Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is Fruit Sugar Better for You Than Refined Sugar?

Is the natural sugar found in fruits better for you than refined cane sugar?  Mike J.

Dear Mike,

Your body actually processes all sugars to the same end product--glucose.  Whether you consume milk sugar (lactose), fruit sugar (fructose), cane sugar (sucrose), or even starches, the final breakdown product is glucose, the simple sugar that is the preferred source of energy for most of the body's cells.

I think processing has a negative connotation in some regard because of the over-processing of some products (like wheat) that results in the omission of nutrients.  The refining of cane sugar is necessary because we cannot cook or bake with chunks of raw cane!  So the process is merely necessary to get the consistency of a product we can use.

Fruit itself is probably healthier than products you consume that contain cane sugar because of the vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber contained in addition to the fruit sugar.


  1. Thanks for the clarification on this. I've always been curious about the difference.


  2. But isn't the amount of time that it takes for your body to process these sugars more important? Fructose and lactose, which are natural sugars, have a much lower glycemic index than a processed sugar. Therefore it would take longer for your body to brake down these natural sugars, and therfore it will not cause as much of an insulin spike as a processed sugar would. I think that would make eating natural sugars much better than eating processed, am i right?

  3. White sugar (table sugar) is "natural" too--it's not artificial. It's found in beet sugar and sugar cane. It's a combination of glucose and fructose. Eating pure sugar may cause an insulin spike, but usually sugar is mixed in to another food (as in cookies or cereal). Glycemic index is measured in a group of individuals (so your results may vary) and with a measured amount of a sole food. So when you mix your potatoes with chicken and vegetables, the glycemic index is completely different.

  4. More clear on this right now.Thx for the post!