Rich in vital substances and healthy: fruit does contain fructose, but the content is lower than in products made with industrial sugar.
Fruits are healthy even if they contain sugar
There is often a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to fruit. For decades people believed that fruit was very healthy – and suddenly there were more and more claims that fruit is not as healthy as people thought. It is said that fruits make you fat, they contain far too much sugar, their fructose content promotes the formation of fatty liver, and much more.
Of course, fruits contain carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Otherwise, they wouldn’t taste sweet. Because low-sugar fruits, such as avocados and some berries, are known to taste as good as not sweet at all. However, it doesn’t make much sense to put fruit in the same category as candy, milk slices, gummy bears, or soft drinks because of a single nutrient and to keep claiming: sugar is sugar. That has turned out to be a fallacy.
Fruits contain vital substances
While fruits provide vitamins, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and secondary plant substances in addition to the fruit’s own sugar, you will usually look in vain for these valuable substances in sweets. Sweetened finished products also contain highly concentrated industrially produced sugar – either in the form of refined table sugar or, increasingly, in the form of glucose syrup or glucose-fructose syrup. It is not uncommon for other types of sugar to be mixed in.
A bad combination: sugar and fat
Most sweets, cakes, and desserts also contain not only sugar but also fat. And it is precisely this combination that is particularly unfavorable for health, as we explained here: fat and sugar steal intelligence.
Maybe you should take a look at nature here. There are either high-fat foods (nuts, avocados) or high-sugar foods (fruits). However, there is no food in nature that is rich in fat and sugar at the same time.
Certain forms of nutrition also follow this principle – on the one hand, the low-carb/high-fat diet, in which one eats plenty of fat and protein, but hardly any carbohydrates, and on the other hand, the high-carb/low-fat diet, in which one eats healthy carbohydrates to excess can eat, but lives very low in fat. Not least, for this reason, people who eat kilos of fruit on a high-carb diet do not experience any disadvantages to their health. Because fruits are extremely low in fat.
Sugar content in sweets, sweet snacks, and desserts
The sugar content of fruit is also often overestimated – see table below. 100 grams of most fruits contain less than 10 grams of fruit sugar. Conventional sweets, desserts, and sweet snacks provide significantly more:
- With only 20 g of Nutella you would consume 12 grams of sugar (4 sugar cubes) – and not a natural sugar, but industrially processed refined sugar.
- A milk slice weighs just under 30 grams, but already contains more than 8 grams of sugar, which is 2.5 times as much as fruit.
- If you buy a snail noodle with icing from the baker, it consists largely of sugar.
- It contains almost 60 g of it.
- Half a bar of milk chocolate (50 g) has 33 g of sugar.
- Gummy bears are half sugar. So if you eat 50 g, these few little bears already provide 25 g of sugar, as much as 8 sugar cubes.
- A cup with 100 g of jelly provides 20 g of sugar.
- Even probiotic products like Actimel and Danone Activia, which are supposed to serve the intestines, contain more than 10 g of sugar per cup.
- Typical breakfast cereals such as B. Frosties from Kellogg’s give you a whopping 17g of sugar per 40g.
- And if you like Schweppes, then 250 ml of the lemonade consists of 35 g sugar, almost 12 sugar cubes.
Fruit and industrial sugar – the difference
Now you could say: Who likes to eat fruit, with a fruit salad made of an orange, ½ banana, a few grapes, and an apple, you will quickly get a proud amount of sugar or carbohydrates. Nevertheless, there seems to be a big difference between fruit and processed sugar products. It is not possible to say whether it is the wealth of vital substances, the naturalness of the fruit, its low-fat content, or a combination of these properties.
In any case, studies show with the greatest regularity that the consumption of processed sugar increases the risk of illness, while this risk decreases the more fruit one eats.
The more fruit, the healthier you are
For example, a 2009 study of nearly 3,000 women found that the more sugary foods the women ate, the higher their risk of breast cancer. Apparently sugared desserts had a particularly unfavorable effect here.
In 2014, another study showed similar results, especially for women who were not physically active at the same time. At the same time, it was observed that high fruit and vegetable consumption reduced the risk of developing breast cancer.
A year earlier, it had been shown that industrially produced fructose (fruit sugar), which is used to sweeten sweets, desserts, and drinks, contributes to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver, but fruit consumption does not.
