With summer around the corner and fresh fruit soon to be in season, it would be a good time to debunk some fruit myths.
For example, some patients are advised to avoid fruit because the sugar content is just too high. Diabetic patients are a perfect example of this. People eating a low carb or keto diet that eliminates fruit also receive this message. The hope is by the end of this blog there is a better understanding of the vast benefits of eating fruit.
Let’s start with the common misconception that carbs are unhealthy and cause weight gain. First, let’s put current notions aside and have an objective mind, and look at this from a fact-based perspective. Does it make sense for a natural substance grown by the very planet that houses us to provide food that is harmful to the body?
Here are the scientific basics:
- Glucose and fructose are major sources of energy/fuel for a body to function.
- Glucose comes from carbohydrates that are found in plants.
- Fructose is specifically found in fruit and honey.
- Humans need a food source to provide this fuel and the best source is fruit, vegetables, beans/legumes, and whole grains.
- Only plants contain antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber.
The real culprit of chronic disease, weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease are refined or added sugar and concentrated forms of fruit juice (fructose). If the concern is about overall health, refined sugar is where to draw the line, not a wholesome piece of fruit that decreases inflammation, hydrates, and aids elimination. Especially if someone is on the brink of diabetes, the antioxidants in fruit are essential in protecting beta cells that make insulin for the body. Furthermore, ‘researchers have found that eating whole fruit decreases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, with those who eat the most fruit having the lowest risk.’ Keep in mind, that it is important to avoid fruit juice while there is no added sugar, it delivers too big of a sugar punch without enough fiber or protein to balance it out. Overall, the goal is to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods.
To summarize the benefits of fruit:
- Rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants (inflammation is the underlying cause of disease)
- Full of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals only found in plants (necessary for the bodily functions to occur)
- Excellent source of fiber (necessary for weight management, toxin elimination, blood sugar/cholesterol management)
In good health
Vishaal Veerula, MD