We all know the abundant dangers of sugar. There’s plenty of information circulating the internet that I don’t need to regurgitate it here. Suffice to say, the negative impacts that sugar can have on your health are abundant.
Lately, the media has warned that fruit snacks ‘contain more sugar than Haribo’.
I love Haribo as much as the next person, and on the rare occasion that I choose to indulge, I know what I’m letting myself in for.
When it comes to ‘real fruit’ snacks, however, it’s a different story. Many fruit-based snacks are actually processed and high-sugar, sneaking into your shopping basket under the guise of having ‘natural’ or ‘real’ ingredients that contribute to your five-a-day.
Fruit as it occurs naturally is great for you. It contains natural fruit sugars but also a high amount of vitamins and minerals that are really beneficial to your overall health.
Here’s how the sugar content in some different fruit compares (per 100g):
Banana - 12g
Apple - 10g
Pineapple - 10g
Cantaloupe melon - 8g
Strawberries - 4.9g
Natural Fruit Snacks
Fruit snacks have to be processed to some extent, but my favourite ones are processed very minimally through processes such as drying or ‘squishing’.
The important thing here, is that they don’t have other ingredients added.
As they are fruit, they do of course contain natural fruit sugars. While this is preferable to processed, added sugar, it’s worth being a little mindful of the quantity that you consume.
These fruit snacks have a higher percentage of sugar per 100g compared to fruit in its original state as they are dried or pressed, removing the water content that would otherwise make up a large proportion of the weight.
When I’m on-the-go and need a satisfying and convenient snack, my favourite fruity go-tos are Urban Fruit snackpacks, BEAR paws, nibbles and yoyos (these are usually the ‘cleanest’ snack available in coffee shops) and Fruit Bowl school bars (mainly because I’ve often found them available for £1 a box!).
Fruit Snacks To Avoid
It’s important to recognise that it’s more highly processed fruit snacks, with other added ingredients that are the problem.
To determine what you should avoid, it’s as simple as checking ingredients labels.
The worst culprits are:
Yogurt Coated Fruit Snacks
Prime example are the yogurt coated fruit flakes offered by Fruit Bowl, which contain added sugar and more processed ingredients in the yogurt-like coating.
These include snacks such as fruit strings, fruit stars and fruit hearts from The Fruit Factory, which contain added sugar, glucose syrup and fructose syrup.
Dried Fruits Sold at Health Food Stores
What appears to be little more than dried fruit are actually ‘sugar-infused’. The worst (but, unfortunately, most delicious) nibbles of this nature are tropical fruit chunks, such as pineapple and papaya.
Some of these contain a whopping 74g of sugar per 100g!
What it always comes back to is balance. Whatever you eat, eat in moderation, especially if it isn’t in its most natural form.
There are some fruit snacks that are certainly better than others. However, it’s still not a great idea to eat packet after packet of them every day. They aren’t a substitute for whole fruits.
Essentially, if I’m on-the-go and need a snack, I will always opt for the least processed and most nutritious option.
While natural fruit snacks may have just as much sugar as sweets, I think it’s important to recognise that those sugars are natural and come hand in hand with micronutrients that, despite how delicious they are, gummy bears just don’t deliver.
What’re your thoughts on fruit-based snacks? Do you have a favourite?