Here it is. The final blog post on our sugar series. We’ve learned a lot about sugar, but one last question remains. Fruit contains natural sugars. Is it possible for kids to eat too much of it? We go through a ridiculous amount of fruit in our house each week. Could we be doing more harm than good?
Our HKI Dietitian, Sarah Sturgill, gives great advice on this topic:
She says fruit is such a healthy option for children that the question of “too much?” rarely crosses a parent’s mind. However, there are some circumstances where children may be eating too much fruit.
To be clear, fruit comprise a very healthy and vital food group. Fruit are generally high in nutritive value since they contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidant flavinoids, and a number of other beneficial phytochemicals. These nutrients can help ward off chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease and other degenerative conditions, as well as promote normal growth and development.
With benefits such as these, we certainly don’t want to discourage your children from including a variety of fruits in their meals and snacks.
The misconception exists that fruit is not healthy because it contains a high amount of sugar.
As we explained in our previous blog, there are multiple forms of sugar. Of the six types of sugar—sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, lactose, galactose—fructose is the form found in fruit. Research has shown that naturally occurring fructose does not have the harmful effects of table sugar and that it is actually beneficial. Antioxidant flavinoids are one of the main reasons that fruit intake can help prevent chronic disease. However, without fructose, these flavinoids are poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. Fructose stimulates the production of uric acid, which increases the capacity of our blood to absorb the antioxidant flavinoids.
The danger in eating too much fruit comes when that is the only (or one of the only) food a child is served.
Children need to be offered a variety of foods because it is impossible to get all of our daily nutrition from just one food group.
Fruit should be included every day, but it should never replace other foods like whole grains, vegetables, and high protein foods like lean meat, beans or legumes.
So that’s it in a nutshell. We have officially tackled sugar this month. What an eye opening experience. We hope you and your family are able to put some of the tips we’ve talked about into practice at your home.Best of Luck. We’ll see you again next week.