Fruit is nature’s fast food. Just grab it and eat it. Some people even argue that our hands are perfectly evolved to pick fruit. And I have to admit that apple fits in my palm perfectly.
What about all the sugars in fruit?
As sugars (fructose in particular) are getting a lot of bad press lately some people have been questioning healthiness of fruits. They have been raising a valid point that fruit contain a lot of sugar. After all, this is what makes fruit so lovable – it’s sweetness.
There is a lot of evidence confirming that sugars cause many of the modern man’s problems like obesity. High consumption of fructose is mostly to blame here. But at the same time, we still have recommendations to eat fruit daily so why is fructose in fruit different?
It’s all about context
If we look at what Valencia orange is made off its main ingredient (over 85%) is water. Then there are carbohydrates (12%) and fiber (2.5%). We also get a lot of minerals, especially Potassium and Calcium (both play a vital role in the release of insulin), and a lot of vitamins (big boost of vitamin C).
If you compare this to consumption of table sugar that provides only glucose and fructose you can see this is a completely different ball game.
Digestion of a whole fruit will take longer (fiber) and will provide more nutrients to our body.
As Dr. Lustig says about fructose and fiber: ” When G-d made the poison, he packaged it with the antidote”.
There is a lot of evidence that high consumption of fructose can cause harm.
However, this does not apply to fruit as it’s consumed in a different context and the dosage is much lower. You would have to eat a lot of fruit to consume the same amount of fructose that is consumed when drinking fizzy drinks.
For example, one can of Red Bull contains over 26 g of sugars, where 100 g of strawberries contain less than 5g of sugars. That’s roughly 500g o strawberries to consume the same amount of sugars but at the same time, you eat a lot of different nutrients, especially the fiber.
What you must be careful with is turning fruit into a juice. This is the way to increase sugars dosage while decreasing fiber content.
Chew your fruit
Most fruits require a lot of chewing and chewing them properly is very beneficial. This slows down the intake process while increasing the feeling of being full.
For example one 16 oz (347g) bottle of coke contains almost three times a number of carbohydrates than our orange but the same orange will give us a much higher level of satiety.
There are hundreds of different fruits found in nature and their nutrient composition can vary greatly.
To maximize the health benefits of fruits it makes sense to choose ones with the highest fiber content and mix things up eating a variety of fruits.