Does Fruit = Evil?
I have a dear friend at work that is also very interested in food and the whats good, whats bad for us equation. We can spend all day talking about this on a deeper level cos we just ‘get it’. I love that she challenges me to think outside the square and makes me really investigate various food ideas or thoughts that we see in everyday living.
I recently attend the Low Carb Down Under seminar that was in Sydney last weekend. Over lunch this week I was explaining many of the points that lead me to the conclusion that I had been over looking for so many years, that sugar – more accurately, Fructose – is what is making us ‘fat’.
Now, my friend is an avid fruit fan, she used to eat upto 6 or 7 pieces a day and believe that this was ok because she didn’t consumer ‘sugar’. A few months ago I introduced her to the Paleo-ish style/low sugar diet idea and she saw some amazing discoveries in her body and general wellness. She realised that she was relaying on fruit as a ‘pick me up’ in the morning and especially mid afternoons. But always believed that she was doing the ‘right thing’ as fruit is good for us, right? Well it does contain many essential vitamins, fibre and not to mention antioxidants! But now she sat across from me in our cafeteria with large blinking eyes, shaking her head in disbelief with a feeling that she had been ‘fooled’. Someone had been telling her lies! I suggested that she shouldn’t be hard on herself as, in fact, the entire world has been sold this story in previous decades, this is what we knew and so this is what we were told. Now we know better, just like how we now understand that asbestos built houses are not OK. We did what we thought was best as the time. I wholly accept that.
So back to our discussion at lunch time on low sugar…. She looks at me and says ‘ I hear what you are saying but i just don’t believe that something that comes from nature, that is a gift from the earth for us, could be bad’. ‘Yes’, I said, “But its all farmed now, and fruit isn’t what it used to be, it now so hybrid and modified that its hardly the same as its original species”. She went on to mention that fruit has been around for centuries and that we have been eating it and she was now not convinced (however she is proud to announce that she is only eating 2 pieces a day now). Well, I looked at her over the sandwich press and thought; perhaps she had a point. This really P’d me off. And challenged my thinking towards the whole fruit caper too. So I went away to ponder this.
And realised that; Yes fruit is from nature and we can eat it. BUT – and this part is important; we forget that fruit is seasonal, influenced by the weather and other conditions and what is available to you is largely dependent on the climate you live in.
What that means is:
- Fruit was often only around for a few weeks (seasonal) when the tree you were living near was producing ripe fruit.
- You only had what would grow near you – i.e. apples and mangoes do not grow in the same climates or same conditions
- Cold storage didn’t exist – so we could only consume it for a small period of time, unlike how grapes our in our Supermakets in winter. This is NOT what happens in nature.
- There was no such thing as ‘imports’.
Our ‘caveman’ relo’s would have eat it. They would have freaken lost their minds over how great it tasted too. And they would have gorged. Which, when you are living the caveman lifestyle totally makes sense. Think about it. Many fruits are often only ‘naturally’ around before the winter or after a fasting period. So as you might know fructose, when its digested goes via the liver to be transferred into either glycogen (a energy source for the liver) or fat, which is exactly what you would also need if you were about to ride out a winter in a cave and all the other animals that you would rely on for food would be in hibernation. Our bodies don’t detect our consumption of fructose like it can when we eat fats, proteins or glucose. This compromises our ‘appetite switch’. Translation; It takes a lot more fructose for us to feel full than any other energy nutrient. Therefore when we consume excess fructose we gain fat stores. Simple really.
I completely believe that we are designed to eat fruit. It is natural after all. However Mr and Mrs Caveman didn’t have a Boost Juice store around their cave corner.
So again, while I am here to help you make more informed choices I am not saying avoid, banish or burn either.
I happily consume fruit, mostly in the form of berries (they have the longest seasonality – and different varieties and its lowest in sugars)) as I find them more versatile and easiest to buy frozen and use when I need. I NEVER eat fresh fruit that is out of season for where I am living. But absolutely LOVE a mango or yellow peach when they’ve just come into season. (more on food energetics later)
Treat fruit as a ‘treat’ and you might just learn to appreciate how magical it is. And when you do this, your reasoning to be able to afford organic, locally grown might just be changed.