We know that eating too much sugar is not just bad for our weight, but that it also has a significant impact on our teeth and overall health. Now, research is showing us that even some naturally occurring sugars, in foods that are ordinarily considered good for us, can have a detrimental effect on both dental health and blood sugar levels.
Fruit has long been universally recognised as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. After all, it’s a great source of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It’s also very easy to eat, and that’s where the problems start. The very thing that makes fruit so sweet and appealing – high levels of naturally occurring sugar, called fructose – is also what makes it potentially harmful.
The old saying "an apple a day, keeps the doctor away” is still true. And of course, apples and other fruits will always be a better alternative to processed snacks high in sugar and empty calories. But many dentists now recommend you avoid excessive consumption of foods that are high in fructose – and that includes fruit. In particular, you should be careful of items masquerading as healthier options, like fruit smoothies bought at cafes or fast food outlets.
Most people will be shocked to know that most commercial smoothies contain more sugar than a can of coke. When the fruit is crushed and squeezed, all of the natural sugar is released. Often, restaurants will add artificial sweeteners, sugar or honey to give your smoothie that sweet taste. The result is a high sugar drink that will cause your blood sugar to spike, leaving you feeling tired, irritable and craving more sugar. All that while you thought you were making a healthy decision!
You should also avoid drinking too much fruit juice for much the same reasons. Although a great source of important vitamins, you’re much better off eating the fruit whole and having a drink of water if you’re thirsty. This is particularly important if you’re trying to manage your weight: whole fruit not only has less sugar, it also offers more fibre than fruit juice (keeping you feeling fuller for longer) and contains less calories.
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