Or does it? Some people I know who are off the sugar bandwagon, are also completely off fruit. They might have some blueberries, but that’s about it. Because fruits are carbohydrates and carbohydrates are sugar. The sugar you find in fruit is fructose, and that is the ‘bad’ sugar that we are not meant to have. Or, we certainly don’t need as much as the normal diet these days supply, with sugar added to everything (I wrote a little about that here). If you are a complete sugar addict and you can’t go one day without having chocolate, fruit, ice cream or peanut M&M’s, then your should consider going cold turkey on the sugar for a while, including fruit, and then add fruit back in after a few months, to have control over your addiction and cravings. If you decide to do that, make a plan, get rid of anything tempting in the house and at work, and make sure you have other things you can eat and drink once the cravings hit. You will get head aches and it will be hard, but I am sure it will be worth it in the end!
Back to the fruit – should we eat fruit? When should we eat it and how much? The Australian recommendation is 7 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, where 2 should be fruit and 5 should be vegetables. I think their serving sizes are a little small though (1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of salad is one serving – I’d say double it!). One piece of fruit is one serve of fruit. I am pretty sure they don’t mean watermelon here. Think along the lines of an apple or a kiwi fruit. And this should be your treat for the day. Instead of ice cream and chocolate, not on top of it. You get enough sugar in these pieces of fruit, no need to push your luck with chocolate sauce on your fruit salad.
Since fruit is sugar, the same thing happens to your blood sugar levels when you eat an apple as when you eat a Mars bar, except not as rapid, because apples contain fibre (yay!). Put simply; when you eat sugar, your blood sugar levels rise, then your insulin spikes and tells your blood to get that blood sugar out of the blood stream if not you will pass out. So the insulin packs up the blood sugar, takes it to your liver and your muscles and stores it there for the next time you are in need of energy. Unfortunately you don’t have unlimited storage space in your muscles (unless your muscles are a Gmail account, then you are lucky), so when it’s full, your insulin has no other choice, other than taking the blood sugar to your hips/belly/arms/thighs/man boobs (your favourite fat spot) and store it there as fat for future famine or war (or the next crash diet you are planning on trying!). The same things happen when you put sugar in your coffee, have ice cream after dinner or a nut and honey bar for afternoon tea. It’s all carbs and they all push your blood sugar uphill. How fast is depending on their GI. So from this you can read; if I have big muscles, I can eat more carbs. If I have small muscles, I can eat less carbs. Unless if you’re a marathon runner, then you can eat more carbs, because you will burn them off.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating fruit. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, there is nothing wrong with eating fruit. You just have to be mindful of when you’re having it and how much of it you’re having (in addition to every other piece of carbohydrate food you’re having that day). Because, carbs will not kill you, and it’s completely fine to eat them. In moderation. (Read this too). Especially if you’re trying to lose weight. If a product says fat free, look at the carb content. It will most likely be massive. And don’t forget it’s called LOW carb, not NO carb. Try to have your fruit with something, such as coconut cream or some almonds. The fat helps prevent the insulin spike from being too fast and too big, so your energy levels are more even, than if you get a massive energy spike and then a slump where you just want to eat again (something sweet. Fast! NOW!). You know the feeling of having an apple for morning tea, and afterwards you’re more hungry then before you started eating it? That’s what you want to avoid. So, eat your fruit as a part of a meal or combined with something fatty.
Again; it’s ok to eat fruit. Fruit should be treated as a treat (instead of chocolate, not in addition to). Try to avoid eating fruit on it’s own. If you’re addicted to sugar, do something about it. Not all fruits are the same though – just like one watermelon is not one serve of fruit. Here are a few of my favourites;
Blueberries – they are rich in antioxidants (what are those things anyway?). Can protect against cancer and urinary tract infection. And they are super low in carbs and very tasty. If you live in Norway, you can get them for free if you can be bothered harvesting them yourself. Con; your tongue turns blue!
Oranges – reminds me of Easter and cross country skiing. Packed of vitamin C (so are Carrots and Broccoli, so no need to eat oranges for that). According to research, the scent is calming. They are pretty low carb. Con; I don’t like peeling them. It sucks!
Apples – scrub the skin and eat it for lots of fibre, about 15% of your daily requirements. More of these antioxidants as well. And they keep the doctor away, great for people like me who don’t like doctors. I’d say apples have a moderate carb content. Con; can’t think of any actually.
Bananas – you know I love bananas. High-ish in carbs.
Kiwi Fruit – also packed with Vitamin C, more than the orange actually. Could protect your DNA from damage (I got no idea how that would work?) If you’re tough enough you eat them with the skin and get lots of fibre too! Low in carbs. Cons; I don’t like the skin and they get a little messy when peeling them.
Grapes – Grapes are probably one of the fruits with highest carb content, you can taste it when eating them, because they are super sweet. But, they are tough enough to fight heart disease. I remember when I was a kid though, grapes was small, super sweet and full of seeds. I guess they used to be a little more natural back in the day than what they are now. Cons; I guess the high carb factor.
Strawberries; super low in carbs again, eat and be merry or make your own ice cream like this. They can help you control Diabetes 2, work against heart disease and inflammation. Full of Vitamin C as well. Cons; they are on the top of the list of foods you should eat organic, as they are full of chemicals. You don’t get the sweetest Norwegian ones in Australia 😦
And so on and so forth. As for everything else, mix it up. Eat a wide variety of colours. Use fruit as a treat. Use dried fruit as a treat treat. Make your fruit juice into a vegetable juice with one piece of fruit to sweeten it. Eat your fruit as fresh as possible. You actually don’t NEED fruit for vitamins and minerals, there’s plenty in your vegetables if you eat a wide range of them. But fruit is ok. It won’t kill you (unless you are super allergic to anything called fruit. Then you have just wasted your time reading this.) It is certainly better for you to have a piece of fruit, than a bar of chocolate. Or to make a cake of fruit, instead of eating a fruit cake: