Are Fruit Sugars Bad for You?


Sugar vs Sugar In Fruit - Are They The Same_ - Isabelle Mckenzie.png

Sugar vs Sugar In Fruit - Are They The Same?

Are fruit sugars bad for you? You’ve probably seen a whole bunch of conflicting posts on social media and beyond about SUGAR and its effects (or lack there of). You’ve probably also seen some people saying that even fruit sugars are bad, and certain diets banning fruit for fear of calories, sugar, high carbohydrate contents, and more. With all of this conflicting info, it almost feels like eating strawberries and a banana for breakfast is the same as eating cake for breakfast! BUT, don’t worry, I got ya, and I'm ready to shed some light on this confusing subject!

Are fruit sugars bad for you? You’ve probably seen a whole bunch of conflicting posts on social media and beyond about SUGAR and its effects (or lack there of). You’ve probably also seen some people saying that even fruit sugars are bad, and certain diets banning fruit for fear of calories, sugar, high carbohydrate contents, and more. With all of this conflicting info, it almost feels like eating strawberries and a banana for breakfast is the same as eating cake for breakfast! BUT, don’t worry, I got ya, and I'm ready to shed some light on this confusing subject!

So yes, fruits are relatively high in sugar especially when compared to other whole foods.

For this reason, you might be having doubts about fruit and might be wondering whether they are truly healthy after all.

But before we can get into the specs behind fruit, we first need to understand a couple of things about sugar!

Let’s start with a simple question:

Do we even need sugar?

Yes, and NO.

Firstly, there are different types of sugars which are found in food: natural sugar, like fructose, the sugar found in fruit (I'll talk about this in a second,) lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products, and then there is added sugar, which is normally refined sugar or sweetener that is added to food or drinks (like the type you’ll find in baking and processed foods.)

What we’re talking about here is both natural sugar (I'll talk about this in a second) and refined sugar (the type you’ll find in baking and processed foods).

The answer would actually be that you need NATURAL sugars, but NOT the refined kind; meaning that if you never ate a tablespoon of granulated sugar again, you would be totally okay.

Everyone needs natural sugar to maintain proper blood sugar levels in the body.

Sugar is energy for your brain, muscles and organs - they all need glucose to function. The best form of this energy is from fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates that have fiber, vitamins and other minerals our bodies need.

But the thing is, that like refined sugar, you need to eat NATURAL SUGAR in a limited manner - more on this in a second.

Why is sugar so bad for you?

Firstly, to properly answer that question we have to breakdown what sugar actually is.

So sugar is a carbohydrate. Sugar in itself is not a food group. Sugar in its natural form is found in fruit, and in unrefined carbohydrates like brown rice.

However, sugar that is created from we humans processing it, is what we call, processed sugar. This refined sugar is not a food. It is a pure chemical. It contains:

  • no nutrients

  • no protein

  • no healthy fats

  • no enzymes

Nothing good for you, and nothing needed by your body.

And again, from a nutritional standpoint, your body does not need refined sugar. If you never ate another morsel of candy, sugar or starch again, you would live quite comfortably and in far better health.

Let me just repeat that in case the enormity of it didn’t sink in.

The fact is, there is...

No. Dietary. Requirement. For. Processed Sugar.

You need to eat protein. You need to eat carbohydrates. You need to eat fat. You do NOT need to eat any processed refined sugar at all because nature already provides it in the aforementioned food types.

27 Hidden Sugar Foods to Watch Out for Checklist + Shopping Guide Thumb 500px.png

27 Hidden-Sugar Foods To Watch Out For Checklist + Shopping Guide PDF

So in other words, everyone needs sugar found in nature (natural sugar) to maintain proper blood sugar levels in the body, but NOT refined sugar.

Why processed sugar is bad for you.

Processed, refined sugar is both bad for our body and our mind. Yep, you read that correctly, I did write mind!

This is because it directly effects our body’s fragile hormonal balance. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers; get them out-of-whack and you’re looking at triggering many nasty health conditions because, this type of sugar literally attacks and hurts the neurons in our brains, causing depression, difficulty concentrating, irritability, moods swings, and so on.

In other words, sugar messes with your mind.

Now, to understand why it’s really bad for your body, let me get a little bit sciency and tell you what happens when you eat it - after all - knowledge is power, and the better you understand the low down on refined sugar the more likely you are to going to be able to reduce how much of it that you consume.

After all, prevention is better than cure - right?!

