What No One Tells You About Fruit

You’re starting a new diet soon. Based on what you’ve heard, you’ve decided that you’re going to eat more fruits and vegetables. I mean the base of the food pyramid is composed of fruit and vegetables. How could that advice be wrong?

As frustrating as it sounds we’ve actually been misguided. I would like to believe that the intentions behind this advice were always good but I’m not sure. Individual variability is very important to consider when creating dietary guidelines and it seems to have been ignored.

Industries thrive off of national recommendations and lobbying ensures that those recommendations stay in circulation. When it comes to fruit, people assume that since it’s natural, it must be good for you. This argument is quite idiotic when you dive into it. Take a look at poison ivy, cyanide or snake venom. All of these things are also natural. Would you ingest either of those things?

Genetics and lineage are very important to consider when determining dietary routines. Although vegetables are essential for everyone, we can’t say that fruits are essential.

Here are some thoughts on why fruit isn’t meant to be a dietary staple.

Glycemic Index

This topic requires a basic understanding of glucose regulation in the blood. Fruits contain a sugar called “fructose”. Fructose is also found in table sugar. Table sugar is a sugar molecule in which glucose (the most basic sugar molecule) is bound to fructose.

All of the carbohydrates (sugar, fruits, starches, grains, etc.) that you ingest are broken down into fructose or glucose. Glucose enters the bloodstream causing your blood sugar to increase. This increase throws your body out of homeostasis. Insulin is then released to open different cells around the body in order to take the glucose (to be burned for energy) and bring the blood sugar levels back down to normal levels.

The presence of excess insulin causes the body to store excess glucose in the blood as fat. The glycemic index is a number assigned to different foods to indicate how quickly those foods are broken into glucose. The speed of digestion is a good indicator of relative insulin response. The higher the number, the greater the insulin response.

Fruit elicits a significant glucose response but everyone is DIFFERENT. Some people can handle the glucose better than others. One study investigating the glucose response after different meals can show the variance that the same meals can have on different people. [1]

Fruit can be good for most people in extreme moderation but major problems arise when fruits are juiced. A glass of juice takes the sugar out of the equivalent of 4 whole fruits. In addition to this large load of sugar, the fiber that the fruit originally contained is no longer available. The fiber in the original fruit helps to slow down the digestion of the sugar contained in the fruit.

Drinking freshly squeezed orange juice is comparable to drinking a pepsi and taking a vitamin C tablet.

Fructose Metabolism

A small percentage of glucose is actually metabolized by the liver but 100% of fructose is metabolized by the liver. [2] In recent years, the human liver has been exposed to levels of fructose that have never existed in the past. The liver takes fructose and converts it directly into body fat.

In addition to this new body fat, the liver metabolism of fructose still stimulates an insulin response! It’s a double whammy.

The dangers of excess fructose were highlighted wonderfully in a documentary called “That Sugar Film”:

 

Rare Ripe Fruit

In a time long before modern agriculture, ripe fruit was very hard to come by. Our control of seeds, irrigation and seasonal timing make it easy to grow large amounts of whatever we desire.

Before this ability however, we were hunters and gatherers. Fruit would have been a rare occurrence. Consuming any fruit that would have been found wasn’t a big deal since the resulting body fat would have been burned immediately.

In the absence of carbohydrates and sugars, the body is forced to dig into fat stores. Mental and physical performance is actually better when this occurs.

On top of the rarity of wild fruits, most of the fruits we know today didn’t exist in the past. [3] A prime example of this is the banana. Banana’s used to be seeded and nearly unpalatable. It wasn’t until the introduction of artificial selection and genetic modification that we turned it into a sugar bomb that is prefered by the palate.

Don’t Fall For The Misinformation

It’s really hard to distinguish what is true from what’s false. Finding the truth requires a certain level of persistence and testing. Finding your sweet spot requires some trial and error. One thing is for certain though. You can survive and actually thrive without fruit or carbohydrates for that matter.

Our bodies have evolved to be able to operate under many different conditions. I truly believe that taking our bodies to these different physiological states is the key to healing so many common diseases.

Giving up carbohydrates such as sugar or bread can cause some short term side effects which resemble drug withdrawal symptoms. The good news is that when these symptoms subside you are introduced to a level of energy that you forgot you had.

Our societal addiction to carbohydrates seems to lead us to assume that carbohydrate restriction or fasting is extreme. It is socially extreme but it’s not physiologically extreme. It’s actually one of the most therapeutic things you can do for your body.

However, carboholics still insist that carbs are essential and that fruit is a dietary staple. Be very weary of where you get your advice from. Many sources of dietary info are controlled by corporate interests and have lead to thousands of deaths that were easily avoidable.

References

[1] NCBI. “Continuous Glucose Profiles in Healthy Subjects under Everyday Life Conditions and after Different Meals”. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769652/

[2] Doc Muscles. “How Your Fruit and Your Alcohol Stop Your Weight Loss”. [Online]. Available: https://docmuscles.com/2015/11/12/how-your-fruit-and-your-alcohol-stop-your-weight-loss/

[3] Daily Mail. “What fruit and vegetables SHOULD look like”. [Online]. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3428689/What-fruit-vegetables-look-like-Researchers-banana-watermelon-changed-dramatically-ancestors-ate-them.html

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