fruit standHow about a little good news this week?

According to recent data from the USDA, although we’re still consuming far too much sugar, Americans seem to be enjoying more whole fruit and drinking less juice.

It’s a healthier option, to be sure. Fruit juice, after all, is essentially concentrated sugar. Between that and its acidity, it’s pretty much murder for your teeth, both destroying their enamel while feeding the pathogens that contribute to decay

It’s none too kind to the rest of your body either.

More, you lose some of the most beneficial compounds in fresh produce when you juice it, such as polyphenols and antioxidants. With whole fruit, you get the total nutritional package – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, enzymes, and fiber.

“But it still contains sugar!” screams industry, seemingly baffled as to why a person might think raw fruit is healthier.

It’s difficult to tell whether consumers will continue to turn away from juice and toward raw fruit. It may just be a fad stemming from sugar concerns that could fade once people become aware that many raw fruits contain plenty of sugar. According to Healthline, three to four cups of watermelon has nearly as much of the sweetener as a can of sugary soda….

This is true. It’s also a poor comparison. “Three to four cups of watermelon” is three to four SERVINGS – vs. a single serving of soda.

More, because of its extremely high water content, watermelon’s impact on blood sugar levels is extremely low. The same can’t be said for a Coke.

Truth is, you’d have to eat far more fresh fruit than you could comfortably eat in one sitting for its sugars to affect you the same way as those in a soda. You’d need to eat 3 to 6 apples to get the same amount of sugar as in one 8-ounce glass of juice. You’d need to eat 2 to 4 oranges.

Meantime, 12 ounces of juice may have as much or even more sugar as that can of sugary soda.

Really, fruit is okay. Yes, there’s naturally occurring sugar in it. Like anything, you should avoid it in excess. But to treat it like the equivalent of pop or some other sugar-saturated product? That’s a whole lot of spin…

Image by Marco Verch, via Flickr


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