Where's the Fruit in Fruit Products?
Complicating matters is the huge selection of foods "made with real fruit." This claim could drive you bananas. Who doesn't prefer real apples in, say, their toaster pastry? Problem is, nutritionally, fruit products are not whole fruit, or even mostly fruit. Some barely pass a piece of fruit on their way to the box. The real-fruit claim requires a look at the nutrition label and the ingredient list, to see what you're actually getting in a piece of, say, strawberry fruit leather.
The slideshow here shows the full fruit spectrum, from fruit-flavored to, well, fruit. The more you eat from later slides, the more fruitful the eating.
Look for whole fruit or fruit puree listed as the first ingredient. Many sorbets contain 3 times the calories (thanks to added sugar) and less vitamins (thanks to the extra water) of 1 cup of fruit. A cup of sliced mango has 107 calories, 24g sugar, and 46mg vitamin C; a cup of mango sorbet has 300 calories, 72g sugar, and 10mg vitamin C.
- Make Your Own: 15 Homemade Sorbet Recipes
One 6-ounce container of plain yogurt has 7g protein and a fourth of your daily calcium. Good! But the tablespoon or so of fruit doesn't add much in the way of nutrients, and the added sugars from processing plump up the calories. Choose one with fewer than 25g sugar. Even better, buy plain, then top with fresh fruit.
- Read More: 10 Things to Know About Yogurt
100% juices count as a fruit serving, but there are some trade-offs. Consider: One orange supplies 62 calories and 3g fiber. A 1/2-cup serving of the extra-pulp orange juice has the same calories, but no fiber. And even though its 62mg vitamin C and 248mg potassium are about the same as you get from an orange, it's easy to overconsume.
- Read More: Taste Test: The Best Orange Juice
- Read More: Find Out What's in Season