Yesterday the BBC published a story looking at a new study which shows that there are many fruit snacks on the market which contain more sugar that sweets. The worry is that members of the public are mistakingly thinking of these as healthy snacks.
So if your as confused as everyone else about what is a healthy snack, read this article to make sure you are not spoiling your healthy efforts.
Why Are Fruit Snacks So High In Sugar?
To create dried fruit water is removed, this means that the fruit becomes a lot smaller. Although the fruit becomes smaller it still contains the same amount of sugar as before, becoming more concentrated. Not only this, but you eat more of it than just one piece. For example you would normally only have 1 peach at a time and therefore have the sugar of that 1 peach. But when you have dried peaches you have an entire packet on them and so around 5-6 times the amount of sugar. Some fruit snacks have an even higher sugar concentration as they may be coated in added sugar or be crystallised.
So How Do You Know If Your Fruit Snack Is Unhealthy?
By reading labels you can easily tell if your snack is unhealthy by looking at the sugar content. If the label states that there is 15g of sugars or more per 100g then this is considered high. However, when it comes to fat, generally fruit snacks contain negligible amounts and so you should not use the fat content as an indicator of how healthy the snack is e.g. there is no fat in a bag of sugar but this does not make it healthy.
What is a good alternative?
A better alternative is fresh fruit and vegetables as these contain less sugar, calories and will keep you fuller for longer.
Is It Possible To Include Fruit Snacks Into A Healthy Diet At All?
Yes, whilst high in sugar these fruit snacks are often also high in fibre which is beneficial in bowel health. The way to include them in your diet is by avoiding words such as added sugar and crystallised when reading the packets. While some products are already made up into suitable portion sizes, others are in larger bags, so make sure you stick to just one portion a day (1 small handful). If you are really trying to keep your sugar intake to a minimal try having these fruit snacks just now and again as treats rather than an every day occurrence and use fresh fruit and vegetables as a healthy alternative to get your five a day and fibre intake.
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