Okay, let’s do this!

How processed sugar affects your body.

Your pancreas releases insulin to round up sugar, and the first place your body tries to store sugar is in muscle. The problem is when your muscles are full, it stores excess sugar in fat cells - causing nightmarish cellulite. To make it worse, the more sugar you eat, the more work your pancreas and liver have to do to maintain equilibrium.

With frequent insulin spikes from the sugar, come more insulin and leptin resistance. This means more insulin production, more fat storage and more insulin resistance.

The hormone leptin controls hunger, manages fat metabolism, and monitors how much energy is circulating in the body. Leptin is actually produced by fat cells, and those who have difficulty trying to lose weight generally have leptin resistance.

Leptin resistance is perceived by the body as starvation, which causes the body to store more fat. It also stimulates formation of reverse T3 (thyroid hormone) which blocks thyroid effect on metabolism.

Lost? 😐 Don’t worry, let me summarise.

A person’s body can believe it’s starving (when it's not) and that causes your body to keep telling you to eat more - even though it's just excess calories that you don’t need.

It’s a terrible cycle, which essentially, leptin resistance can trigger. 😔

Some of the causes of high leptin include stress, high insulin levels, overeating, over exercising, and lack of sleep, but I’ll explain that soon. The scary fact is that insulin and leptin resistance put you at risk for type II diabetes if you’re: overweight, sedentary, or have an unhealthy lifestyle.

Whether you’re skinny or overweight, if you fit any of those 3 categories it can happen to you - no discrimination.

The long and the short of it is that you are RADICALLY increasing your chances of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, alzheimer’s, non-alcoholic fatty liver, and issues in pregnancy, and in fact even children are now being diagnosed with high blood pressure- once an extremely rare occurrence.

But here’s the real breaking news - evidence is mounting that sugar is the cause for most cancers.

As tasty as it is, a recent study found that SUGAR FEEDS the GROWTH of CANCER cells.


One of the researchers from that study, Johan Thevelein, Ph.D., a molecular biologist from LU Leuven in Belgium, said, ‘Our research reveals how the hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth.’

And that, ‘This link between sugar and cancer has sweeping consequences.’

The bottom line then, is that eating processed sugar daily is hurting your health. Period.

Okay so now that you’re right up to speed on processed sugars, and their dangers, let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about the sugars found in fruit, and some powerful facts you should be aware of when buying packaged fruit type products: Hint- yep, the food industry has been up to some pretty sneaky tactics! No surprise right?!

Are fruits sugars bad for you? What you need to know about the sugars found in fruit! 🍎

So, fruit contains three types of sugar: fructose, glucose, and a combination of the two, called sucrose.

When you look at fruit and sweets, the sources of the sugar are different, but your body can't fully tell the difference. Whether it’s white sugar, honey, agave, or corn syrup, they're all kinds processed in a similar way.

Fruit and processed sugar product both contain sugar, and both are processed in your body similarly, but AFFECT your body differently. Let’s take a look at the nutritional profile of each.

Fruit Sugar Vs. Processed Sugar

For example, you have a can of sweetened soda.

That’s going to be 140 calories of sugar and literally nothing else (well, maybe some harmful chemicals).

Now let’s say you have one apple and one pear.

That’s 190 calories combined, but these fruits aren’t just sugar and nothing - they’re providing you with vitamins and minerals like fiber and potassium, and are packed with immune system boosting antioxidants.

And the sugar content of the fruits? Entirely natural and unprocessed fruit sugars.

This is exactly why fruit is not like candy, sugar or starch which you could theoretically be fine never eating again.

Eating fruit in small amounts daily is totally fine for healthy people and is also needed for health.

However, according to a report by Dr. Joseph Mercola, ‘75 percent of the population needs to restrict fruit intake, and this is directly related to its fructose content.’ This is because they are eating and drinking to MUCH SUGAR.

So, are fruit sugars bad for you?

Are fruit sugars bad for you? Basically, no, but it’s more complicated than that.

As we spoke about earlier, fruit has fructose that metabolizes into fat in your liver, and of course eating large amounts may cause negative side effects.

Meaning, if you like to consume large amounts of fruit, or even worse, consume large amounts of processed sugary foods and drinks, you’ll possibly be increasing your risk of conditions like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and the list goes on.

Yes, fruit contains fructose, but eating fruit in moderation is not the main problem. The main culprit is the refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup being consumed along side it, especially in the form of soda, fruit juice and other beverages.

