foods high in sugar, our minds frequently jump to obvious treats like chocolate bars, candies and baked goods. But what many may not realize is that certain fruits can also pack a significant amount of sugar. I mean, you should not worry if you don’t have a condition like Diabetes, but it’s always a good idea to know exactly what are you eating, regardless what kind of food it is.
Registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, RD, emphasizes that while fruit is a healthier source of sugar compared to processed treats, it’s still important to be mindful of the sugar content in what we eat. Fruit is a natural source of sugar, and it is often packed with vitamins and nutrients, and a lot of fruit is high in fiber to help your digestive system. But consuming too much fruit can still lead to an excessive intake of sugar. How can you balance this? There are ways to know.
The Fruits with the Highest Sugar Content
To put things into perspective, let’s compare the sugar content of some popular fruits to that of some common sugary snacks. For example, let’s take a closer look at a medium-sized banana, that contains 14 grams of sugar, which is roughly the same amount found in a single chocolate chip cookie. Of course, you don’t have to stop right not eating a banana: talk first to your doctor and strictly follow the guidelines, because bananas are high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and support heart health. Its fiber content promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Also, its vitamin B6 portion is important for brain development and production of red blood cells.
We can also discuss grapes: take in account that one cup of grapes contains 23 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of four and a half Oreo cookies. Anyway, they are high in antioxidants, particularly vitamin C and resveratrol, which can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Grapes are also high in flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties, and may also help to improve cardiovascular health. They are rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin B6.
The next in the row is the apple. A medium-sized one contains 19 grams of sugar, which is the same as a single powdered doughnut. Apples are a nutritious and versatile fruit that offer many health benefits. They are high in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants which can help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. The antioxidants in apples, particularly quercetin and catechins, have anti-inflammatory properties and may also help to improve cardiovascular health. They’re also high in the B-complex vitamins such as vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, and add a lot of nutritious minerals.
Now, if we put an orange under the microscope, we can find out that has the same amount of sugar as a sweet treat, such as a chocolate bar. A medium-sized orange contains about 12 grams of sugar, which is about the same amount found in a small chocolate bar. However, it is important to note that the sugar in an orange is natural -as all the other fruits- and comes with a bunch of nutritional benefits: they’re a great source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that helps boost the immune system and promote healthy skin. They are also high in antioxidants, which can help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Oranges are also a good source of fiber, which can promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Some other fruits like pears, pineapple, and watermelon are also high in sugar, if you compare them to sweet treats made with industrial-grade white sugar.
Should We All Be Worried?
It’s essential to remember that while fruit is a healthier alternative to processed treats, it’s still important to consume it in moderation and be mindful of the sugar content. This is particularly important for those who have health conditions that call for monitoring blood sugar levels, such as those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
Don’t modify your diet without consulting your doctor or nutritionist, and don’t go panicked. Fruits are necessary for your organism because all the benefits they offer for you. Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables -prioritizing those free from pesticides and genetic modifications- will always be a good idea, instead of opting for ultra-processed food, frozen meals and sweet treat with tons of processed sugar.