Sugar Wise: How Fruits Stack Up
Strawberries, bananas, oranges, kiwi… the list goes on and on. Fruit is touted as a super-healthy snack option, but while the fiber and other nutrients found in fruit are a great part of any diet, many varieties can also be very high in sugar. And too much sugar, regardless of where it comes from, can have some seriously negative effects. (Yep, even if that sugar is from fruit!) Does this mean run from the produce aisle screaming? Definitely not. But it might be smart to keep an eye on fruit-based sugar consumption.
Can Fruit Make You Fat? — The Need-to-Know
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 26 grams of sugar per day for women, or 36 grams per day for men. And for men and women ages 19 to 30, the USDA recommends two cups of fruit per day. But depending on which fruit is picked, this could be bad news for fruit lovers: Just two cups of sliced bananas adds up to the maximum recommended amount, clocking in at 36 grams of sugar!
So other than extra calories, what else does too much sugar mean? Excessive amounts could lead to tooth decay, weight gain, and increased triglyceride levels (which may contribute to heart disease and high cholesterol) . Some studies suggest fructose, the main type of sugar found in fruit, can even be more harmful than other sugars (namely, glucose). Fructose has even been linked to increased belly fat, slowed metabolism, and overall weight gain   .
Fruit-tastic — Your Action Plan
Traditionally, a diet high in fruits and vegetables has been shown to help prevent weight gain (when compared to a diet high in fiber from other foods) . Although fruits can hold three times more calories per serving when compared to vegetables, they’re still a relatively low-calorie choice, especially when considering how good fruit's high water and fiber content are at promoting feelings of fullness .
With a sugar-conscious mind, here's a closer look at how each fruit stacks up in terms of the sweet stuff.
The important thing to remember: Too many calories from anything, including fruit, can lead to weight gain and other negative health effects. While the USDA recommends the average person stick to about two cups of fruit per day, it’s best to stick with fresh or frozen. Beware of packaged or canned fruit (dangerfood!) and fruit juices, which can have high amounts of sugar, even if the package says “light syrup” (one container of apple sauce has only 100 calories, but packs in 23 grams of sugar!).
- Triglycerides and cardiovascular disease: a scientific statement from the American Heart Assocation. Miller, M., Stone, N.J., Ballantyne, C., et al. University of Maryland, MD. Circulation, 2011 May 24;125(20):2292-333.⤴
- Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans. Stanhope, K.L., Schwarz, J.M., Keim, N.L., et al. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009 May;119(5):1322-34.⤴
- Dietary fructose and risk of metabolic syndrome in adults: Tehran Lipid and Glugose study. Hosseini-Esfahani, F., Bahadoran, Z., Mirmiran, P., et al. Department of Clinical Nutrition Dietetics, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. Nutrition & Metabolism, 2011 Jul 12;8(1):50.⤴
- Dietary fructose reduces circulating insulin and leptin, attenuates postprandial suppression of ghrelin, and increases triglycerides in women. Teff, K.L., Elliott, S.S., Tschop, M., et al. Monell Chemical Senses Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2004 Jun;89(6):2963-72.⤴
- Association of fiber intake and fruit/vegetable consumption with weight gain in a Mediterranean population. Bes-Rastrollo, M., Martinez-Gonzalex, M.A., Sanchez-Villegas, A., et al. Nutrition. 2006;22(5):504-11.⤴
- What can intervention studies tell us about the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and weight management? Rolls, B.J., Ello-Martin, J.A., Tohill, B.C. Nutrition Reviews. 2004 Jan;62(1):1-17.⤴
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SO SHOCKED! 23g of sugar in a cup of grapes? Who knew?!
How about dried fruit? I LOVE dried plums and dried cranberries.
@TheresaChester Dried fruit is more concentrated so you usually end up consuming way more than you would have if you were eating fresh fruit! Also, a lot of dried fruit has added sugar!
Think about dried apricots. You would never eat a bucked of apricots, but you would eat the equivalent in dried apricots.
great chart on the amounts of sugar in each fruit!! never realized oranges had more sugar than pineapple.
This information is grossly inaccurate. Sugar from a lollipop is not the same as sugar from a fruit. Fruit sugar is stored by your body, and used throughout the day. Sugar from lollipops cannot be stored. It goes straight to your blood stream where it will either be used or if doesn't need to be used it turns into fat. Fruit from sugar does not go straight into the blood stream and turn into fat. Just ask the apes. They eat 40lbs of fruit per day and they seem to be just fine.
@ChrisDaltas Did you read tour comment before posting it? you say " Fruit sugar is stored by your body, and used throughout the day. Sugar from lollipops cannot be stored. It goes straight to your blood stream where it will either be used or if doesn't need to be used it turns into fat..."
so How can you say sugar from lollipops cannot be stored then in the next sentence you say if your body doesn't use it it turns to fat... Turning it in to FAT is the way your body stores it
@London11 There is more than one way that the body stores sugar London11. The answer to your question is because sugar in a lollipop is already processed. So the second you eat the lollipop the energy will hit your blood stream. That is not what happens when you eat fruit. When you eat fruit the body must convert the fruit to sugar. This means that the body can use the fruit based energy overtime. In doing so, it won't convert fo fat right away like sugar from a lollipop will.
