Welcome to Week 9 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge!
Today we are starting the myth busting portion of the Eat the Rainbow Challenge!
True or False: Fruit is high in sugar.
This week we are going to debunk the common myth about sugar in fruit, and explain the difference between simple sugars and complex carbohydrates.
We have already discussed carbohydrates and their benefits in Week 4 of this Challenge (check it out here if you haven’t already), but this week we are going to dive a little deeper into the topic of sugar.
All types of sugar are carbohydrates, but not all types of sugar are the same.
The term “simple sugar” refers to monosaccharides (aka small carbohydrates) that are broken down quickly in our body. When you eat this type of sugar, it may lead to spikes in blood glucose due to its quick digestion.
This is the type of sugar that we recommend you consume in moderation as eating patterns that include a high intake of simple sugars has been shown to promote disease. It can be found in things like soda (and other sweetened beverages), candy, high fructose corn syrup, and table sugar.
On the other hand, there are also “complex carbohydrates”, which are also a type of sugar, but should not be avoided. In fact, we encourage them!
Foods with complex carbs get broken down in your body into simple sugars, but also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains all contain complex carbs. Given their more complex structure, they also take longer to digest in your body, and therefore do not lead to blood sugar spikes like simple sugars.
So, is fruit “high” in sugar? NO.
Yes, fruit contains some sugar, as do all carbohydrates, but it does not contain nearly as much as something like a soda. The amount found in fruits is the right balance for your body.
Here’s an example:
- One 12 oz. Coca Cola contains 39 grams of sugar
- One apple contains 19 grams of sugar
Not to mention that the sugar in Coca Cola comes from high fructose corn syrup (a simple sugar) whereas the natural sugar in an apple comes along with fiber (which helps to stabilize blood sugar), phytochemicals, and vitamin C.
So next time someone tells you not to eat fruit because “it is so high in sugar!” – don’t believe the hype. Grab that apple or banana and eat it knowing that you are doing something good for your body.
If you want to learn more about sugar and cancer, or carbohydrates in general, check out these Cancer Dietitian blog posts:
Week 9 Challenge:
Eat an extra serving of fruit this week! Make a fruit smoothie, eat an orange as a snack, sprinkle some berries on your salad – the options are endless! Let us know how you enjoyed your extra fruit on our Facebook page.
Produce Highlight of the Week: Blueberries
Blueberries are listed as one of the American Institute for Cancer Research’s “Foods that Fight Cancer”. These small, deep blue berries are full of phytochemicals and nutrients that have shown to have possible anti-cancer effects in lab studies. They also contain antioxidants that help prevent DNA damage.
How to Use
Can be used fresh or frozen just as you would any other fruit. Blueberries make a great topping for our granola parfait recipe below!Print
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 single-serve container Greek yogurt
- Blueberries or other fruit for topping
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until the dry ingredients are coated.
- Pour the mixture out onto a baking sheet in a thin, even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and stir. Bake for 10 more minutes, making sure the granola doesn’t burn.
- Remove granola from the oven and let cool.
- Place Greek yogurt into a bowl.
- Add desired amount of granola on top of the yogurt.
- Top with blueberries or other fruit.
-Julie & Intern Carolyn