Having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important for not only their anti-oxidant and fiber benefits but also for creating an alkaline environment in the body. Maintaining an alkaline environment is important for bone mass and muscle tissue. Acidic environments are noted in several diseases in the human body.
Are There Fruits That I Should Avoid?
All fresh whole foods have numerous benefits. They do vary slightly in glucose and fructose content. The ones to avoid are dried fruits, dehydrated fruits, canned and fruit juices due to their high sugar content and preservatives. Frozen fruits are good and fresh, organic fruit is best.
Are There Fruits That Are Better Than Others?
The darker the fruit the better it is for you. Dark fruits have thin skin, meaning they need to produce more antioxidants to protect themselves from the sun. This is also true for the glycemic load of dark fruit; the darker they are the lower the glycemic load.
Does Fruit Affect Blood Sugar Levels?
NO! Surprised? All food have an effect on blood sugar levels but not all have an effect on insulin levels. Fruit does not send your blood sugars sky-high but because it doesn’t effect your insulin levels the fruit is not getting into the muscle where it needs to be, to be used as a carb. It therefore is used to fill up your liver storage. If you eat too much, the extra fructose will be stored as fat.
What Is Fructose? And Is It Bad For You?
Fructose is a simple carbohydrate or sugar. In the liver, fructose is converted to glucose and stored as liver glycogen. The liver can only use and store so much fructose as glycogen at one time. The remainder will be stored as fat.
Research shows that getting a large portion of carbohydrates from fructose results in visceral belly fat gain, reduced insulin sensitivity, more bad cholesterol, less fat burning and a lower metabolic rate…NOT GOOD!
Another reason fructose is often frowned upon is for the simple reason that the liver prefers to use fructose as energy over glucose. What that means is our body will use fructose (fruit) to first replenish our liver glycogen stores before replenishing our muscle glycogen stores. Fruit can replenish muscle glycogen, it just takes longer because the liver will fill itself up first.
That is the reason bodybuilders and fitness competitors will cut out fruits, as they want to replenish their muscle glycogen first rather than their liver, to ensure fast delivery of nutrients for growth and repair to muscle tissue. The liver will steal the fructose in the fruit and store it, rather than use it in the body for repair. What people fail to understand is you cannot be completely depleted of liver glycogen and ‘top-up’ just your muscle glycogen.
FACT: Too much fructose can be converted to triglycerides and is for this reason you should limit your daily fruit intake.
How Much Fruit Should I Eat In A Day?
Some experts say 5-20 grams of fructose, which is around 1-2 servings a day and 20 grams for a very active individual. I go by 2 servings of fruit a day and that seems to work for me and the females I have trained, keeping in mind we are very active!
My Top 5 Fruit Choices For A Flat Belly
Grapefruit - an excellent source of vitamins and phytochemicals, rich in vitamin c, antioxidants and fibre. The reason I love grapefruit and have it daily is the effect on regulating blood sugars and it is theorized to help metabolize and burn fat.
Mixed Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) – another excellent source of vitamins (rich in vitamin c), anti-oxidants, phytochemicals and fibre. I love berries for their taste, low GI scale and few calories.
Apple - an apple a day…you know the rest. This is made true for their high vitamin B-complex, vitamin c, phytonutrients and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
Orange - like all citrus fruits, oranges are high in vitamin C and also contain a rich amount of vitamin A. Oranges are high in fibre pectin which is known for it’s laxative-like quality that protects the colon and helps to lower cholesterol.
Cranberries – this fruit is wonderful as an anti-inflammatory and kidney protector; known for its protection against urinary tract infection.
FUN FACT: Tomato is a fruit but is often referred to as a vegetable. I do not include tomato as part of the 2 fruit rule because of its low sugar content.
FUN FACT: Avocado is also a fruit but I use it as a fat source rather than a fruit.
Bottom line is fruit has many benefits but it is crucial to keep fruit to a MINIMUM!
Any questions? Ask below!