We all know to avoid excess sugar. But what about sugar from natural sources, specifically fruit? Is it true that a cup of juice or a fruit smoothie is bad for you due to the sugar load? How many grams of sugar per day can you ingest, even from natural food sources, and still remain healthy?
Well, it’s kind of complicated. Fruits do contain a high quantity of sugar. We selectively cultivated them over thousands of years to be that way. And a glass of fruit juice, or a fruit smoothie, does contain a lot of sugar.
But the trade-off is worth it. At least according to nutritionist Lara Felton. According to her, the benefits outweigh the costs. Since most people don’t get anywhere close to an adequate number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables, she thinks it’s worth it. Not getting the nutrition from fruits and vegetables is a much higher risk to her than imbibing an excess of sugar.
According to Felton, it’s the calories that get you. Fruit juice contains more calories than an equivalent volume of whole fruit. As long as your fruit intake doesn’t put you over your daily calorie ration, you’re safe.
Felton also warns against using additional sweeteners in your drinks and food, even if they’re “natural” sweeteners like honey and agave.
How many grams of sugar per day, specifically, should you be eating? The FDA advocates against consuming more than 50 grams per day from additives. But there’s a categorical difference between drinking a sugar-saturated Powerade and a green smoothie with fruit in it.
Get the nutrients, don’t worry too much about sugar if it’s delivered to you in the form of natural, healthy foods, and keep an eye on your calories. Go forth and enjoy. Just stay away from the soda.