The Devil is in the Fruit – Or is it?

Posted on Feb 01, 2019

Fruit is poisonous

Fruit is toxic

Fruit will make you fat

Nature’s candy, aka fruit, has been getting some bad press in recent months.  

Warnings appear frequently in the media informing us of the dangers of fruit consumption and how eating fruit prevents fat loss and can even lead to weight gain.


So what is it that is making people fear fruit so much?

The high fructose content is the macronutrient subgroup that is solely responsible for this uproar.

The theory behind the accusation, is that fruit stops fat-burning as muscles lack the enzyme that converts fructose to glycogen.  Due to the muscle’s lack of storage capability of fructose, there is no other place for fructose to be synthesized other than the liver, converting fructose to liver glycogen.  As the liver can only store a minimal amount of glycogen at one time, the rest is stored as fat. Thus, fruit makes you fat or prevents fat burning capabilities!

Now while this is fuelling the fear that fruit isn’t good for your body, the science isn’t totally off.

The liver is responsible for supplying energy to your whole body and does have a limited amount of storage availability within it for glycogen.  Once these stores are full, a signal gets sent to advise the body of this. That leaves one other alternative option for the excess glucose, to be converted to fatty acids and stored in the body as adipose tissue.  

In short, excess fruit sugar is converted to fat.

Excess being the key word here!!

Too much of anything can lead to weight increase.

Too much of anything could be toxic or poisonous, including things like water or oxygen!

That’s right - Even the essentials we need to live can be harmful if we have excess amounts of them.

So you see, fruit isn’t the enemy here.  It’s about how we are consuming it and totally dependent on the amounts consumed.

Weight management relies on very simple logic …


CALORIES IN vs. CALORIES OUT.

Burning fat requires you to burn more calories than you consume.  This deficit can be created through nutrition, exercise or both, but provided it’s in place you’ll burn fat and lose weight.

Equally, if you’re looking to build muscle and gain weight, you’d need to eat more calories than you’re burning off.  So be in a surplus.

The worry seems to stem from the power the hormones have on the body under certain food plans.  

Typically, a “healthy” diet for body composition is made up mainly from a fairly high protein intake, mostly “low-GI” carbs – i.e. the nutrient-dense varieties like vegetables, potatoes, rice and so on, plus enough healthy fat.

Fruit fits in with this just fine, as most are low GI.

Plus, the average piece of fruit is less than 100 calories, so hardly going to screw up your macros.

Add to that the fact that the fructose content is so small in fruit that there would actually be hardly any elevations in blood glucose levels, and therefore no possibility of fat storage.


Fruit Theory = Flawed

Fructose can easily be converted to glucose from the liver.  Why do you think athletes rely heavily on fruit for their carb intake? … Because fruit provides quick release of glucose from the liver and used for energy for the muscles.

Fat storage is the last resort for fructose, as with any nutrient if consumed in a caloric surplus.


FRUIT IS GOOD FOR YOU!

Fruit is full of essential micronutrients that our body needs to make up a balanced diet.

Athletes and body builders that leave fruit out of their diets are often in nutritional or mineral deficiencies during their prep stages.

Fruit contains fibre and we need fibre to be, well, ‘regular’! (You get me!)


SO FRUIT IS OK THEN?

Listen, the fear was in the fructose content.  But the thing is, fruit isn’t even 100% fructose.  The fructose content in fruit is natural but also combined with sucrose, glucose, galactose and maltose.  These are all natural sugars and can be utilised in the body.


FRUIT HAS GREAT CONTENT

Potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and other phytochemicals are found in fruit.  These are important for muscle-building and muscle-repair.

We all love those gains so shouldn’t hate on the fruit!


FRUIT CAN PAIR TO MAKE SOME AWESOME FOOD COMBINATIONS

Berries in a protein shake, peanut butter on apple slices, almond with your orange, banana in Greek yogurt are all examples of how to combine fruit to utilize better absorption of the nutrients your body requires as buffers out the sugar load of just eating fruit on its own.

To conclude, like all things in life the key is balance.

A few pieces of fruit can boost your nutrient and fibre quota and also provide a healthy sweet treat in your day.

They are low in calories and high in nutrients.

There is never a right or a wrong way to reach your goal.

By including fruit into your nutritional plan you ensure you’re hitting those all-important micronutrients.

So not only will you look like a Greek God, you will feel like one from the inside out!

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