SAN ANTONIO - For people trying to eat healthier by consuming more fruits and veggies, there can be confusion about whether the sugar in fruits help or hurt your diet.
The sugars in a piece of fruit and those in a candy bar are essentially the same. It's how your body processes them that is the difference. Fruit has fiber and that helps slow the release of sugars into your bloodstream.
"You also get plenty of vitamins and minerals by eating fruit," said Consumer Reports health and food editor Trisha Calvo. "Studies have shown that it can help with weight control and protect against some cancers and heart disease."
Calvo said most people should eat more whole fruit.
"When experts talk about limiting your sugar intake, they're talking about added sugars, those found in cakes, candies and sodas," she said.
But what about sugars in fruit juice?
"The sugars you get from fruit juice are almost as bad as the sugars that are added to food," Calvo said. "Although juice has vitamins and minerals, most lack the fiber found in fruit, so the sugars are digested quickly."
As for smoothies, some are made with fruit juice, yogurt or sorbet, which could contain added sugars. Check the label for added sugars on any store-bought fruit smoothies, Calvo said.
A new rule goes into effect this year that helps the consumer spot added sugars. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is adding a line to nutrition facts just for added sugars.
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