Fruit lovin’ and fructophobia
I absolutely love fruit. I mean, I flipping love it. I can easily choose fresh fruit over a creamy dessert option, it just does it for me. I mean you can have things that taste so vastly different from each other and yet go so well together when paired. Flip, give me nectarines and blueberrries and mango any day… plus fruit is so incredibly good for your health, double-whammy great. I have heard about so many people who don’t eat fruit or don’t eat enough fruit purely because they worried they are consuming too much sugar, which is a good thing to be worried about, but the benefits of fruit far outweigh the potential detrimental effects of the natural sugars.
The importing thing to take into consideration is that you want to eat whole fruits and not a processed version of a fruit juice or nectar, because that is when the nasty stuff starts to creep in. Greater juice or juice concentrate consumption has been associated with a higher diabetes risk. But getting sugar in whole fruit form is actually helpful and preventative of disease*. Fructose is not great for you when it is added to a product, because it doesn’t come wrapped up in all of nature’s packaging of fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
What about juicing versus smoothies etc? Well, if you have the option, always try to make a juice or smoothie from the whole fruit rather than extracting just the juice, that way you get much more fibre and will feel fuller for longer. One of the main reasons that whole fruits are so much better for you is that they contain fibre, which slows down digestion and the release of natural sugars, and helps to create the perfect environment in your gut so that all the antioxidants, vitamins and polyphenol phytonutrients (the good stuff) can be absorbed effectively. We evolved eating large amounts of fibre, way more than we get today. Fibre is essential as it flushes out toxins, it feeds important prebiotics and of course makes sure you are pooping regularly.
Antioxidants are the important molecules that help to fight free radical formation, and proliferation; which in turn helps to fight disease, premature ageing and cell degradation. Antioxidants are found in high amounts in fruit and vegetables, especially in the area just below the skin or peel of fresh produce. It’s always a good idea to eat the skin or peel wherever possible to maximise the gooodness!
So what fruits should we be eating and how much? Look, I reckon the best fruit for you is the one you are going to eat. So if you hate pineapple but love strawberries, eat the strawberries… eat all the strawberries. Eat fruits to help protect against cancer & diabetes, eat fruits to make your skin brighter, eat fruits to get help heal your gut health, eat fruits for longer life. Another good tip is to eat fruits in season, because that is when they will be at the most delicious and nutritious. Particularly good types of fruit are citrus, berries, apples, avocados and deciduous varietals.
Here’s a thought, if humanity ate more fruit , we could potentially save 4,9million lives … this thought is true, from the Global Burden of Disease study**.
*Christrensen AS, Viggers L, Hasselstrom K, Gregersen S. Effect of fruit restriction on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes- a randomized trial. Nutr J 2013; 12:9
** Lim SS, Vos T, Flaxman AD et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 , Lancet. 2012;380 (9859): 2224-60