In March 2014, after analyzing several studies, researchers found that the more berries the study participants ate, the higher their bone density, suggesting that these fruits may help prevent age-related bone loss.
In 2015, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that eating plenty of fruit reduced the risk of death for people with Alzheimer’s.
A Chinese study published in June 2015 found that the more fruit is eaten, the lower the risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
Also in 2015, Israeli researchers advised drinking a pomegranate and date shake regularly, which could protect the cardiovascular system from arteriosclerosis. The pomegranate in particular is also considered to lower blood pressure and is said to reduce the risk of breast cancer. And while fruits are always discouraged for Candida infections, it is the pomegranate that is anti-Candida.
In May 2016, an analysis of numerous studies found that eating plenty of fruit reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer. It drops even further when eating lots of vegetables.
We explain here that fruits do not have an above-average influence on blood sugar levels and that studies have also shown that people have a lower risk of diabetes the more fruit they eat: Fruits protect against diabetes.
There we also show that fruits are good for the intestines, that not only the pomegranate, but fruits in general help regulate blood pressure, support weight loss, and also reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
If you are interested in the negative effects of sugar from processed foods, please enter “sugar” in our search function. You will then find a lot more information.
Fruit is low in calories
There is also no need to fear weight gain from fruit. Not only because fruits do not stress the blood sugar level unduly, but also because they are extremely rich in water and low in calories.
Fruit usually only provides between 30 and 60 kcal per 100 g, while sweets such as B. the milk slice bring in over 400 kcal per 100 g and would thus cover almost a quarter of the daily energy requirement. This also shows that a comparison of fruit and sweets – although both contain sugar – is not possible.
The table: sugar content and carbohydrate content of fruit
The following table provides an overview of the sugar content of some fruits. Of course, you always have to take into account that the sugar content can differ depending on the degree of ripeness, region of origin, and variety, so the values given can only provide a rough guide. Basically, the riper the fruit, the higher the sugar content.
Yellow: low-sugar fruits
- Green: fruits with a carbohydrate content between 6 and 10 g
- Blue: fruits with carbohydrate content over 10 g
The total carbohydrate content includes in particular sucrose (double sugar) and the two simple sugars fructose and glucose, starch, and sugar alcohols (sorbitol). The figures are in g/100 g.
Low-sugar fruits at a glance
If for whatever reason, you want to reduce carbohydrate intake from fruits in your diet, you can use the following fruits:
Like most other berries, strawberries are rather low in sugar. They contain only 5.5g of carbohydrates per 100g of fruit. At the same time, with over 60 mg of vitamin C (lemons 50 mg), they are a very good and delicious source of vitamin C. It is best to buy organic strawberries and pay attention to their regional origin. Because apart from possible pesticide contamination, imported strawberries no longer taste aromatic simply because of the long transport routes.
Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Blackberries contain – very similar to raspberries – only about 3 g of sugar per 100 g, at the same time providing between 3 and over 6 g of dietary fiber and having a protein content of 1.2 g per 100 g, which is interesting for fruit.
Blueberries (blueberries), on the other hand, contain twice the amount of sugar. However, their exceptional antioxidant richness makes up for this. Many studies have already been carried out on the blueberry-typical antioxidants, which have shown amazing effects, e.g. B. how well blueberries can reduce cholesterol levels and thus the risk of arteriosclerosis. Even the risk of Alzheimer’s can be reduced with the help of blueberries. And mental health is also influenced extremely positively by the delicious berries, which can by no means be said of sweets – on the contrary.
The fact that a high-sugar diet promotes Alzheimer’s, for example, was shown here: sugar increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. And here that it increases the cholesterol level: Sugar increases the cholesterol level, which always means sugar in industrially processed products, i.e. basically NOT sugar in fruit.
Peaches and apricots
With 8.9 g of sugar per 100 g, peaches are also a member of the low-sugar fruit group. The situation is similar with apricots, which contain only 8.5 g of sugar. We have compiled the properties and healing effects of the peach here: Peach – delicious and healing
The apricot is a very good source of beta-carotene and therefore has an extremely positive effect on eye health and mucous membranes. At the same time, it is an excellent source of iron in dried form with 4.4 g of iron per 100 g.
Lemons and limes
Of course, you don’t eat lemons and limes out of your hand like a tasty snack. Nevertheless, they belong to the fruits and to the low-sugar ones. Limes contain no more than 2 g of sugar, while lemons provide significantly more sugar, which, however, is not really noticeable due to the acidity.
