Is Fruit Sugar Evil?

There’s something terribly wrong in the world when the healthiest food on the planet, the food that we are most biologically suited to, is lumped into the same basket as gummie bears and chocolate milk.

You would be forgiven for thinking that fruit should be severely limited in our diet if you’ve been reading some of the latest diet plans on the market.

High protein diet proponents virtually negate fruit from their plans, because in their books, all carbs are to be black listed.

The anti-candida diet recommends a maximum of 3 pieces of fruit per day with the emphasis on low glycemic varieties.

But fruits and vegetables have always been and always will be the healthiest foods on the planet, so why is fruit getting such a bad rap?

Clearly there is so much fear out there that the real messages are getting mixed up in the thick soup of food industry propaganda.

So let’s debunk the three major myths about fruit…

Myth #1.  Fruit makes you fat

We’ve all heard it said on more than one occasion.  But does it really hold water?

In actual fact fruit, because of its full complement of fibre, fructose and micronutrients, is registered by the body as real fuel and so is easily digested, providing a thermogenic effect on the body’s metabolism.

Thermogenesis describes the process whereby body heat and metabolism rise when you eat certain foods. 

This is because these foods require more calories to burn than they provide as fuel for the body.  Low calorie, raw, fibrous fruits and vegetables are some of the best thermogenic foods you can eat.

So, in fact the opposite – fruit makes you thin – rings true.

Fruit will help you kick your metabolism up a notch and help you burn more calories.

It will also provide your muscles and all the cells of your body with the essential glucose needed to prepare you for vigorous exercise.

Have you noticed how people on Atkins-style high protein diets lack a lot of energy?  Deprived of carbs, particularly fruit sugars, their bodies simply don’t feel like exercising.

Myth #2.  Fruit will spike your blood sugar

A recent New York Times article entitled “Making The Case For Fruit” states that according to many nutrition experts “.. Fresh fruit should not become a casualty in the sugar wars.”

David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, says that sugar consumed in fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects, no matter how much you eat.

Ludwig has cited research studies showing that increased fruit consumption is actually tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases.   He explains that whole fruits, containing a bounty of antioxidants, healthful nutrients and fiber, make us feel full and provide other metabolic benefits.

The fruit’s fiber helps slow your absorption of fructose, the main sugar in most fruits.

Another major benefit is that fruit changes our intestinal flora by helping different species of healthy bacteria to thrive.  And it is now generally considered that gut dysbiosis, or lack of good gut bacteria, is at the root of most major diseases.

Myth #3.  Fruit should be limited to 3 pieces a day

Suffering from recurrent yeast infections for many years, I tried to follow the advice of well-meaning anti-candida advocates and limit my fruit intake severely.

There were long stretches of time where I would eat only lemons or other extremely low glycemic index fruits.

This seemed to keep the candida at bay, only to have it resurface again just as soon as I introduced sugar back into my diet.  “Am I going to have to be on this diet for life?”  I thought.  I also began to resign myself to low energy and poor immune function.

I have since come to understand that it is not the fruit that was the problem, but rather the combination of fats and sugars in my diet…

Fat has the unfortunate quality of coating all the cells of the body, including the insulin receptors, thereby making it difficult for glucose to find its way easily into the cells of the body.

Sugar ends up circulating in the bloodstream, elevating blood sugar for extended periods and causing candida microbes, the body’s damage control mechanism, to flourish.  The candida yeasts eat up your excess blood sugar and literally save your life.

I have lived free from yeast infections for two years now while consuming up to twenty pieces of fruit a day with no problem at all.

My secret – I keep my fat intake very low.

Fruit – Our Biologically Perfect Food

Our whole physiology has been designed specifically for the consumption of fruit.  Consider the following aspects of humans:

  • Our upright bipedal stature which allows us to walk to trees, climb and reach their fruits.
  • Our long grabby hands with short finger nails (just long enough to pierce the skin of fruit, but not sharp enough to claw into the flesh of an animal).
  • Our ability to see in colour, and become attracted to a range of fruits
  • Our teeth, small front canines (designed for breaking the skin of fruits and vegetables) and primarily flat molars for mashing food.
  • Every cell of our body is fuelled with glucose, the simplest and most digestible form being fruit.
  • Our nutritional needs are most closely met by fruits – Vitamin C, for example, is an essential nutrient that we can only get from fruits and vegetables.

So there you have it.  Fruit is not going to make you fat.  Far from it.  But sometimes it can be difficult to hold your own around the lunch table at work when everyone at your office is on a high protein diet.

I recommend you don’t even go there.  Just keep on munching on your fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds.

Your weight will drop, your energy will skyrocket and you’ll be the living proof that we are in fact frugivores, animals designed to eat fruit as a primary staple, along with a generous helping of tender leafy greens, and small quantities of nuts and seeds.

Anthea Frances is an author, raw food health coach and host of the Raw Life Summit series.  Grab a copy of her free Balanced Raw Vegan Nutrition Checklist and start improving your health today!

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