A healthy diet can dramatically improve many aspects of your life. However, some people are often confused by what “healthy” truly means when considering food. One health-related topic that is generally misunderstood is consuming sugar that comes from fruit.
We have all heard that sugar is bad for your health, especially in high quantities. It is also true that fruit tends to have a higher sugar content than vegetables due to the fructose. Although a diet that is high in fructose is considered unhealthy, it depends on the context of how it is being consumed (1). Sugar from fruit is processed differently from added and highly processed sugars, affecting our overall health in more positive ways. This is due to the high fiber content of fruit and how that impacts digestion, metabolism, and blood sugar.
Fiber is something you have probably heard of, but may not know precisely what it is. Fiber is the part of produce that our gut cannot fully break down – meaning it passes through us completely. It is a crucial component of a healthy diet, yet the average American only gets half of their daily recommended fiber needs (2). Women are advised to get 25g, and men 30g of Fiber daily (3). This is most likely due to the Standard American Diet (SAD), consisting of highly processed foods and little fresh produce. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are the world's highest natural fiber sources. They offer us two kinds of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Both of these forms of fiber are important as they work together to improve our health (4).
The effects that fiber has on digestion is what makes fruit from sugar much healthier than added refined sugars. When fiber enters the digestive system, it slows down the process of digestion. Because it cannot be fully digested, it takes the gut time to break down the sugars and other compounds embedded in the fibers, thus slowing digestion. This has various benefits for our overall health.
First, slower digestion reduces spikes in blood sugar. This is especially important for people with diabetes who need to maintain a stable blood sugar over time. This process also reduces the total amount of sugar and fat that can be absorbed into the body following a meal (5). Therefore, the fructose found fruit is not as quickly or entirely absorbed into the body how refined sugars are, making fruit a healthy source of carbohydrates and sweetness.
Along with its effects on blood sugar, fiber has other great benefits on our overall health. First, it raises metabolism, which assists with faster weight loss over time. A recent study found that when selecting for a single lifestyle change to improve weight loss in participants, increasing dietary fiber was the most significant change made (6). Fiber is also excellent for lowering inflammation in the body (7). Chronic inflammation can damage nearly any system in the body, so keeping it low is critical for your overall health and well-being. Another recent finding is that a high-fiber diet is associated with increased longevity, meaning you will live a longer, healthier life (8).
As we mentioned before, the best natural sources of fiber are fruits and vegetables. Getting your daily servings of these will ensure that you also get enough fiber in your diet. Our candy, FAVES, offers a full serving of fruits and vegetables per serving. We utilize a unique drying technique to keep the fruit and veggie fibers completely intact – thus optimizing the health benefits that can be gained from eating it!