There’s no need to shun the sugars in whole fruits. In a study of 4,908 Australians, those with dietary patterns characterized by higher intakes of fruit were 12% less likely to be obese than those with lower fruit intakes. But, people who had a diet higher in sugary soft drinks and chocolate were about 9% more likely to be obese.
“Natural sugars, such as in fruits, and added sugars, such as in sugar-sweetened drinks, are chemically similar, but research suggests they have opposite effects on our health,” says Katherine Livingstone, PhD, lead author of the study from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University in Australia. “This is because the combination of other nutrients that make up the food (and your overall diet) is very important. Fruits should be encouraged as they are an important source of many beneficial nutrients, such as potassium and fiber. In contrast, sugar-sweetened drinks are high in calories and low in nutritional value.” In looking at people’s diets as a whole, those who ate more fruit were less likely to eat white (refined) bread, processed meats and high-calorie drinks and snacks.
Data were from the newest Australian Health Survey, which included recalls of food intake and in-person height and weight checks. The study is in the British Journal of Nutrition.
To learn more: British Journal of Nutrition, January 2017