Most people need the vitamins minerals, antioxidants, water and, fiber, that come with fruit.

Plus, that fibre that comes from fruit slows the absorption of sugar into your body, so you don't get a spike in blood sugar levels when you eat fruit, unlike when you eat cinnabon or some other processed sugary food.

Fruit also usually has way less sugar by volume when compared with a sugary soda or candy bar. 🍫

So, what I suggest is that you simply consume fruit according to your nutrition type.

What is that supposed to mean? 🤨

Fruit sugars and health conditions.

Well, people with high insulin levels need to measure and be careful about how much fruit they eat.

Anyone can find out their fasting insulin level by getting it measured, but you are generally prone to insulin resistance syndrome if you are: overweight, or have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, yeast Infections.

What are some of the best fruits to eat?

The best fruits for you are fruits with skin (the skin is usually very rich in antioxidants and fiber) and small berries. Why are berries healthier for you than larger fruits? Because they have more skin, gram for gram.

Most of fruit’s healthy benefits are stored in the skin and the seeds!

It’s also good to shake things up and eat a good variety of fruits because they all have different nutrients. For example, eat watermelon (which has a high water content) in the hot summer to hydrate you.

However, for optimal health, I suggest you eat fruit according to your nutritional type (if you want to learn more about nutritional types and find yours, I suggest you check out this post from Dr. Mercola)

For example, if you are a carbohydrate type of person, you will generally do well eating a moderate amount of fruit, but if you’re more of a protein type, eating fruits will not be as beneficial to you - except for coconut that is, as because coconut is HIGH in good fat content.

Everyone should at least try to eat mostly specific fruits that are unique to your nutritional type and biochemistry.

Be wary of fruit and green juices, canned and dried fruits

You need to be REALLY CAREFUL about sugary fruit, dried and canned fruit, fruit and green juice, and smoothies. These are all usually loaded with unhealthy amounts of sugar; the first reason for this is that the sugar is more concentrated (also making it calorie dense), and two, these foods tend to have hidden added refined sugars!

·         Canned Fruit –

MANY canned fruits are peeled and preserved in super processed sugary syrup.

To make it worse, this process destroys the fruit’s fiber, strips heat-sensitive vitamin C and adds a bunch of sugar you don’t need.

·         Green Juices –

When you drink your next green juice, make sure to check out the label. The very first ingredients will tend to be apple juice, so the sugar content of what you’re drinking is actually really high. As you know, too much fruit is not a good thing, esp. when it’s had the important fiber blended or juiced out.

For example, drinks such as Naked Juice Green Machine sport label “zero added sugar,” but don’t be misled:

a close look at the label reveals 53 grams of natural sugars and 270 calories in one 15-ounce bottle. Consider a 15 ounce Coke which contains 49 grams of sugars—almost the same amount.

The reason for the sugary overload is the fruit-to-veggie juice ratio.

·         Fruit Juices –

Of course, like whole fruit, fruit juice contains vitamins and minerals needed for health. Unfortunately, though, despite looking like a healthy option, these vitamins and minerals come with a dose of sugar and not too much fiber.

You see, usually it takes a whole lot of fruit just to makes simple single glass of fruit juice, so you get way more sugar in a glass of juice than you would get from eating whole fruit.

This makes it easier to consume a large amount of natural sugar, leading to a higher risk of diabetes and weight gain.

·         Dried Fruit –

Eat an average 4.5 Oz bag of dried apples and you’re enjoying 360 calories and a whopping 70 grams of sugar.

The World Health Organization suggests the average person keeps their sugar intake to the 25 grams, even if it’s from natural sources. Gosh! AND, that’s not even a bag of dried fruit with added sugar.

Many dried fruit companies sneak hidden sugar into their bags of fruit.

Although dried fruit is higher in sugar, it can make a good snack if you’re going to do a long activity where you’re burning a lot of energy, like hiking. Just make sugar there is no sneaky added sugar.

·         Smoothies –

If you thought smoothies were safe because ‘they’re not juice’ think again.

They are full of fruit and dairy which unfortunately have a lot of natural sugars, and since the fruit is blended into liquid, you will drink more fruits then you would eat.

It gets worse when you buy commercially produced smoothies, which tend to come in large sizes and can be sweetened with things like fruit juice, ice cream or syrup, which increase their sugar content.

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Some can be as crazy high as over 97 gram of sugar in a single serving.

