TEMPLE, Texas — Over the last few years, fruits have gotten a bad rap because many people are cutting sugar from their diets. In this week's “Your Best Life” Leslie Draffin chatted with a registered nurse, who owns a chain of healthy food stores, to find out what types of sugars we should avoid and why we shouldn’t worry about fruit sugar.
Lisa Kelly knows a thing or two about sugar. She can pinpoint when the attitude towards fruit started to sour.
"Years ago, we thought that fat was what was causing all of the issues in this life and everything with fat was going to make people fat," Kelly said. "So, what we did is we remove all the fat from everything and in order to create flavor in it, we superimposed that with all of this sugar."
She said that's when experts started to realize sugar was an issue too.
"The rates of obesity, the rates of diabetes, rates of heart disease all went up. So that's where this big push to look and say ‘Maybe it's sugar that's causing these issues versus fats’, which is why we see this resurgence in healthy fats and this huge villainization of sugar along the way."
There are many different types of sugars and they aren't all bad for you, according to Kelly.
"Fructose is the sugar that is found naturally in fruit and it is the sweetest of all sugars," she said. "And because it is so naturally sweet, what science did was they extracted it and basically created a superhuman version of it to place into processed foods. So, it created this unnatural level of sweetness, where as in fruit we have a completely maintainable level of fructose this is like a super amped up version of it."
Kelly said there's an easy way to figure out if it's good sugar or bad for you.
"The best nutrition advice we can give people is keep it as minimally processed as possible," she said. "We always tell people if it came from a plant eat it. If it was made in a plant maybe try to avoid it!"
So fruit - obviously from plants- is okay!
"Your body will absorb it. your blood sugar will slowly rise because fresh fruit is packed with fiber, it's packed with antioxidants vitamins minerals," she said. "While it will slowly raise, your blood sugar is not creating this huge insulin spikes."
But processed sugars- like that white table sugar- aren't so great.
"Those artificial sugars are what are creating those big, big blood sugar and insulin spikes and also resulting into that excessive weight gain that people are so concerned about," Kelly said.
Kelly said fruit can even be okay for people on low carb diets or who might be diabetic. Bottom line, it's all about moderation.
“What people need to understand is that the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association will actually recommend the same diet for people with heart disease and with diabetes as people without, and that is simply a balanced diet with the least amount of processed foods as possible," she said. "And if you can avoid those processed things, anything else in moderation is really going to be OK."
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