Can Fruit Be Making You Fat?!February 20th, 2014 by David
What could be healthier than a colourful bowl of well stacked fruit? A shiny green apple has long been considered the flagship of a healthy diet, and there is no denying its abundance of vitamins, but too much fruit in the diet is really not that innocent at all…
First up, let’s just have a look at what fruit has to offer us. Antioxidants, fibre, minerals and essential vitamins characterise Mother Nature’s candy, making them rightful features of our diet – but here’s the catch – they are also jam packed with sugar.
‘But it’s a natural sugar!’ – I hear you cry. Yes, fructose is the sugar that flows through fruity goods, but here’s the thing – whether sugar comes from a doughnut or an apple, it is treated the same by the body. The only difference between the sugar in fruit and the sugar you find at Pick ‘n’ Mix, is that fructose (yes the so-called ‘healthy’ natural
sugar) is metabolised to fat in your liver. Fructose is the only sugar to travel through your detoxification organ and is thought to be a front runner in problems such as ‘fatty liver’ disease, and metabolic and endocrine malfunction. Yes eating a diet that is crammed with fruit and fruit juices can increase your risk of developing a number of conditions from insulin and leptin resistance, and even to cancer.
Sugar, in all forms, is your immune system’s arch rival. Pancreatic cancer cells have been shown to divide and reproduce when fuelled by fructose.
Sugar in its every guise is bad news – and it is so important to remember that fruit sugars are no exception. Excessive levels of sugar are strongly linked to weight gain, tooth decay, heart disease and insulin resistance. Fructose specifically has been associated with increased belly fat, a slower metabolic rate and overall weight gain. The so-called ‘healthy’ fruit smoothies trend is thought to be a player in the bulging global obesity epidemic.
Now this is not to say that all your fruit bowl contents are to be tossed in the trash, and the market fruit aisle should be shunned in disgust. There is a lot of benefit to eating a little fresh or dried fruit – just be mindful about which types you choose… Exotic fruits like mango and pineapple are stuffed with sugar, as are grapes and bananas. The lower sugar fruits to opt for are berries, apples and melons. Generally 1 to 2 portions of fruit a day are recommended and no more – the rest of your fresh food intake should have sprung from the veggie patch.
The trick to healthily enjoying fruit is all about partnering it up with a protein source. For example, eat an apple with a handful of walnuts or berries with natural yoghurt. Protein steadies the release of fructose into the system, and prevents insulin fluctuations. Don’t eat fruit after a meal as it digests quickly and will get stuck behind your dinner where it will ferment – leading to gas and other less-than-pleasant effects! And ditch fruit juice for good! Drink water with fresh lemon slices, berries and mint leaves for flavour instead – you’ll be amazed by what a difference this can make to your bathroom scales satisfaction as well as your overall health.