So, I’ll be honest with you – I just love fruit. But it wasn’t always like that.
I remember being very young and drinking coca-cola in crushed ice on a hot summer day. It was awesome, tasted yummy, and was refreshing.
My mom would tell me to not drink cola … it’s not good for your teeth. Of course, there was no mention of it being bad for my health, just my teeth.
She then sliced up some apple wedges and gave me a slice. I remember thinking, “yuck, this is horrible.”
Of course, compared to the addictive and super sweet qualities of cola, natural fruit didn’t taste as good.
Now that I’m older (and wiser), things are different.
I bring up today’s topic because both soda and an apple (or most fruits) contain fruit sugar called – FRUCTOSE.
However, each reacts very differently in the body – the soda vs fruit.
One of them should NEVER be consumed and the other can be consumed, but in limited amounts and preferably during certain times of the year.
So let’s get started…
Pros & Cons Of Fructose (Fruit Sugar)
Many people will tell you that it’s okay to have fruit. It’s natural. Plus, as an added bonus, fructose – the sugar found in fruits – has a lower glycemic index than most carbohydrates and thus, does NOT raise your blood sugar levels.
Which is great.
However, excessive consumption of fructose does end up putting a burden on the liver.
In fact, some research has shown that fructose is processed in the small intestine. When too much is consumed, it spills over into the liver.1
Why the liver?
Because it’s now believed that fructose can be a toxin and that’s why it goes to the liver, your body’s natural detoxifying filter.
The liver can only hold or store a certain amount of fructose, which I’ll tell you in a minute.
And once over that amount, it gets converted into fat.
Unlike other carbohydrates that are glucose-based, which can be stored in your muscles. And, if you exercise and have lots of muscle, you can obviously store and thus, eat a lot more glucose and regular carbs.
So, even though fructose is natural and has a low glycemic index, it can make you fat and can increase your risk for:
- Heart problems
- Blood sugar problems
- Elevated triglycerides
- Increase in cholesterol
- Higher blood pressure
- Insulin resistance
But again, don’t worry… certain fruits are okay to eat, especially in specific amounts.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Many packaged foods, especially sodas, contains High Fructose Corn Syrup. This is not natural. It’s man-made.
It’s a very highly concentrated source of sugar made of fructose, which is the sugar found in fruits.
To make a long story short because I just don’t really care to bore you with all the medical and scientific jargon – you should AVOID all syrups.
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – this is everywhere, it’s cheap and bad
- Corn syrup
- Agave syrup – yes, this is very bad for you and contains even more fructose than HFCS
- Maple syrup
- Chocolate Syrup
- Honey – raw honey in small amounts is okay
So no syrups. Read the labels.
Why Fruit Is Different
The main issue with all of these syrups is that it’s dense and full of calories and it takes little time to consume them. Thus, it immediately overloads your body. This is NOT natural.
However, fruits are different.
Sure, fruits have some fructose sugar, but it’s also full of water, fiber, antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and other healthy nutrients.
It also takes time to eat fruit, chew and digest it.
This is all good, it’s natural.
Different Fruits – Different Benefits – Pros & Cons
Of course, not all fruit is the same or has the same benefits.
What To AVOID
Certain fruits should be avoided:
Fruit juice – yes, again, this is highly concentrated calories, lacking in fiber. EAT the fruit, not only the juice.
Dried fruit – it’s lacking the 2 most important parts of the fruit, water and some fiber. Plus, it’s not fresh and thus, many of the valuable nutrients have been killed off.
Jams – again, very highly concentrated. Usually contains added sugars.
Canned fruits – not natural, preservatives, added sugars, lacking nutrients, etc.
What To EAT
Berries – most berries are really good to eat. Blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and so forth, including cherries. The thin skin allows more nutrients to be created from the sun. It also allows more toxins and pesticides to enter, so make sure it’s organic.
Melons – these have lots of water, and are typically lower in calories because of it. Watermelon, cantaloupes, honeydew, etc.
Grapefruit and lemons are great. Again, super low in calories.
Oranges have benefits as well.
Green plantains and bananas are good, because they have much lower sugar content, even though they don’t taste as good as the yellow ones.
Apples and pears are okay to eat in small amounts. But make sure they are organic especially the apples. Lots of pesticides are used on apples and they have grown in size over the past few decades and thus, more sugar.
Pineapples, grapes, ripened/yellow bananas/plantains, and mangoes are some of my favorite fruits. They taste the best because they have the most amount of sugar. These for sure need to be limited.
When To Eat Fruit
Fruit should be eaten like dessert. I actually suggest you have a piece of fruit if you’re craving something sugary or in between meals if you’re hungry and you want to kill your appetite. It won’t raise your blood sugar much and it’ll keep you going. It’s also easy to digest.
An ideal time to eat fruit would be after exercise when your liver has been depleted of some of the fructose and thus, you can fill it up a little without it spilling over and converting to fat.
You should also eat fruits that are in season. Thus, have watermelon during the summer. Granted, these days, any and all fruits seem to be in season and available at your local supermarket. But seasonal fruits would be ideal.
How Much Fruit To Eat
And finally, how much fruit should you eat? … I suggest no more than 25 grams of fructose daily. Which is about 100 calories.
Personally, I do notice when I have more fruit, I do start to gain more body fat. Maybe due to me eating more calories or just higher fructose, I’m not sure.
Nevertheless, I suggest you limit your fructose and only eat it as a treat, like a dessert.