Can I eat fruit?
This question about whether people should eat fruit always upsets me.
YES! Eat fruit. It is a whole, natural food that is incredibly healthy.
Okay, so fruit contains some naturally occurring sugar, however, if eaten whole (rather than in the form of juice), it contains soluble fibre which helps to slow down the rate at which the fruit sugars are absorbed by the body. Therefore (most) fruit is low GI, meaning it is digested slowly, which is more important when it comes to how a food affects the body than just whether the food has ‘sugar’ in it.
Fruit is a nutrient-dense, low-energy, high-fibre food, which has been linked with greater risk reduction in some cancers when compared to vegetables, which is pretty amazing since we all know how healthy vegetables are!
Fruit is packed with micronutrients and health-benefiting antioxidants and phytonutrients. So removing this whole food group completely means a potential risk to your health, given the evidence around their protective properties. If you want to learn more, watch this and this.
Fructose is only really a problem in the food supply in America and it comes in the form of a highly processed food substance (i.e. not a whole food) called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Due to its cheap cost of production, it is used to sweeten processed foods in place of sugar, and it seems to be in all processed food. Now that poses a different question – is it the HFCS or the consumption of processed food that is the real issue? I digress.
Sugar itself is not evil, but I think we all agree that its certainly not a health-promoting product.
The biggest issue with sugar is that it is ‘hidden’ in so many processed foods. But the issue here isn’t just the sugar. Most processed foods contain other unpleasant ingredients like preservatives, additives, emulsifiers and other things you can’t pronounce, unhealthy fats and more. They also rarely contain many health-promoting nutrients.
Bottom line is limit foods in packages (processed foods) and read the ingredients list on the ones you do include so you can be aware of just how much sugar you are consuming – oh, and eat some fruit!
In fact you should be including two serves of fruit every day – a serve is a medium piece, a cup of chopped fruit or 2 tablespoons of dried fruit. Your future health deserves it!