Fruit provides a natural source of energy for the body as well as essential vitamins and antioxidants. Although fruit has "natural" sugars there are still many benefits to the body. Natural sugars in fruit do not raise the blood sugar levels in the same way as refined or processed sugars.
Sugars found in fruit are called fructose. Fructose converts into sucrose and glycogen in the body. Fructose is nearly 1½ times sweeter than table sugar but has slower conversion to blood sugar. So sugars that come from natural fruits have a slower absorption rate than refined and processed sugars (table sugars). Sugar is addictive; therefore, the more you eat the more you will want. Refined sugar is completely depleted of nutrients, so all you are consuming is simple carbohydrate.
Consuming excessive sugar over a period of time can lead to weakening of the bones. Sugar is stored in the liver as glycogen and the liver can only hold so much. After the liver capacity is exceeded, excessive sugar is released into the bloodstream in the form of fatty acids. The body will then take these fatty acids to other parts of the body for storage.
Fruits and/or 100% natural fruit choices are your best option. Fruits that are eaten with the skin on are said to have a slightly slower absorption rate which means your blood sugar will not spike.
Fruits are easy and quick for on-the-go nutrition. Fruits are an excellent source of the following essential nutrients:
- Fiber - consuming 20-25 grams of fiber per day has shown to reduce the prevalence of obesity and regulate the digestive system. Fiber can also reduce the prevalence of coronary artery disease.
- Potassium - is optimal for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and preventing strokes by aiding in proper muscle contraction.
- Vitamin A - helps to keep the skin and eyes healthy and protects against infection. Vitamin A is also essential in the formation of bones and teeth, aids in fat storage and protects against colds, flu and infection
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) - is a powerful antioxidant that is required for most metabolic functions in the body, including tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function and healthy gums.
- Try to eat 2-3 servings of fruit per day - 100% fruit, not artificially flavored items
- Eating whole fruits instead of drinking your fruits will reduce the calories and sugar per serving (for example: 1 orange = approximately 70 calories, 1 cup of real orange juice = approximately 120 calories)
- Look for 100% fruit juice (10% fruit juice means that 90% of your choice beverage has a lot of additional sugars and fillers)
Angela Hattaway is a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with over 15 years experience. She got her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University and she also has a Master's Degree in Business with an emphasis on Healthcare. Angela is experienced in working with both children and adults and loves working with clients to help them set realistic goals and expectations. She is passionate about nutrition and fitness and feels this comes through when she works with people. Angela loves giving clients the tools, motivation and encouragement they need to be successful throughout their lives. Visit her blog at blog.ultimatenutritionnfitness.com. She can be reached via email at at email@example.com.