The health risks associated with eating refined sugar are widely publicized, but when it comes to natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables, the message gets a little murky. While certain natural sugars have an important place in the diet, those looking to lose weight or control blood sugar can benefit from watching their consumption of high-sugar fruits and vegetables while focusing on low sugar fruits and vegetables.
Before you ban sugar from your diet, however, it’s important to recognize that sugar found in fresh fruits and vegetables are accompanied by vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, and phytochemicals that support balanced, healthy bodies and proper digestive function. Fiber also keeps your blood sugar stable, helps move waste through the body, helps reduce cholesterol, and keeps you feeling satisfied.
The following fruits are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins but low in sugar; perfect for those looking to minimize their sugar intake:
The high concentration of vitamin C found in these low sugar fruits also help metabolize fat and cleanse the liver, an extra boost for those watching their sugar intake for weight loss reasons.
With the exception of root vegetables, the majority of vegetables are naturally low in sugar. Most non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cucumbers, mushrooms, cauliflower, bell peppers, zucchini and kale, have less than 5 grams of sugar. Green vegetables in particular are excellent nutrient-dense, low-sugar options that provide the body with a multitude of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, calcium and vitamin A.
Sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and beets are also excellent sources of nutrition and fiber, yet those trying to monitor their sugar intake would do well to steer clear of these vegetables until they balance their health concerns and are ready to incorporate them back into their diet.
Choosing low sugar fruits and vegetables are optimal choices for those struggling with specific health conditions, such as excess weight, high blood sugar or skin problems. Lowering your intake of sugar, even if it’s natural sugar, is a good way to manage any problems you may have with insulin resistance, but don’t eradicate sugar entirely, since energy converted from carbohydrates into sugar is the body’s source of fuel.
For additional support and information related to clean eating, balanced nutrition, and healthy lifestyle, visit Eat Clean Health and don’t forget to sign up for the Eat Clean Health monthly newsletter.
On Thurs., March 20th at 2 pm, Jodi will be presenting a workshop on the ’10 Keys to Healthy Eating’ at the Naples Wellness Center and Spa in Long Beach. If you’re in the area (or know someone who is), we’d love to have you join!