I find that more and more lately I am seeing a ton of information about how terrible fruit is.  Every other article I read about losing weight and fat is advising people to ditch the fruit, as if fruit is the one reason individuals are in the situation to begin with.  I think it is important that we are educated about what about fruit is “unhealthy” and more importantly, understand that fruit is not the enemy. For most individuals, fruit can be eaten without sabotaging their fitness goals.

For starters, let’s talk about fruit and its nutritional content.  Fruit is mainly composed of fructose, a form of sugar and, when compared to other whole foods, has a relatively high amount of sugar.  Unless you have been living under a rock you know that sugar is public enemy #1 and to be avoided when you are trying to lose fat/weight or just to adopt a healthier lifestyle in general.  Fruit gets its bad name because it is often compared to table sugar, since the fructose content is almost identical. But the difference is that fruit also contains water, fiber, and other phytonutrients that are not found in ordinary table sugar.  While we certainly want to avoid added sugars in our diets, it is important to understand that fruit is not the same as table sugar and is not absorbed and utilized the same way in our bodies.  It is a natural whole food from the Earth that is dense in key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but also has fiber, which helps slow the absorption of sugar.

 

The Truth about Fruit

 

So the burning question remains, is it healthy or not?  To answer that, let’s explore a little.  If you are struggling with health conditions due to high sugar intake or have packed on some pounds, the chances that fruit was the main reason are pretty slim.  More than likely, the real problem stemmed from the traditional American diet, which is so high in processed foods to start with.  This means the average person is already consuming more than enough sugar and with the addition of fruit, it becomes clear that the total sugar intake would be sky high.  The abundance of soda, juices, and processed snacks have all contributed to high sugar way more than fruit has.  If you were to cut out these foods while continuing to consume fruit, your total sugar intake would more than likely remain in a healthy range.

Now, it is important to remember that too much of anything can be bad for you.  In nutrition, this remains true for just about anything but green vegetables.  Because fruit does indeed have higher sugar content, we must pay careful attention to our fruit intake.  It is quite easy to exceed your daily sugar intake by overeating fruits, so pay careful attention to the serving size and remember that not all fruits are created equal.  Focus on the fruits with the greatest amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals compared to its sugar content.  Some examples of lower sugar fruits are cherries, grapefruit, berries, apples, oranges, peaches, pears, and grapes. While some examples of fiber-rich fruits are apples, bananas, berries, figs, guava, kiwi, oranges, and pears.  Also, avoid fruit juices, dried fruit and canned fruit in syrup, as they do not have the same benefits as whole fruit. 

If you like fruit and are eating a whole food diet with plenty of lean protein and vegetables than I do not see the problem with continuing.  If eating fruit has kept you from indulging in less nutritious foods, then by all means keep them in your diet. Just be sure to pay attention to the amount you are consuming daily.

 

Monica Millage