Is Sugar in Fruits and Berries Really Healthier?

In summer, pies, and chocolate go to the second plan – finally, fresh seasonal fruits appear: strawberries are replaced by apricots, then peaches and raspberries come, and by the end of summer – the period of grapes, watermelons, and melons. Oddly enough, all this time, many supporters of a healthy diet are struggling with the desire to feast on ripe fruits, seeing them as solid carbohydrates. Understanding how fruit sugars differ from refined sugars and foods with added sweeteners and figuring out the place of fruits in a balanced diet.

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The sugar found in berries and fruits and making up the lion’s share of their energy value is called fructose. It is a close relative of glucose: they have the same chemical formula C6H12O6. Our cells can use both to generate energy. In spite of the fact that fructose tastes twice as sweet as glucose, both contain 4 kcal per gram. From these two monosaccharides, sucrose is formed – in other words, sugar – and in the body, it again breaks down into glucose and fructose.

In the chemical sense, there is no difference between “natural” and “artificial” fructose: their molecules are absolutely indistinguishable, have the same properties, and behave in the same way in the human body. In industry, fructose is for the most part gotten by the technique for glucose isomerization utilizing catalysts. “Natural” fructose, which is found in fruits and vegetables, is produced in cells in the same way. Unlike glucose, fructose is absorbed by the intestines rather slowly, but it is broken down much faster. Some of the fructose is converted to glucose, which only slightly increases blood sugar levels. Fructose is almost completely absorbed by liver cells, rapidly converting to free fatty acids.

Everyone who needs a balanced diet has learned long ago that, say, corn syrup or sugar is not healthy sweeteners, but the reason is not that corn syrup contains industrially produced fructose, but sugar is a disaccharide. It’s mainly about quantity: consuming the same amount of “natural” fructose in the form of fruit will have the same effect. As we have found, fructose is converted into fat much faster than glucose, and in large quantities can significantly increase the level of triglycerides (fats) in the body. At the same time, of course, it is extremely difficult to eat an amount of fruit in one sitting, which is equal in sugar content to a bar of milk chocolate, and in calorie content – to three Old Fashioned cocktails.

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The convergence of normally happening sugar in organic products is altogether lower than in instant items with included sugar. Besides, even bread or sour cream manufacturers often cannot do without sweeteners, so it is important to pay attention to the composition. As you know, an excess amount of sugar entering the body can cause fatigue and apathy, and over time lead to tooth loss, obesity, and possibly osteoporosis. Since the point is not in the origin of sugar, but in its concentration, then this applies not only to table refined sugar but also to its supposedly “dietary” substitutes, as well as maple syrup, molasses, and honey. It makes sense to limit the amount of sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, and other highly concentrated “-oz” used in the production of beverages, confectionery, and baked goods.

Of course, fruits are not all glucose: they are made up of water, fiber, and a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals, making them an important part of a healthy diet. Many fruits contain phenols, antioxidants that can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases suspected of being associated with free radicals. Antioxidants attach to unpaired electrons on the outer electron shell of the free radical and remove it from the body.

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter