Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Does Fruit Contain Too Much Sugar? Sugar In Fruit Ok, Says Boston Children's Hospital Doctor

My opinion:  I'm glad that Dr. Ludwig explained this clearly - I've always wondered if eating too much fruit could be bad, but it seems as if there might be no such thing.  Even if there is, I doubt it would be as dangerous as fruit substitutes, for example, fruit juices and fruit gummies.  A decent portion of fruit juice, like apple juice, contains the sugar of numerous apples, but provides much less nutrition than the actual apple itself.  Also, since simple sugars tend to be added to juices and snacks, it probably gets into the blood stream more quickly and is therefore a greater promoter of diabetes.  I remember the first time I tried natural lemonade - I couldn't believe how much less sweet it was than what I bought at the store!  Do most people understand this about processed fruit products?  And should we stop drinking fruit juice, or are some brands incorporating more nutrients into it?  Feel free to comment.


Making the Case for Eating Fruit

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Experts agree that we are eating too much sugar, which is contributing to obesity and other health problems. But in the rush to avoid sugar, many low-carb dieters and others are avoiding fruits. But fresh fruit should not become a casualty in the sugar wars, many nutrition experts say.
Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that sugar consumed in fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects, no matter how much you eat. In a recent perspective piece in The Journal of the American Medical Association, he cited observational studies that showed that increased fruit consumption is tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases.
Whole fruits, he explained, contain a bounty of antioxidants and healthful nutrients, and their cellular scaffolding, made of fiber, makes us feel full and provides other metabolic benefits. When you bite into an apple, for example, the fruit’s fiber helps slow your absorption of fructose, the main sugar in most fruits. But fiber is not the full story.
“You can’t just take an 8-ounce glass of cola and add a serving of Metamucil and create a health food,” Dr. Ludwig said. “Even though the fructose-to-fiber ratio might be the same as an apple, the biological effects would be much different.”
Fiber provides “its greatest benefit when the cell walls that contain it remain intact,” he said. Sugars are effectively sequestered in the fruit’s cells, he explained, and it takes time for the digestive tract to break down those cells. The sugars therefore enter the bloodstream slowly, giving the liver more time to metabolize them. Four apples may contain the same amount of sugar as 24 ounces of soda, but the slow rate of absorption minimizes any surge in blood sugar, which makes the pancreas work harder and can contribute to insulin resistance; both increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes.


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