5.29.2014

Living Healthy and Happy: Fruit is Not a Free Food


We have learned throughout our lives that fruits and vegetables are very good for you. And yes they are.....but it is important to understand a few things about natures candy. First and foremost, it is not a free food. 

Let's talk a little about carbohydrates. There are simple carbohydrates (structures that are almost instantly absorbed into the body and used for energy) and there are complex carbohydrates that are more "complex" and take longer for the body to absorb and use for energy. 

A few common simple carbohydrates or simple sugars are glucose, fructose (fruit) lactose (milk) and sucrose (sugar). The body absorbs these very quickly and cause a fast rise in your blood sugars. 

Complex carbohydrates are our starchy foods. Things like grains and starchy vegetables are complex and do not enter the bloodstream as quickly as simple sugars. The body needs to break down these foods to obtain glucose for our blood so there is a more gradual rise in your blood sugars. 

So now that we talked about the basic sugars, you can see that fruit sugar and sucrose fall into the same category, but we know that fruit is healthier than table sugar. 

It is healthier because it has fiber, water and air so it will help keep your tummy fuller longer than a piece of candy if you had to choose. It has vitamins, minerals and healthy antioxidants that can keep your cells healthy. 

But it is not a free food.

Fruit does have calories and does have sugar. Tropical fruits and dried fruit can have similar sugar quantities of different types of candy in a serving size. Certain dried fruit can actually have more sugar in comparison with certain candies. And don't even get me started about the sugar content in juice compared to an average 12 ounce soda. 

Bottom line, fruit is healthy but when eaten properly. If you are looking to maintain healthy eating habits, consume no more than 3 fist-size servings of fresh or no sugar added frozen fruit/day. If you are looking to lose weight, I recommend 2 fist-size servings. (How many bananas have you met that are fist-sized?  Exactly. 1/2 of a banana is usually 1 serving of fruit). 

My top fruit favs:  apples, pears, berries, kiwi 

And yes a piece of fruit is always a better choice if your sweet tooth is bothering you but always remember:  nothing in life is free. 

For more information on how to start living YOUR healthy life and discuss an individualized plan for you, call or email me at 515.285.7266 | acundiff@hy-vee.com