Once-endearing names like “Sweetie,” “Honey” and even “Sweetheart” might now be considered blasphemous. Well, at least I would assume so, what with all the scrutiny sugar has been under as of late. Sugar is blamed for serious health issues, like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, these days. So, you can take that pretty little pink macaron and shove it! What was once considered a sweet little treat is now a weapon of mass destruction.
Sugar is in so much these days, it’s hard to know what types of sugars are “good” for you and what ones are “bad.” To be clear, sugar isn’t necessarily good for you—well, not in the way you may think. Your body needs sugar; just not nearly as much as you’re giving it. The type of sugar that’s good for you is natural sugar from its natural source. Meaning, the sugar in apples is fine as long as it comes from the apple itself, not the juice, the cider or the smoothie. I’m not saying that those other options are bad per se; but the apple itself is the best way.
Most fruits and vegetables naturally contain fructose, which is a monosaccharide compound containing one half sucrose, or common table sugar, and glucose. Some believe that there’s no such thing as too much fructose as long as you’re consuming it through its whole, natural source (I’m sure some ding-dong is willing to test this theory, which we don’t condone). You can, however, overdose on fructose if you consume it through foods with added sugar. The theory behind why fruits and vegetables (even those high in sugar) are healthy and don’t pose the same risk as food with added sugar is partly their fibre, mineral and vitamin content, and partly that the time it takes you to chew the food slows down the delivery of the fructose to the liver, where it’s processed. It’s then processed differently than the fructose that’s in a sucrose–filled soda.
So why is fruit ok but not fruit juice? Well, have you ever juiced before? Buying it from a juicery doesn’t count. I’m talking about buying your own produce, washing it, cutting it and pressing it through a juice machine. A glass of fresh apple juice calls for at least half a bag of apples, and because plain old apple juice doesn’t tend to trend on IG, you’ll likely throw in some berries and carrots, maybe a beet or two. Finally, there it is: your photo–worthy fresh–pressed juice that contains six apples, eight strawberries, two carrots, one beet and 1000 grams of sugar. Simply eat the apple and carrot, however, and you’ll get all the nutrients, antioxidants and fibre content without the extra sugar.
If you really want a juice—because, let’s face it, they’re delicious—opt for a less pleasant–looking but equally tasty green juice. If you’re faced with the choice of a soda (or any other drink with added sugar) or a “berry” sweet fruit juice, always choose the drink with no added sugar.