The Truth about Fruit


Lately I have heard a lot of people hating on fruit because it contains fructose.  Not to oversimplify carbohydrate metabolism but the basic facts are that processed sugars like table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and fruit juice are not that great for us.  They can lead to metabolic dysfunction, diabetes, obesity, etc.

Whole fruits, on the other hand, have all kinds of other nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants that are really good for us.  Consumption of fruit is linked to lower disease risk (the opposite effect of processed sugars). Overall calorie balance is important too so this does not mean you should go overboard!  Vegetables also offer a plethora of nutrients and generally have a lot fewer calories than fruits so keep that in mind. In general, how much fruit (and overall calories) you eat should be determined by your lifestyle and activity levels. Personally, I would recommend that most of your carb intake come from complex carbs such as beans, potatoes, rice, yams, oats, etc. and that you time them around your workouts.

Speaking of exercise, fruit can also be helpful during and post-workout. Studies have shown that having a combination of fructose and glucose helps your body absorb carbohydrates more quickly, making them available to do work. Win!  A very simple post-workout snack could be a banana and a cup of low fat chocolate milk (or a protein shake with some fruit).  I also enjoy protein banana pancakes (0.5 cup oats, 1 banana, 0.75 cup egg whites, 1 tsp baking powder, and cinnamon blended in a mason jar) topped with berries and Greek yogurt.  Not quite as fast-digesting as a shake but they provide a whack of nutrients and are very satisfying 🙂

Until next time, eat fruit and prosper!

Selected References:

Jentjens, R. L., Moseley, L., Waring, R. H., Harding, L. K., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2004). Oxidation of combined ingestion of glucose and fructose during exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 96(4), 1277-1284.

Karp, J. R., Johnston, J. D., Tecklenburg, S., Mickleborough, T. D., Fly, A. D., & Stager, J. M. (2006). Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid.International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 16(1), 78.


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