There’s often a misconception about fruit, with most people assuming that they can eat as much as the want because fruit is healthy. I beg to differ. Let’s not label it the “big bad food group”, but in certain situations fruit can actually be unhealthy. Fruit has dozens of benefits, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; but when it comes to weight management, moderation (and selection) are the keys.
I’ll keep this short, sweet, and skinny… and most importantly, easy to understand. The first thing you should know is that SUGAR is the real enemy to your waistline. Here are some of the biggest offenders.
Fruits High In Sugar:
- Raisins (1/2 cup) – 254 calories, 67g of carbs, 50g of sugar
- Grapes (1 cup) – 104 calories, 27g of carbs, 23g of sugar
- Mango (1 cup)- 100 calories, 26g of carbs, 23g of sugar
- Orange – 86 calories, 22g of carbs, 17g of sugar
- Banana – 100 calories, 28g of carbs, 20g of sugar
- Apple – 119 calories, 28g of carbs, 20g of sugar
- Cherries (1 cup) – 97 calories, 25g of carbs, 20g of sugar
I encourage you to eat fruit over cake any day! Unfortunately, even this will have to have limits when trying to obtain/maintain your weight goals. As tasty and healthy as it may seem, fruit has calories, carbohydrates, and SUGAR (aka: fructose, sucrose, and glucose, which occur naturally in fruits and veggies). Most fruits are 40-55% fructose (or more!), which is exactly the same as table sugar.
Is Sugar Unhealthy?
The sugars in fruit are undoubtedly better than refined table sugar. Fruit is high in fiber which expands in your gut, making you feel fuller. Fiber is the biggest reason why fruit sugars are not as bad as refined sugar, preventing the sugars from being quickly broken down and stored.
But the more sugar a fruit contains, the more calories you’ll need to burn to maintain your weight. That doesn’t mean that fruit is bad for you, but it does mean you should be aware and try to limit your intake of fruits high in sugar. Sugar does one of two things: 1.) burn for energy, or 2.) store as fat. The more sugar you eat, the more fat you store if the excess isn’t burned away (yay!…not). Maybe it’s time to ask yourself, am I eating too much fruit?
Fruit Products To Avoid
Stick to fruits lower in sugar and and higher in fiber. While moderation is always key, remember you can fill up on veggies (go green!) and get double the amount of fiber and nutrients you can from fruit, without all of the sugar – which means higher calories and carbohydrates.
It’s always best to buy fresh, if you buy frozen be aware of labels. They commonly contain added sugar, so be on the lookout for no sugar added. Just because something says made with “real fruit” doesn’t make it healthy! Be on the look out when buying fruit juice (it contains more calories and sugar than soda). Fruit that is in a jar/can contains “heavy syrup”, choose the one made with fruit juice only.
Last but not least… “dried fruits”. Heavily processed with lots of added sugar. Not to mention easy to over indulge and eat twice as much if you’re not careful. Now there’s a little fruit for thought.
A few BAD examples:
- Dried banana chips (3 oz) – 440 calories, 50g carbs, 30g of sugar
- Simply Orange/Orange Juice (8 oz, equivalent to the size of half a soda) – 120 calories, 26g carbs, 22g of sugar
- Starbucks Strawberry Smoothie (A whole banana, natural strawberry puree, milk and mix of whey protein and fiber) – 300 calories, 60g of carbs, 41g of sugar
- Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness (8 oz) – 130 calories, 30g of carbs, 26g of sugar
Some BETTER choices:
- Cranberries (1 cup) – 46 calories, 12g of carbs, 4g of sugar
- Raspberries (1 cup) – 64 calories, 15g of carbs, 5g of sugar
- Kiwi – 42 calories, 10g of carbs, 6g of sugar
- Plum – 30 calories, 8g of carbs, 7g of sugar
- Strawberries (1 cup) – 46 calories, 11g of carbs, 7g of sugar
- Grapefruit – 41 calories, 10g of carbs, 9g of sugar
It’s easy to forget to hold fruit accountable in our diets because there is no nutritional label on them, making it easy to consume far too much for our dietary needs. Truth be told… not all fruits are good for you. Excess calories make you gain weight, not the fruit itself. You could be 3 bananas away from your favorite old “skinny” jeans!