We all know that eating fruit is good right. Well that is what we have been led to believe and for good reason -- Fruit is packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins as well as satiating fibre.
Fruit is a mix of fructose and glucose. Two different type of carbohydrates which work slightly differently — Glucose is available immediately in the body and therefore can be used as energy and to replenish muscle glycogen. Fructose on the other hand needs to pass through the liver in order to be used for energy by the body (and is usually used to fuel the brain). The problem comes when we overload the liver with fructose not giving it enough time to utilise the fuel and we effectively overburden the liver forcing it to convert the liver glycogen into fatty acids and be released into the blood stream which will either be stored as fat or if you are in a calorie deficit used as fuel….
The problem does to arise through conventional fruit consumption(as it would be pretty hard to consume damaging amounts of fructose while eating whole fruit) rather through the fructose in high doses that are found in most modern day processed foods. So many products these days have High Fructose Corn Syrup in them which is a cheap alternative to sugar which is basically a chemically engineered sweetener that hugely sweet and has a high ratio of fructose to glucose. Apart from HFCS we need to look out for the ever growing fruit juice market which again has a huge amount of concentrated fructose and while it is 100% natural sugar it has been stripped of the fiber and vitamins which slow the absorption of fructose.
Both High Fructose Corn Syrup and conventional sugar (sucrose) have high levels of fructose in them and most importantly they are extremely easy to over consume. A single serving of a soft drink or fruit juice will have 30-40 grams of sugar with no fiber and a diminished content of vitamins and minerals meaning the sugar is rapidly absorbed and shunted into the bloodstream. This single serving is not a large glass but a small cup of juice of soft drink basically 200-300ml.
To get 40 grams of sugar from real food you would need to consume 2 large apples which would give you 8 grams of fiber which helps to slow absorption plus an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
Add to this recent evidence linking fructose to cancerous growths and we have some pretty scary stuff on our hands. It seems that the human body has a problem dealing with a high carbohydrate load from processed foods which can lead to a host of problems with our health such as a fatty liver, diabetes, cancer, dementia to name a few….
“The bottom line is the modern diet contains a lot of refined sugar including fructose and it’s a hidden danger implicated in a lot of modern diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver,” said Heaney, who also serves as director of the Pituitary Tumour and Neuroendocrine Program at UCLA. “In this study, we show that cancers can use fructose just as readily as glucose to fuel their growth.”
It goes without saying that one of the first and best steps to improving health and longevity is to drastically cut down our refined sugar intake and more importantly processed carbohydrate intake which not only includes fructose but processed glucose from foods like white bread or other refined starch based items (cakes, cookies etc)
Some things to keep an eye out for in your diet include:
This to me is one of the most important steps that you can take in improving your health and getting on route to a healthy and sustainable diet, which you can read about in my e-book.
I myself eat a lot of fruit - things like Apples, Bananas and Berries usually on there own or as snacks (yoghurt or cottage cheese with fruit) which seems like an ideal combination for a snack in terms of being easy to prepare and providing good satiety. Intake of fruit seems to vary from day to day, it really seems to depend on what I am craving and how I feel. Naturally we tend to eat/crave fruit or sweet things at the following times:
First thing in the morning
A few hours after a large/salty meal
After a hard workout
When it is hot (usually summertime)
In the evening before bed time as a snack
Well those are the most common to want some fruit. I came across this video recently and it seems to put across some pretty compelling evidence that eating some fruit before bed could be a little trick to lower stress hormones and tickle fat loss into action while sleeping….
So with all the buzz going around the internet right now about fruit intake it seemed appropriate to write something up. Fruit is a very useful tool as part of a healthy diet but should be eaten in its whole form when possible, and eaten according to cravings and desire. Not because you must eat it, a lot of people force themselves to eat fruit when they really don’t want it (like after meals).
So listen to your body and adjust your fruit intake accordingly…..