An apple a day keeps the doctor away, as the saying goes, but did you know that some fruits are hidden sugar mines? This seems like nature's evil joke, tricking us into thinking we're being healthy when really we're downing tablespoons of sugar. Forbidden fruit, it seems, is a very plausible concept.
Before swearing off the fruit section of the grocery store for good, take note that only a few are high glycemic: "It's important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables for optimal health, but some fruits are dense with sugar and lack fiber," says Paula Simpson, RNCP, co-founder of Zea Skin Solutions. "These types of fruits are considered 'high glycemic,' meaning they are rapidly digested, causing quick spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. This hill-and-valley response can increase risks for insulin resistance, lethargy, and sugar cravings (due to unbalanced blood sugar levels), and weight gain over the long term."
All nutritionists we surveyed agreed that berries and apples are the best fruits: one raspberry or blueberry has one calorie, and apples and berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries) have high fiber content which ticks off the boxes for optimal digestion and healthy blood glucose levels.
Below, take a look at the most sugar-laden fruits.
Keeping this all in mind, know that sugar-heavy fruits aren't the enemy. It's all about moderation. Plus, they still provide vital nutrients and necessary carbs that don't make them as abysmal as, say, a can of soda or a piece of candy. Says Bella, "Carbohydrates are an important part of our diet—especially those of us who are highly active. A cup of pineapple with a cup of kefir or reduced-fat yogurt or one slice of whole-wheat bread topped with natural peanut butter and half a banana can make a good pre-workout snack.
"In order to get all the benefits without overdoing it on calories and carbs, mix and match the types of fruits you consume and spread out your fruit intake throughout the day, always pairing it with a source of protein and healthy fat (which curb hunger), and try to have six colors of total produce daily, shifting the focus on abundance instead of restriction."
Next up, this is the unhealthiest vegetable you can eat, according to Harvard scientists.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated. Quotes have been edited for content.
Opening Image: Charles Deluvio/Unsplash