Keep in mind that most of the USDA is paid by Farmers who want to push their meat and dairy products down your throat. So, of course they don't want you to eat fruit, they want you to eat wheat, meat and drink milk - three of the worst things for a human being. If you eat a fair of amont of wheat, meat and drink milk I'm guessing you also drink a lot of coffee. That is because humans have difficult digesting meant, milk and wheat. This process makes the body and mind groggy early in the day. Eating fruit all day won't make you tired during the day and struggle to sleep at night and struggle to wake up in the morning - but the USDA recommended combination of meat, milk, wheat and coffee does...
The statement sugar is sugar is a huge problem in this country. People have been brainwashed into thinking that statement is actually true but nothing could be further from the truth. There are many types of sugar including, fructose, sucrose, glucose, molasses, extracts, and disaccharides. But just naming those few doesn't really solve the problem because there are also many types of each of those, not all glucose is the same glucose. And the human body treats, stores and digests all of those differently. There is not a one size fits all for sugar and the body. Nothing is ever that simple with the human body.
Why do people that go on 100% fruit based diets have tons of energy and lose weight while people on a 100% candy diet are fatigued, but can't sleep and gain weight? Sugar is not sugar.
In addition the USDA is a poor resource since most of the nutritional data provided by the USDA predates 1980 and is heavily influenced by food manufacturing conglomerates - like the type of people that would make candy.
If the sugar from fruit made you as fat as a lollipop I would be huge. Try a 100% fruit based diet for a month and then try a 100% candy based diet for a month.
Additionally, fruit from sugar prevents type-2 diabetes while sugar from lollipops causes it.
Sugar is not sugar.
I think it's really useful to know how much sugar different fruits contain, but I want to point out that the American Heart Association's recommendations are for added sugar, which does not include naturally occurring sugar, which we find in fruit. You still don't want to eat, say, five pieces of fruit in a day, but the recommendations are entirely separate.
Raspberries are at the top of the list of high fiber fruits. Each cup of raspberries contains about 8 grams of dietary fiber which is more than 1/3 of your total daily need. Raspberries also contain health promoting nutrients including vitamins C and B-complex, manganese, copper, magnesium and iron. These berries may be delicate, but they are a superpower of disease prevention with a variety of phyto-antioxidants including catechins, anthocyanin, ellagic acid and quercetin. Eating raspberries can effectively defend against inflammation, diabetes, cancer and age-related degenerative diseases.
Aha! This explains why I find (frozen) grapes the hardest fruit to stop eating. :)
Definately BS! Just came off a weight loss plan of my own making. lost 58 lbs in 4 months. Fruit was a big part of it especially bananas, berries and apples. never felt better. Went from couch potato to gym rat and from sedentary for 3.5 miles running 3 days a week. If you think fructose is your problem you really need to do some better research.
@DonDAmico Hi Don, what works for some might not necessarily work to the same degree for others, and I'm sure there were other lifestyle changes in your weight loss plan besides eating fruit?
The articles you site refer to added sugar--not naturally-occurring sugar (from fruits, milk); nothing in the research you site indicates placing such a strict limit (36 g per day) on sugar from whole foods.
I think it's kind of weird to compare empty lollipop calories and corn syrup to the sugar in fruit. Corn syrup is refined fructose, whereas the unadulterated sugar in fruit will be better than pure glucose. But really natural sugar is in milk (13 g per cup) so if you must have 2 cups of milk a day that's already 26 grams. I think the USDA recommends that we limit our ADDED sugar to 26 g a day.
Oh please, this article is ridiculous, eating enough of any food can cause weight gain, and fruits high in sugar aren't bad for you.
Secondly, the AHA recommends 26 grams of ADDED sugar. This is important. It is recommended that a 2000 calorie eater consume 2 cups of fruit, and 3 cups of milk. Even if you choose strawberries and cheese, the sugar content adds up to 26 grams already, and that's before the smaller amounts found in grains, veggies, and nuts. It really doesn't make sense that our total sugar limit be that low.
Third, yes fructose is harmful. But it's the extracted fructose found in corn syrup that's harmful, not the fructose in fruit. HFCS is highly refined and the sugar in that doesn't tell your body that it's full, so it's much easier to consume larger amounts. Natural fructose is not worse for you than table sugar, and natural fructose in reasonable amounts will not cause belly fat or slowed metabolism.
This article was probably written on the basis of two days worth of research conducted by second graders using Wikipedia and yahoo answers. It fails to show that the sugars in fruit are not as harmful as refined sugar. It's like comparing partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil to avocadoes (they both have fat so they both must clog your arteries!)
Yikes! I love bananas. Whenever I get a sugar craving at night (usually on my way back from the bathroom) I grab a banana. Can't win.