Sugar#6: Is Fruit a Good or Bad Sugary Treat?

Mar 5, 2014 | Nutrition

sugar

Today I thought I would carry on with the controversial theme and discuss fruit.

I have had a few people ask me about it and if it is forbidden in the sugar debate due to its high sugar content. There are lots of ‘new’ diets at the moment that would  encourage eating no fruit, whilst there are many old school diets that tell you to eat as much fruit as you like!

Confused?? I am not surprised!

Natures Sweets

It is true that there is lots of fructose ( a form of ‘sugar) in fruit. We like to eat fruit because it tastes sweet and as we should know form previous articles, if  it  tastes sweet then chances are it will cause an insulin release in the body.

Now in fairness if you compare the sugar content per 100g of common fruits and their processed sweet counterparts then fruits do contain less . For example chocolate M +M’s contain 64.7 grams of sugar per 100g whilst grapes contain 18.1g.

So obviously eating fruit is better than eating M+M’s but fruits do contain sugar and can easily feed a sugar addiction. Many people simply trade there sugary fixes with tons of fruit. People feel virtuous because they have eaten 5-6 portions of fruit in day even if they have eaten no vegetables what so ever!

So to make things  a bit clearer, here in my opinion, are the pros and cons of fruit eating:

Pros

  • Fruits are 100% natural. Nothing is added to fruits – they are filled with natural goodness. Winner!
  • They contain lots of vitamins and minerals that help to make our bodies strong energised and healthy.
  • You can often get fruit at a reasonable price and it is very accessible to buy if you are on the go.
  • It taste good and feel like a treat.
  • Its easier to get children to eat fruit.

Cons

  • It can still causes blood sugar rollercoasters.
  • It is digested in a completely unique (and faster) way to all other foods and therefore does not fill you up but leaves you feeling hungry and dealing with a blood sugar spike.
  • Due to the above reason it can cause digestive discomfort bloating, spasm, nausea etc and can aggravate digestive problems.
  • People tend to think that if they eat fruit then they don’t need to eat vegetables.
  • It can feed sugar addiction.

Personally…

 I used to eat loads of fruit, maybe around 4-6 pieces a day along with other vegetables but fruit was my main staple.  After learning more about  the way fruit is digested I have reduced how much I eat and feel much better for it. Due to the sugar content and the impact on digestion I choose to limit fruit to max of 2 pieces a day if at all. I see it as a treat and tend to stick to the following fruity guidelines:

  1. If I eat fruit it tends to be in the morning in a smoothie so that it has a ‘clear run’ in the gut so that its quick digestion is not hindered by any previous meals.
  2. I  try to never have fruit as a dessert as it just sits and ferments on top of all the carbs and protein you have just eaten in your meal. It can either cause diarrhea or excessive gas as it basic rots on top of the meal. Nice
  3. I limit my fruit to 2 pieces a day.
  4. I avoid snacking on fruit as it doesn’t fill me up and just means I get hungry.
  5. If I do snack on fruit I eat it with a small amount of fat or protein to help reduce the digestion time and there the blood sugar release – helping prevent a surge of glucose into the blood. For example a banana with some almond butter or blueberries in some natural yogurt.
  6. Dried fruit has an even higher sugar content than normal fruit so I try to never snack on just dried fruit. I save dried fruit for treats, sweetening smoothies (a date or two to a vegi smoothie makes it far more tasty!)  and baking.
  7. Always make sure I far eat more vegetables than I do fruit.

So overall there really is not right or wrong here, it really is a case of learning to listen to your body. I have had periods of time where I have not eaten any fruit at all and this was beneficial as I needed to allow my body to heal.  A lot depends on your body, your digestion and whether or not you think you are addicted to sugar.

 If you are eating at least 5 portions of vegetables a day avoiding fruit for a while will do you no harm at all.

But on the other hand if you are struggling with a 3pm biscuit addiction, then switching your biscuits for some blue berries or bananas is always going to be a better option.

The main thing is to avoid processed junk, listen to your body and create healthy habits that last with or without fruit! It’s all about balance!

What are your thoughts on fruit eating?

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