We all know that too much sugar can have negative effects on our health, but what's the deal with naturally-occurring sugar in fruit? Fruit is great because it provides an incredible range of nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and electrolytes. And it's obviously a better choice than sugary sweets and desserts.
That said, some fruits do contain a lot of sugar, and even though it’s natural, it can sometimes be too much for people with certain health goals. Plus, low carbohydrate diets have gained popularity, tempting people to remove all sources of sugar, including fruit. So where’s the line? How do you know when you should limit your fruit intake?
- The Basics -
- Which fruits are best for me? -
OK, bear with us while we get technical for a moment — this will help explain why we recommend certain fruits over others: You may have heard of the “glycemic index,” which rates a food’s ability to raise blood sugar levels. A better predictor of our body’s response to fruit is “glycemic load,” which takes into account the serving size of that food we typically eat in a sitting.
This is why we recommend focusing on fruits like berries and kiwi, and limiting fruits like bananas and grapes — it’s not just about how much sugar they contain, it’s about how that sugar impacts your blood sugar levels. People are often surprised that we recommend eating fruits like apples and watermelon because they have a lot of sugar — but in fact, they have a low glycemic load, so they’re good choices!
- Who should limit fruit? -
Individuals looking to:
In these cases, we typically recommend avoiding or limiting these higher glycemic load fruit:
- Which are the best fruits to enjoy? -
Most people can enjoy 1-2 servings per day of any fruit, but we tend to recommend these lower-sugar fruits:
Lemons, limes, and vegetable-type fruits like avocados and cucumbers can be enjoyed freely!
*Individuals on certain medications, like statins, should not eat grapefruit as it interacts with the drug’s metabolism in the body. Check with your doctor if you’re not sure whether it’s right for you.
- Blueberries: a shining example -
Blueberries are a great example of a highly beneficial fruit. They’re known as a “superfood” because of their high polyphenol levels, a type of antioxidant.
- The bottom line -
Fruit has many benefits — no one should fear it! We just want you to understand which fruits provide the most nutritional bang for your buck. Although it might be necessary for certain people to keep an eye on fruit sugar consumption at times, this may not be the case for everyone. It’s all about finding your personal sweet spot!
Keep in mind that this is generalized information, so please consult with your doctor or nutritionist. Or better yet, come see us at The Morrison Center for dietary recommendations that specifically caters to your health goals.
WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK
This guide was written by Dr. Morrison and the health and nutrition experts at The Morrison Center. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health through the treatment and prevention of disease.
Dr. Jeffrey Morrison is an award-winning medical doctor, a leader in the field of Integrative Medicine, and champion of a nutritional approach to healthcare
Robin is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine and holistic healing modalities. She helps her clients address complicated conditions and return to wellness.
Stephanie is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner with a passion for helping her clients fulfill their potential through both emotional and physical optimization.