Often referred to as fruit sugar, fructose has a higher relative sweetness than regular sugar or honey, which means that less is needed to get the same sweetness. But not all fructose sources are considered equal- dried fruit, fruit juices, fruit syrups, and high fructose corn syrup are the ones to limit as much as possible. Instead the best thing to do is choose the whole fresh sources with the least processing. This gets you the sweetness without the high sugar content.
– Fruit: Ideally the types with skin and edible seeds which contain more fibre which helps extend digestion time, allowing sugar to enter the bloodstream more slowly and give more sustained energy. A serve for a snack is a piece the size of tennis ball, or one cup chopped up. Passionfruit can be a great topper for desserts, stewed fruit can be a lovely winter warmer or addition to your breakfast porridge, and it’s so easy to throw some fresh strawberries into a blender with milk and yoghurt for a post exercise smoothie.
– Fruit purees: with no added sugar ideally, can actually be used as a sugar and fat substitute in a lot of recipes for baked goods. Muffins and cakes with less calories and more vitamins and minerals? Yes please!
– Frozen fruit: can be a convenient and nutrient packed addition for smoothies, home made ice cream, or ice blocks. Much healthier than most store bought ones! Even fruit cocktails (in moderation of course) can be given that extra touch with frozen berries instead of ice to keep them nice and cold.
– Agave nectar: which contains higher amounts of fructose that other sugar substitutes and so will have a higher perceived sweetness. Be very aware you can’t just substitute a cup of sugar for a cup of agave nectar however. The quantity you use should be much, much less than regular sugar. Too much has actually been linked to health problems rather than benefits, so it’s only a healthy alternative if consumed in very small amounts.
NOTE: Some individuals will have a lower tolerance for fructose, such as many who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or who need to follow a FODMAP diet, and as such not all of the above food will be appropriate for your individual circumstances and you should consult your health professional before making any changes to your diet in these circumstances.