Does the sugar in fruits make you fat?

‘You should eat more fruits and vegetables to be healthy.’ 

This is a standard statement that we hear often. Yet, there is often a debate about how much fruit to consume, as fruits also contain some sugar. Many believe that eating too much fruit can make you fat, because it contains ‘sugars’. 

But before we dive into whether fruit sugar makes you fat, let’s understand what fruit sugar is. 

What is fruit sugar? 

Generally, fructose is known as the ‘fruit sugar’ because it naturally occurs in all fruits. However, there are two types of sugar in fruit: fructose and glucose and these are generally present in equal amounts. 

How is fruit sugar different from added sugar?

Sugar is the primary source of energy for the body. Sugars naturally found in food are considered much better than table sugar as it comes with a ton of micronutrients (vitamin A and C, folates, numerous minerals) and fibres. They also contain a ton of anti-oxidants which help reduce inflammation and gives your immune system a boost. They also get digested slower than glucose as they are processed slowly in the body.

While table sugar provides empty calories, they also raise blood sugar levels immediately leading to high blood glucose circulating in the body. Moreover, if not utilised thoroughly, it gets converted into fats and stored in the body leading to weight gain. 

Having said that, when either of these sugars, fruit or table, is consumed in excess, you will weight gain.  

Positive effects of fruit sugar on weight 

It’s common knowledge that fruit and vegetables are a healthy diet staple, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. However, fruit contains more natural sugars than vegetables. For the same reason, it is debated whether it’s good for weight loss. But do not fret; read on to know why fruit sugar isn’t bad for your weight.

Fruit Contains Natural Sugars

The natural sugar in fruit is quite different from the added sugars. Fruit sugars are a mixture of fructose, glucose, and sucrose. But when consumed in large amounts, fructose may be harmful, contributing to obesity, liver disease and heart problems. For such reasons, many people eliminate fruit from their diet. However, it’s essential to understand that eating a large amount of fruit (where the fructose content is dangerously high) at one go is close to impossible. So, the sugar content of fruit does not pose a health risk. 

Fruit Can Keep You Feeling Full

Fruits are low in calories and high in water and fiber content. Also, fibre moves slowly through your stomach increasing digestion time. It also helps to reach a feeling of satiety, promotes gut health, and provides essential nutrients.

Research studies have shown that high fiber intake can also help with weight loss, leading to a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Several other studies have found an association between fruit intake and weight loss. Again, because of the high fiber content. 

Fruit is a staple component of a whole-food diet, which has been shown to increase weight loss in its own right. And studies have suggested that participants who ate a whole-food, plant-based diet experienced significantly decreased body weight and blood cholesterol. Even fenugreek seeds and supplements provide good fibre to reach early satiety and manage blood glucose levels better.

Fruit Is Low in Calories and High in Nutrients

Fruit is a nutrient-dense food that is low in calories but high in nutrients. They provide vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and fiber; these nutrients are suitable for overall health. Hence, it is beneficial for the body in the multiple ways. 

Fruits can help you achieve your daily nutrient goals easy. A large-sized orange can meet about 163% of your daily vitamin C requirement, which is much needed to boost your immune system. While a medium-sized banana provides 12% of the potassium required daily, which helps regulate the nerves, muscles and heart. 

Fruits are also high in antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative stress and lower the risk of certain chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. 

Consuming low-calorie fruits in place of a high-calorie snack can help to create a calorie deficit. And a calorie-deficit is the only way to lose weight. You can also go a quick cardio session on your exercise bike for weight loss or a heavy weight capacity treadmill to help you burn those extra calories. 

How to incorporate fruits into the diet?

Snacking on whole fruits instead of high-calorie foods such as candies, cookies and chips can significantly reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss. Avoid consuming high-calorie or high-fat foods. Instead, swap the options with a healthier one:

  1. Swap flavoured yoghurt with plain yoghurt topped with fresh-cut fruits
  2. Consume whole fruits instead of juices
  3. Use fresh fruit puree for milkshakes without straining instead of flavoured sugar syrups 

With a few simple swaps, you can reduce the amount of added sugars ingested into your body and reach your fitness goals.

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Healthy and Khush is a blog dedicated to sharing science-based tips and hacks that will help you lose weight and keep it off.

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