A paleo friend recently informed me, after observing my kitchen counter overflowing with sweet fruit, that a banana has as much sugar as a Snicker’s candy bar. I wasn’t sure what reaction he was looking for, but I sensed my lack of concern was a disappointment.
Do people really equate a piece of fruit with a candy bar? Are we really so misinformed about nutrition and what we should be eating that we believe any sensational headline or ridiculous “fact” we hear?
First of all, a Snickers bar has 27g of sugar. A banana has 14. So 2 bananas have the equivalent sugar of one Snickers. Devil is in the details, I guess.
But let’s address the real difference between the sugar in a Snicker’s and the sugar in a banana. Because they aren’t the same. Added sugar, or industrial sugar is different from fruit sugar. Don’t get me started on those crazy people that believe a calorie is a calorie and all are equal. Really? Eating a candy bar and eating a piece of fruit, I’m hoping, is clearly not an equivalent action.
So here is the difference between a manufactured food and a natural food. Fortunately, good old Mother Nature did a bang up job of creating the perfect food in regards to the combination of nutrients in fruit. While Snickers and bananas both have sugar, one is added and one is not. Bananas come with natural fructose, along with fiber and antioxidants. Snickers come with artificial flavor, corn syrup and lactose.
Fiber is a super important and very overlooked nutrient. It’s also one that less than 3% of Americans obtain the recommended minimum amount. Less than 3 %. Not to mention no one, not one person, has ever asked me if I get enough fiber on a raw vegan diet.
If only people were as concerned about fiber as they are about their precious protein. Imagine!
But I digress.
Fruit and vegetables in their whole, raw food form, contain the most fiber. Animal products contain no to little fiber and processed foods typically have the fiber processed right the heck out of them. Like when they turn brown rice into white rice. So it’s pretty, and white.
The bottom line is that eating fruit, even the mass quantities that I eat in a day, has no negative effects from high amounts of fruit sugar. In fact, researchers noted possible benefits. Limiting your fruit consumption based on it’s sugar content makes no sense at all.
Study participants eating 20 servings of fruit a day for a few weeks and 44 servings of vegetables showed “no adverse effects on weight or blood pressure or triglycerides and an astounding 38 point drop in LDL cholesterol.” 20 servings of fruit is about 17 more than most people average in a day.
My fiber intake on a typical day is 350% of the recommended amount. My sugar intake is 357 g, or about 13 Snicker’s bars worth.
My kitchen countertop remains filled with fresh, ripe, organic fruits that are bursting with fructose and fiber. Not a candy bar is in sight.