Blending fruits with yogurt in the morning can still be a great way to start your day, but if you’re buying a smoothie try and find a well-balanced one, check the ingredients and make sure you watch your portion size.

The best way to have a well-balanced healthy smoothie is to make it yourself.

Drinking smoothies can even give you fab skin glow, I have a list of the best fruit to blends up over at my post on 12 Easy Diet Changes For Better Skin You Need To Try.

How to create a healthy smoothie.

To create a well-balanced smoothie, I would personally suggest:

1. Start with a liquid base. Never use juice as your liquid base, use filtered water with a bit of yogurt for creaminess or your favorite milk substitute.

2. This might seem obvious but never add sweeteners, including natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and agave. Don’t even add dates because you’re already eating fruit and you don’t need the extra sugar.

3. If you have to have a sweetener, only ever use a low glycemic organic stevia. Personally I love Vanilla Stevia drops.

4. Use the 60/40 ratio. Use 60% greens and 40% fruits. Usually it would be around 3 cups of leafy greens and 2 cups of low sugar fruit to make 2 servings in a recipe. I highly recommend using cucumber, because it’s high in water content so it’s low in calories, but it still gives a smoothie some bulk.

5. Try and use low sugar fruits and if you do use a high sugar fruit like a banana, try to make it your only fruit. I suggest using berries as they have less sugar than the average fruit and lots of fiber, and you may add one other low sugar fruit such as apple or some other kind of berry.

Next time you want a fruity snack, opt for whole, fresh fruit, which is best.

If you really want canned fruit, look for one that has been preserved in juice and that is lower in sugar.

When it comes to fruit juice, which is not ideal, your best bet is 100 percent real fruit juice, no added sugar. Be very careful to moderate how much you drink - juice just doesn’t carry the same and can be easy to overconsume due to its liquid form.

The lowdown: are fruit sugars bad for you, and how much fruit you should eat.

It all comes down to who you are and what your goal is.

Eating fruit in small amounts daily is totally fine for healthy people and is also needed for good health, providing vitamins and minerals like fiber and potassium, and immune system boosting antioxidants. Fruit sugar is entirely natural and unprocessed.

However, if you have high insulin levels, you need to be very careful when consuming fruit.

You are more prone to insulin resistance syndrome if you are also: overweight, or have either high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or yeast infections. You can find out your fasting insulin level (to be sure) by getting it measured.

No matter your situation, I do suggest that you always watch your consumption of natural and processed sugar, as fruit still does contain fructose.

Try to eat mostly specific fruits that are unique to your nutritional type and biochemistry.

Some fruits are better than others. Berries are the best as they have more skin gram for gram, and are lower in sugar. Also, strawberries, papaya, guava, grapefruit and figs all contain less than 7 grams of sugar per serving.

High-sugar fruits with more than 10 grams per serving are apples, bananas, cherries, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, kiwi and pears.

The Bottom Line Is This….

At the end of the day, yes, fruit has sugar in it - some having more than others - but as long as you moderate your consumption, focus on eating fruits which are rich in nutrients, have a balanced diet which isn’t full of processed sugar and don’t have high insulin levels, eating a potassium rich banana for breakfast isn’t going put you on the path of diabetes.

Although eating whole fruits can be healthy, the same isn’t true for fruity foods like fruit juice and dried fruit.

These fruity snacks and drinks usually contain way more fruit than if you ate them whole (leading the sugar content to increase), are easy to overeat, and can contain sneakily hidden added processed sugars.

If you have trouble balancing your sugar intake because of sugar cravings or sugar obsession, you are not alone.

You can defeat it - I definitely did, and that’s why I am so passionate about raising awareness about everything to do with sugar and I also know how you can beat it and balance it.

For an extra boost, I put together some really wonderful help on cutting back sugar cravings for good.

Check out my FREE ‘Ultimate Guide to Crushing Your Sugar Cravings’ Downloadable Guide.

Get started on effortlessly breaking your sugar reliance/addiction for good with help + support.

AND, most importantly, while maintaining a healthy balance between your mind and your body - because low-sugar living shouldn’t feel like deprivation.

I would love to hear from you. Do you experience cravings for sugar and refined foods? Does it effect your life? Do you balance your fruit intake? What nutritional type are you, and how do you balance it?!

With the right advice we can crush our sugar cravings and create balance for when we have sugar, so we can still enjoy our lives and be healthy. My mum always says, “Izzie life is for living”, and it’s so true.

That’s it from me, have a fruit-tastic day! See what I did there?

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