Is Fruit Healthy?
Is fruit healthy?!
Clients come to me fearful of fruit from all of the food rules diet culture has bound us with.
We have been fed (no pun intended) this idea that we should avoid fruit at all costs because sugar makes us fat and fructose leads to imminent death.
So here is not another group of rules, but an education. Make your own rules.
Here is what you need to know about fruit:
All sugar is not metabolized equally:
1. There are multiple types of sugar. Fructose, Sucrose, Glucose, etc..
Most of the studies discouraging fructose are talking about that found in High Fructose Corn Syrup (which research shows could be up to 60% starch) not from fruit.(1)
2. Fructose (from fruit) often gets stored as glycogen (which is released in the bloodstream as needed).
We utilize glycogen every time we exercise, think, and just to promote basic life functions. Our brains need carbs in order for us to stay cognitive and sharp, (130 grams is the recommended baseline!) (2)
3. Different fruits have different amounts of sugar.
Bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes (etc..) are on the higher end, while berries, lemons, limes, are on the lower.
So let's compare two breakfasts:
Acai Bowl with banana, mango, honey, granola, and topped with fresh kiwi & banana.
Sugar content: can be around 65 grams of sugar.
(more than double the daily added sugar recommendation of the American Heart Association)
Eggs with avocado over toast, with fresh blueberries and strawberries.
Sugar content: can be up to 15 grams of sugar.
(See WHAT IS BLOOD SUGAR AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?)
We aren't talking about carbs, we are talking about SUGAR. Meal #1 will spike your blood sugar more intensely, which will cause you to have a crash in about 1-2 hours, which will cause your body to crave sugar and you will find yourself snacking.
I say this not to demonize high sugar fruits, but to teach you how to start to understand your food so YOU can balance it better, not restrict it further.
With that being said, you ABSOLUTELY can enjoy high sugar fruits and acai bowls! Now understanding that there are higher & lower sugar fruits, you will feel best when finding a balance between the two, rather than having all of the grapes, bananas, mangoes, cherries, and oranges at one time!
You can also balance your blood sugar better by pairing some of these fruits with a significant source of protein and fat, which serve to stabilize that spike!
So who can actually benefit from limiting fruit intake?
Diabetics, those with mismanaged blood sugar, insulin resistance, may benefit from lower high sugar fruit consumption.
However, for most people, sugar issues are not coming from fruit.
For most people, sugar issues are coming from cookies, cakes, sweetened beverages, sugar being added to almost every single packaged product imaginable to make it more addictive, (more on that in the program)
Very rarely is someone consuming enough fruit for it to cause them harm. More often, they are consuming far too little!
fruit is good, hear me out:
Fruit also has high levels of FIBER. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar and helps stabilize blood sugar.
This is also where the difference between whole fruits & fruit juices arises.
Whole fruits are wrapped in fiber, which your body has to break down and helps prevent and decrease a spiked sugar. Have you ever juiced fruits before? Seen the pulp that it pushes out? That pulp is all of the fiber, leaving you a juice of pure fructose with no fiber to balance it out.
Life Lesson: Try to consume more WHOLE fruits rather than juices. If drinking fruit juices, try to add in as many greens and veggies, and limit the amount of fruits in that juice.
Fruit also is filled with vitamins and minerals, making it one of the most medicinal and healing food groups on Earth.
Fruit is filled with information, information that your body uses and knows what to do with.
The very fact that an apple has riboflavin, vitamin A, and fiber are found in apples show that apples were MADE FOR CONSUMPTION.
so let's stop demonizing one of the best foods you can consume and let's maybe address the other imbalances in our lives and on our plates?!
If you are stuck in the cycle of fearing food, unsure of what to eat, and bombarded by the noise of diet culture, let's make a change. Change your mind, change your body, change your life. Work with a KYPO Coach.
1. Feinman, R.D., Fine, E.J. Fructose in perspective. Nutr Metab (Lond) 10, 45 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-10-45
2. Dreher ML. Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1833. Published 2018 Nov 28. doi:10.3390/nu10121833