Whole Foods vs. Added Sugars
First, it’s important to realize that sugar in the diet should be limited, especially added sugar, because there is some truth to the above scary statement. This doesn't mean you have to actively eliminate it from condiments and other things you consume. However, you should be aware of this.
In general, when you can choose foods with lower sugar content, you should take the opportunity to limit the overall amount of sugar in your diet. However, there are essential differences between sugar in its natural food form and added sugar.
The sugar found in the plant, while the plant remains intact, is not considered harmful in the diet. However, added sugars, including refined sugars or “healthier” natural alternatives, can have adverse health effects.
Jelly VS Jam VS Preserves
The terms jelly, jam, and preserves are often used interchangeably. However, when considering whether jelly is healthy for you, the difference is significant.
- Jelly is made from the juice of the fruit.
- Jam is made from crushed or grated fruit.
- Preserves are made from the whole fruit.
Jelly lacks many of the incredible essential nutrients found in the whole fruit, including fiber. Additionally, jelly is made with not one but two added sugars—usually a combination of fruit juice and sugar.
In contrast, jams and preserves have different levels of added sugar, depending on the brand and type. Therefore, it is better to choose jam or marmalade instead of jelly.
Healthier Jell-O Alternatives
Jams and preserves may be healthier options. However, if you can't find a product without added sugar, you can try using whole fruit. For example, you can replace the peanut butter and jelly with peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and strawberry slices.
Generally speaking, the riper the fruit, the sweeter it will be. So make sure to choose riper fruits to help mimic the sweetness of jelly or jam.
Using honey or maple syrup may also be a better option, depending on availability in your area. Since jelly contains a lot of added refined sugar, honey may be a healthier choice even though the sugar content is the same in the same serving. Honey and other natural sweeteners contain trace minerals and antioxidants not found in refined sugar.
Overall: Are jelly healthy?
It's OK to eat jelly once in a while because you're unlikely to eat too much. You may want to consider using jam, preserves, or fruit slices instead of jelly.