Is Fruit Sugar The Same As Processed Sugar?
We all know sugar is bad for us. In excessive amounts, sugar consumption leads to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, general metabolic damage and is even worse for our teeth. But what about fruit?
Clearly, the amount of sugar in refined carbohydrates is unnatural and should be minimised.
With the rise of ketogenic diets and the popularity of low-carb being becoming symbolic of lean physiques and a healthy lifestyle (which I’m a supporter of for certain individuals), we must think about fruit.
However, there have been some ridiculous claims about fruit itself being unhealthy and something the average person should avoid.
One must understand the fallacy in thinking just because a ketogenic diet can be healthy and excludes fruit, fruit is therefore unhealthy. This is completely irrational.
Plenty of empirical evidence suggests to us that humans are naturally frugivores (based on teeth structure and stomach acid/enzymes) meaning that our priority is to obtain fruits. Our brains and our bodies naturally prefer glucose.
To clarify: When I say that glucose is the body’s preferred source of energy please don’t mistake what I am saying.
“Preferred” doesn’t mean “best” or “optimal”, one could reframe this and say perhaps it burns glucose first to get rid of it; likewise wouldn’t we all be alcoholics since the body prefers to burn alcohol?
What I am simply saying is that both fat and carbs and technically “preferred”, it just depends on what exactly the body is doing at the present moment.
We must look at fruit not as sugar per say, but as sugar presented in a way which allows it to be optimally consumed.
What I mean is that the water and fibre content found in fruit allows sugar to be consumed in a healthy way.
Water fills up the stomach (it’s difficult to eat 6 oranges in a row), fibre is satiety (meaning it expands in the stomach), and fibre also reduces the insulin response of the sugar found in fruit (which is the chemical response demonised and attributed with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes).
Fruit is healthy as with vegetables. Some vegan diets could be considered high sugar, but because of the fibre and because of the antioxidants, minerals and vitamins these diets are often recommended as a way to REDUCE and reverse type 2 diabetes.
Is Fruit Healthy?
The answer isn’t yes or no – the answer is – it depends on how you consume fruit.
If you drink one litre of apple juice, despite it being from a natural source, it isn’t presented and consumed in a way intended by nature (lacking fibre) and so given a caloric surplus this may still contribute to obesity and the increased risk of developing insulin resistance.
So for 90% of people, a moderate amount of fruit is perfectly acceptable and healthy.
If you are on the ketogenic diet then it’s most likely not the best idea unless you are following a more advanced model of a ketogenic diet (cyclical or targeted) where you eat carbs around workouts, or simply cycle the days you are in ketosis (burning fat as fuel).