Low-calorie fruit and vegetables can have as much as 40 per cent sugar, and even low-calorific drinks may contain up to 65 per cent, according to research.
Low-carb diets can also be packed with up to 80 per cent fructose, while fruits and vegetables that are high in fruit oils and sugar can also contain high levels of fructose.
These findings are contained in a new report by researchers from Australia and the UK.
“Fruit and vegetable consumption has increased dramatically over the past decade and is now the second most common source of added sugar in the diet,” Dr James Farrar, of the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute for Food, Nutrition and Human Health (IFNH), and his colleagues wrote in the journal BMJ.
“Consumption of fruit and vegetable products is rising, but is this due to increased consumption of fruits and vegetable oils and sugars or is it a result of increased sugar consumption?”
Dr Farral and his team also found that the sugar in some fruits and some vegetables is more than 80 per of the sugar found in high-fructose corn syrup, the artificial sweetener widely consumed in the US.
The report is the first to examine the impact of added sugars on the human body.
The researchers analysed a database of almost 40,000 participants, looking at the intake of fruit, vegetables and fruits and fruit juices in Australia and Britain.
They then looked at how many grams of added fructose were in each serving of fruits or vegetables and found that about 15 per cent of the added fructose was in the fruit, about 6 per cent in the vegetables and about 2 per cent was in juices.
These amounts were similar to those found in sugar-sweetened beverages.
“We found that most of the fructose is in the juice and fruits, but some is in other ingredients,” Dr Farsar said.
“These sugars are probably part of the reason that people consume a lot more fruit and some of the juices, especially those from the UK, contain more than 40 per a serving of fruit.” “
Dr Farshar said there was also “evidence of excess consumption of sugar in other foods” such as cereals, fruit juices and snacks. “
These sugars are probably part of the reason that people consume a lot more fruit and some of the juices, especially those from the UK, contain more than 40 per a serving of fruit.”
Dr Farshar said there was also “evidence of excess consumption of sugar in other foods” such as cereals, fruit juices and snacks.
He said that while these findings suggested a role for added sugars in the health of the population, it was not clear how much sugar was contributing to these unhealthy behaviours.
Dr Fargar said that if we were to reduce the intake, the sugar added to processed foods, beverages and snacks would not be the biggest contributor to our health issues.
“But there are also other ingredients that are added that may contribute to obesity and metabolic disease in general,” he said.
Dr David Nutt, chief executive of the British Nutrition Foundation, said there were no hard and fast rules for what types of fruit to avoid.
He told the ABC the best way to control fruit and veg consumption was to eat less.
“I would urge people to eat fruit and leafy vegetables, they should be very low in sugar, not too much, and they should also eat lots of fibre,” Dr Nutt said.
He also urged people to cut out the sugars from their diet.
Dr Nutts recommendation that people limit their intake of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and high-fat foods to no more than two servings a day has been widely adopted by health experts around the world.
The British Association of Dietitians and Nutrition recommends no more to no less than two fruit and two vegetable servings a week.
Dr Nelis Lachman, chief food and nutrition officer at the British Heart Foundation, urged people who are looking for more fruit or vegetables to choose healthier options.
She said the British government should encourage more people to consume fruit and other vegetables.
“If you are an Australian, if you are a UK, if a British person, or if you live in New Zealand, you should choose fruits and veggie burgers, they are good for you,” Dr Lachmann said.
The study involved Australian researchers, working with researchers from the United States and New Zealand.
The research was funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing, the Department of Energy and the Australian Institute of Health Research.
Topics: nutrition, health, diabetes-and-fitness, health-policy, australia