American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition


Is Fruit Too High in Sugar?

watermelonFruit is getting a bad rap and its time for it to stop. This tale going around about fruit being really high in sugar is a lie. Fruit tastes sweet, I get it. But most fruits actually have little effect on our blood sugar when we eat normal amounts of them.

This “war on fruit” got started when the Glycemic Index was published. Its a useful tool that shows which foods cause a sharp increase in blood sugar, and some fruits are fairly high on the list. The Glycemic Index lists the effect on blood sugar from eating 50 grams of carbohydrate from a particular food. Not 50 grams total of the food, 50 grams of carbohydrates from the food.

White bread is at the top of the list, with a score of 100 on the Glycemic Index. It raises blood sugar even more than table sugar does. Two average slices of bread have 50 grams of carbohydrates.

How many peaches would you have to eat to get 50 grams of carbohydrates from those peaches? Three large peaches. Or half of a pineapple. Or 8-9 large slices of watermelon. At one time, in one sitting. Who eats that much in one sitting?

You get the idea; fruit is mostly water, and low in calories so it takes a lot of it to total 50 grams of carbohydrates.

Side note: In one large peach you get 80-90 calories, three grams of fiber, and lots of nutrients. Totally worth eating, even if it weren’t so delicious.

So fruit is not making you fat, or raising your blood sugar. White bread, donuts, bagels, white rice, rice cakes, cookies and crackers are causing the problem. Fruit is full of antioxidants, vitamins, some minerals, fiber, and full-on natural deliciousness. Enjoy it for the rest of the Summer, while its good and fresh and in season.

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