Strawberries are the world’s most popular berry, not surprising with their beauty, sweet taste and being good for us too, however, some people are avoiding fruit because they are worried about the sugar. Fruit does contain sugar, along with many other fabulous nutrients. As a society, we need to cut down on our sugar intake, but cutting out whole fruit and particularly strawberries is not the way to go.
Strawberries might taste sweet but have minimal sugar in comparison to sweet foods with added sugar. A whole punnet of strawberries contains around 15grams of sugar. This is less than half the sugar of a can of soft drink (38grams) and less than two chocolate biscuits (17grams of sugar). And the strawberries have the value of beneficial nutrients naturally present, no hidden unwanted extras.
Did you know strawberries give off a vapour that helps them taste sweet without the sugar? The aroma makes our brain think the food is sweeter than it is. Part of our taste is through smell, this is often why food doesn’t taste as good when you have a cold. Enjoy smelling ripe strawberries as it adds to their sweetness!
The World Health organisation is recommending we have 6 teaspoons or less of ‘free sugar’ per day, around 5% of your daily kilojoule intake (~8700kJ intake per day). This refers to added sugars in food, not sugar found naturally in foods such as fresh fruit. This recognises that fruit does contain some sugar but along with other valuable nutrients making fruit a delicious and important part of an everyday diet. It is recommended we have 2-3 serves of fruit per day. If having fruit juice stick to around ½ glass or 125ml if it is a regular part of your diet as fruit juice contains around 10% sugar (without the fibre and skin benefits), same as soft drink. Strawberries being a lower sugar fruit if made into a juice will be slightly lower in sugar.
As humans we are wired to enjoy sweet foods, so fruit, including strawberries hit the mark here! Enjoyment is an important part of eating and so is thinking about foods as a package, rather than single nutrients, like sugar. All fruit should be enjoyed without worrying about whether some are higher in sugar than others. If we stick to around two or three fist size servings per day, leaving room for all the other nutritious foods our body needs it doesn’t matter what fruit it is. Enjoy your daily fruit and your mind and body will too!
Simone Austin Accredited Practising Dietitian has kindly put together this blog for Sunny Ridge.