By Macaela Mackenzie
But is depriving yourself of fruit smoothies and bowls of watermelon really necessary in the name of good health?
Turns out, this is mostly baloney, according to Alissa Rumsey, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic. So where does the misconception that fruit will foil your diet come from? It starts with the confusion surrounding the pros and cons of natural sugars versusadded sugars, says Rumsey. Natural sugars are found in fruits, dairy products, and starchy veggies and your body and brain uses them for fuel. Without the natural sugars found in fruits, we’d be at a major energy deficit, she says.
Plus, the other nutrients found in fruit help prevent the sugar rush (and crash) you get from eating candy. “When you eat natural forms of sugar like that in fruit, dairy, and starchy vegetables, you get additional nutrients like fiber and protein, which help to blunt the blood sugar rise,” says Rumsey. (Reboot the way you eat and lose weight with Women’s Health’s The Body Clock Diet!)
It’s the added sugars—found in sodas, juices, and flavored, processed foods—that cause the whole category to be vilified. In short, natural sugars=good for you, added sugars=bad for you. But there is one major caveat.
“Too much sugar, of any type, causes your blood sugar to rise, which triggers insulin release,” says Rumsey. “Since insulin is a storage hormone, it likes to store excess blood sugar as fat, particularly belly fat. And excess sugar consumption has also been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” So when it comes to fruit, technically you can get too much of a good thing. But that doesn’t mean you should cut it out entirely. It’s all about keeping your serving sizes in check.
Aim for two to three servings of fruit per day, says Rumsey. One serving is about a cup of berries or sliced fruit, one baseball-sized fresh fruit, or one half of a grapefruit.
Source: Women’s Health Magazine | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide