One of the most common misunderstandings I hear is that fruit should be avoided because its high levels of sugar cause blood sugar spikes and adverse effects such as diabetes and weight gain. Yet this could not be further from the truth!
Yes, it is true that fruit contains an abundance of sugar, but these natural sugars act in very different ways than refined ‘added sugars from sources such as refined table sugar. While fruit is a whole food that comes with an abundance of nutritious compounds such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, added sugars have been processed and extracted from the whole food source, meaning that they are stripped of any nutritious benefits and offer empty calories.
Because fruit also contains high levels of fiber and water, they are digested slowly and steadily without rapid spikes in blood sugar. In addition, the fiber and water content makes fruit incredibly filling and reduces the urge to overeat, whereas added sugars are often unsatisfying and contain addictive properties that make it easy to keep eating. Fiber also contains other health benefits, such as the promotion of regular bowel movements, the cultivation of a healthy gut microbiome (bacteria in the gut that profoundly impact all areas of health), and prevention of bloating. Given that the average adult in many countries only consume about half the recommended amount of fiber each day, fruit is an easy way to consume more fiber.
Furthermore, fruit is filled with antioxidants and polyphenols that protect cells from oxidative damage from free radicals, thus decreasing inflammation and decreasing the risk of infection, various chronic diseases, and aging.Fruit is also a rich source of various essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and potassium.
Since glucose derived from carbohydrates is the primary source of energy for every cell in the body, the healthy carbohydrates from fruit will lead you to feel more energized and focused allow the body to function properly. In fact, glucose is especially 9important for the brain, which is the most energy-demanding organand uses around half of the glucose in the body for energy. Without natural sugars, you will find yourself tired, unable to concentrate, and in a bad mood, since carbohydrates trigger the release of serotonin in the brain. Furthermore, you will be much less likely to develop cravings for unhealthy, processed sweets such as pastries, candy, and soda when you satisfy your sweet tooth and body’s natural drive for glucose from fruit.
Will Fruit Make me Gain Weight?
Fruit has actually been shown to have anti-obesity effects and many studies have concluded that increasing fruit consumption is inversely correlated with weight gain.
Can You Consume Fruit When Diabetic?
Contrary to popular belief, fruit and other whole food carbohydrates do not cause Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is caused by an impairment in insulin secretion and/or function, and high fat levels in the blood, either from diet or from your own fat stores, can build up inside muscle cells, where it creates toxic breakdown products and free radicals that block the insulin-signaling process. In a study conducted in 1927, healthy young medical students were divided into 2 groups:one given a fat-rich diet of olive oil, butter, egg yolks, and cream, and the other given a carbohydrate-rich diet of sugar, candy, pastry, white bread, baked potatoes, syrup, bananas, and oatmeal. Surprisingly, insulin-resistance shot up far more in the fat-rich diet group than the carbohydrate-rich diet group, with their blood sugar levels doubling in response to sugar within a couple days.
In conclusion, there is no need to be afraid of fruit! Increasing your fruit intake will provide so many health benefits, from increased energy to better digestion to disease prevention.