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Are the sugars in fruits harmful?

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Fruits contain a large amount of fiber that delays the absorption of sugar causing less pancreatic stress than with the ingestion of processed foods.

Chemically, the sugars in fruits and those in sweets are the same; however, the health effects they cause are entirely different. In fact, most of us should be consuming more fresh fruit. We explain the reasons below.

The body processes natural sugar in fruits differently because the fiber in fruit minimizes the impact of glucose on the blood. When experts say that you should limit sugar intake, they mean added sugars (cupcakes, candy, cereals, fruit juices, tomato sauce, sodas, etc.).

To talk about the science of sugars, it is essential to refer to the document ” Guideline on the intake of sugars for adults and children “, published in 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In it, it is clear that the WHO clearly differentiates two types of sugars , natural sugars – which are those found naturally in unmodified fruits and vegetables – and added sugars.

It is the latter that are related to a greater risk of tooth decay and chronic diseases and, therefore, they advise us not to exceed 10% of our caloric intake from them. However, the WHO clarifies that its recommendations do not apply to natural sugars.

Added sugars versus natural sugars

There are many foods that naturally have sugar in their composition or that are a source of nutrients that, after being assimilated, are transformed into sugars in the body.

Thus, fruits are a source of fructose, milk and derivatives are a source of lactose, vegetables can have fructose in variable amounts and also complex hydrates that, after digestion, are transformed into glucose to be used by the body.

With this concept, we must know that the vast majority of foods, except for meats, for example, have natural sugars in their composition. On the other hand, there are countless industrial foods or products to which sugar is added during processing. This is done in order to accentuate the flavor, increase the energy intake, or achieve other properties in the final result.

Cookies, some snacks, and sweets contain sugars, as these are foods handled by the industry. The addiction to this substance improves the palatability of food and can cause a certain dependence, according to an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

What is its effect on the body?

When we talk about simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose, or the like, we must consider that in isolation they have the same effect on the body, since they are the energy substrate par excellence for the body. But sugars as such are not always presented in isolation but come together with other nutrients as part of a food.

So the main difference is in the process that gives rise to glucose in the body, which depends largely on the other components of the food or product in question. Thus, a soft drink does not have fiber, vitamins, or minerals of importance for the body and, because it is liquid, it is easily digested, so its sugar also reaches the blood easily.

A vegetable, on the other hand, will offer healthy micronutrients, fiber and a percentage of complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest and reach the bloodstream. Therefore, this natural food that also contains sugars is more satisfying, more nutritious and does not have a high glycemic index.

All the benefits of fruit for health

The fruit helps us to take care of the body, it helps to move and stimulate intestinal transit, it is easy to digest, it is very rich in water and fiber, it does not have dense starches or fat and its estimated digestion time is about 20 minutes.

The studies have shown that eating fruit may help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other non – communicable diseases.

Fruit can even help control weight. A study published in 2016 by Harvard Investigators suggested that antioxidant flavonoids in fruit may have a positive effect on metabolism.

People on a diet rich in flavonoids were more likely to maintain their weight as they aged, compared to people who did not consume foods rich in flavonoids. The fruits that seemed to provide the most benefit were apples, blackberries, and pears.

Another positive aspect of the fruit is that its soluble fiber stimulates the selective growth of the microbiota. This has health consequences, as it improves food metabolism and reduces the risk of developing obesity.

Fruits are an essential food

The sugars in fruits are not harmful to our health. So, worry about reducing the consumption of processed products. And remember, the jam is not fruit, fruit juice is not fruit and, of course, canned fruits or the typical peach in syrup are not.

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