Fruits & Vegetables Too High in Sugar??!!

September 30, 2009

On my day off on Monday, I happened to catch a few minutes of a popular day time television host promoting healthy eating on her show, so I decided to tune in.  I was instantly appalled when she started to tell the audience that they should AVOID most fruits and vegetables like carrots, beets, and corn if they wanted to lose weight because these foods are TOO HIGH IN SUGAR! (Actually, many of my clients used to have this same belief)

This is one of the most absurd things I hear in my practice as a dietitian! Do people really think that the weight problems we have in this country are due to eating too many of these fruits and vegetables?! Ironically, the very same people that avoid these “sugary” fruits and vegetables seem to “overlook” the fact that they drink regular soda or other sweetened beverages everyday.

To prove a point to myself (and to those reading this), I opened the refrigerator and compared the nutrition labels on a bag of baby carrots and a bag of fresh broccoli.  I found that the baby carrots had exactly 5 grams of sugar per serving, while the broccoli had 2 grams of sugar per serving. That’s a difference of only 3 grams of sugar and 12 calories! This is the equivalent of 1/5 of a tablespoon of sugar.  In my opinion, this is miniscule compared to the amount of sugar found in so many other foods:

Jamba Juice- Pomegranate Paradise (original size)- 74 grams of sugar

Starbucks Grande Caffe Vanilla Blended Frappuccino- 60 grams of sugar

3/4 cup Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal- 56 grams of sugar

12 ounce can of regular soda- 39 grams of sugar

8 pieces of Starburst Candy- 23 grams of sugar

I hope it is clear to you now that instead of worrying about how much sugar is in the foods needed for good health (or for some, finding reasons not to eat them), we should be concerned with reducing our intake of sugar from all of the other non-nutritious foods that we are faced with each day!

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