Both types of fruit are popular sources of vitamin C, which can be found in lemon water, in homemade desserts, or in salad dressings. If you put the freshly squeezed juice in carbonated water and sweeten the drink a little with xylitol, you can very well get used to the conventional soft drinks with the result.
The star of the low-sugar fruits is of course the avocado, with no more than 1 g of sugar. That’s why it tastes anything but sweet. It can therefore be used wonderfully in savory recipes, such as. B. in cold soups, dips, dressings, and spreads. Avocados are very filling due to their average fat content of 15 percent. Like olive oil, avocado oil consists of predominantly monounsaturated fatty acids and is therefore considered to be extremely well tolerated.
At the same time, the avocado is a very good source of vitamin E, as just 100 g of avocado pulp with 2 mg of vitamin E covers one-sixth of the vitamin E requirement, which is 12 mg. Since the avocado contains over 500 mg of potassium, a quarter of the potassium requirement is also covered. The avocado is also one of the few plant foods that apparently provide vitamin D – 3 µg (120 IU) per 100 g.
It is often claimed that the cultivation and transport of avocados are anything but environmentally friendly. The fruit would require a lot of water, be transported over long distances, and end up in the store in plastic packaging. Here one should consider that other tropical fruits, such as B. Bananas do not behave much differently. If you do not want to support this type of fruit production, you should only use regional food.
Of course, coffee and chocolate will no longer be available – not to mention meat and other animal products, because the animal products industry is one of the most environmentally despicable industries of our time. If you look at the ecological footprint of a kilogram of beef, the avocado next to it almost looks like an angel.
Papayas belong to the melon family and only contain around 7 g of carbohydrates. They also provide a proud 80 mg of vitamin C per 100 g and a relatively large amount of beta carotene. In addition, papayas contain amounts of minerals that are unusually high for fruit, e.g. B. 30 mg calcium and 40 mg magnesium. For comparison: An apple contains only 7 mg of calcium and 6 mg of magnesium.
In addition, always eat a few papaya seeds, because they provide you with many valuable health properties, as we have described here: The healing power of papaya seeds.
Clementines, tangerines, and oranges
These three citrus fruits contain between 9 and 10 g of sugar. If lemons are too acidic for your salad dressing, use tangerines or oranges instead. These also provide plenty of vitamin C and fruit acids. Both help to better absorb minerals and trace elements.
Oranges and tangerines also contain the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin. It is said to be able to protect the lungs from lung cancer, which we have described here: Plant substance protects against lung cancer
Mangoes and Grapes
Of course, mangoes and grapes are not low-sugar fruits. However, to show you how healthy even high-sugar fruits are, we mention the two here as a representative of all higher-sugar fruits.
The mango, for example, is an excellent supplier of beta carotene and also supports weight loss. Grapes, on the other hand, are known to be THE source of resveratrol, the substance that protects against colon cancer and protects nerve health. Yes, even raisins – dried grapes – which are even sweeter than fresh grapes, are not a risk for the blood sugar level due to their high sugar content, as we have described here under point 9: Lowering blood sugar naturally
Fruit juices – It’s all about quantity and quality
Fruit or fruit juices can be highly recommended, e.g. B. drinking a small glass of maybe 150ml per day (very slowly), and the juice is freshly squeezed. Consider such a fruit juice as a quality snack, part of breakfast, or an appetizer, but not a thirst quencher.
Of course, there are also organic not-from-concentrate juices in stores. But these juices are pasteurized, otherwise, they would start to ferment. Additionally, most juices are packaged in flint glass bottles so that the juice is in constant contact with light during storage. Both – pasteurization and oxidation by light – have a reducing effect on the vital substance content.
Juices from the conventional trade, which are mostly made from concentrates, are not recommended even in small quantities. These are not infrequently sugared or provided with sweeteners.
Fruits fit well into a healthy, wholesome diet
So it’s not worth giving up enjoying all the delicious fruits in the world. You wouldn’t gain anything by doing that. A healthy and wholesome diet therefore also consists of fruit.
You can vary the amount depending on your tolerance, energy requirements, and personal preference. Anything between 200 and 500 grams per day is possible. We would not advise eating larger amounts of fruit, as you would then automatically consume fewer vegetables, grains, legumes, etc. However, these foods have a higher nutrient density than fruits. Your intake must therefore not suffer from increased fruit consumption.