First of all, I want to wish all my fellow Canadian Dietitian’s a Happy Dietitian’s Day. I knew I had to come up with something special for today’s article not only to celebrate this special day but to celebrate Nutrition Month as a whole.
Recent times have seen an up swell of anti-sugar sentiment, particularly among media members, the public and certain pockets of the scientific community.
Having done a graduate student placement at the Canadian Sugar Institute, this is something that I have grown accustomed to.
Don’t get me wrong, as a dietitian I mostly have nothing against peoples concerns that foods like soft drinks and candy are full of sugar(s) and are detrimental to the public health of all Canadians. In fact, soft drinks are the #1 source of calories in our diet that comes from non-food guide foods.
Where I draw the line, however, is when fruit somehow finds its way into the firing line.
And believe me, it DOES happen.
Let’s be perfectly clear on a few key points here:
- Yes, many of us eat more calories than we should.
- Yes, some of these calories come from foods that contain sugar(s).
- No, there is nothing uniquely evil about sugar(s), what matters most is the context.
- We consume quite a few sugar-rich calories from items like pop, fruit drinks, and jams/honeys/syrups, chocolate etc.
- Yes, fruit also contains sugar(s), but also contains many of the most potent and healthful nutrients on planet earth.
- Yet, many of us do NOT eat as many fruits and veggies as we should be maintain optimal health.
- Conclusion: The sugar in fruit is not doing any harm to the vast majority of people out there ( read on).
Fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and other healthful compounds that keep us both nourished and satisfied. Contributing to both weight management and a reduction in the risk of a variety of chronic diseases. ( diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer).
Even with all this being said, I know there are people out there excluding fruits from their diet for fear of the sugar content.
I know this not only because I’ve witnessed this sentiment online, but also because I’ve seen clients with these same beliefs.
I will you what I tell them : don’t.
It is not anywhere close to your best interests to restrict your intake of fruit!!
The only reason that I can justify to moderate your fruit intake is if:
1) You have to for a medical reason: Such as monitoring carbohydrate amount/timing in diabetes, restricting certain fruits due to FODMAPS in IBS.
2) You are struggling to manage your weight and currently eat a whole lot of fruit ( ie: 5+ servings a day): Where the extra calories from fruit may be potentially compromising your weight management goals ( this is a stretch, but possible.)
** For the record, the average calorie value of commonly consumed fruits like medium sized apples, bananas and oranges is only 100 calories!
If you are truly worried about your health and you believe your intake of sugar(s) may be compromising your well-being, then please, by all means, cut back on soft drinks, chocolate bars and the use of syrups like honey and jam which are some of the most common contributors of sugar-rich calories in the Canadian diet.
But please, do not cut out fruit!
Today’s message has been sponsored by Mother Nature… ( tongue in cheek)
Until next time,
Andy De Santis RD MPH