Fresh fruits are universally considered beneficial components of a healthy, well-balanced diet. But are all fruits equal? And what about fruit juices?
Generally, the naturally occurring sugars in fruit can be said to be good sugars, and the fruit itself is better than fruit juice.
What makes some sugars better than others? It essentially comes down to how quickly the sugars are released. In this context, slower is better.
When sugars are absorbed slowly, blood sugar levels rise slowly as well. This is a good thing because the subsequent decline in blood sugars is gradual as well.
When sugars are absorbed quickly, we can first experience a "sugar rush" –– then blood sugars plunge rapidly (hypoglycemia) which in turn creates cravings for quick carbohydrate fixes. So we overeat to satisfy the cravings and it fosters a vicious cycle of overeating, which leads to more fat, more insulin resistance, more hunger and more weight gain.
Compared to most other foods, sugar that comes from fruit is released slowly. When it comes to obesity, slower sugar is better for you.
Medical researchers devised a scale to compare how a given amount of various food increases your blood sugar (how fast and how much) compared to a standard (white bread or pure glucose).
Here are a few examples of the Glycemic Index (GI) for some common fruits:
Cherries –– 32
Peach –– 40
Orange/Pear –– 47
Apple –– 55
Raisins –– 64
Banana –– 89
Pineapple –– 94
Watermelon –– 103
Notes: Fruit juices break down more quickly than whole fruit and therefore usually have higher a Glycemic Index. Although its GI is high, the number of carbohydrates in Watermelon is very low so its impact on blood sugar levels is modest at comparable food volumes. Lastly, the Glycemic Index applies to more than just fruit. Expanded information can be found at: