Not only does fruit provide us with essential vitamins and minerals, but they’re also a great source of dietary fiber. This fiber not only helps us to maintain a healthy gut, but it also reduces our risk of bowel cancer. Our bodies need these nutrients, but fruits also come with sugar. And if we eat more sugar than our body needs, we run the risk of gaining weight, which can lead to more serious health problems.

Fruits contain a lot of sugar. In fact, two apples can contain as much sugar as a can of soda.  The two forms of sugars found in fruit are glucose and fructose. Glucose is taken up immediately and raises your blood sugar, and is your body’s preferred source of energy. Fructose is transported to the liver. In order for fructose to be used, the liver needs to convert it to glucose first. If we ingest more fructose than we need for energy, our livers will be overloaded and the fructose will be converted to fat. Which means that diets high in fructose can lead to obesity!

It’s important to remember however, that fruits are more than just sugar. It comes packed with fiber. And this fiber actually slows down digestion and make you feel fuller for longer. Why is this important? Well, you will likely eat less after eating an apple versus drinking a can of soda. Remember our sugar comparison earlier? Imagine how full you will feel after eating two apples, versus drinking one can of soda. Additionally, fruits give us vitamins and minerals, something that is absent from soft drinks.

To get in your five-a-day, it’s wise to include vegetables and not only eat fruits. But just because fruits have sugar, doesn’t mean you have to avoid them all together. If you really want to reduce you sugar intake, but still want to get the benefits of eating fruit, choose those that are lower in sugar like watermelon, kiwi fruits, or raspberries. Eat fruits whole instead of juicing them. In that way, you get in the fiber that’s necessary for sustained energy.