Anyone who’s trying to watch their sugar intake eventually wonders, “Hey, what about the sugar in fruit? Isn’t that the same as refined sugar?” The answer’s yes, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
According to obesity expert Dr. David Ludwig, the sugar in fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects, no matter how much you eat. In fact, research shows that people who eat fruit several times a day have a lower risk of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases compared to people who eat little or no fruit.
So why is sugar okay in fruit, but bad for you in everything else? The difference is the fiber. The sugar in fruit is contained inside the fiber cells, which means our bodies have to break down the fiber before the sugar is available. In other words, fruit sugars are “time-released.” And that helps keep hunger hormones under control and avoids blood sugar spikes. So enjoy all the fruit you want. But stay away from fruit juice. Nutrition expert Dr. David Katz says juicing breaks down fiber cells and releases all the sugar at once, which makes it no better than processed sugar.