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Fruit...Good or Bad?

Written by Dana Yarn, RDLD

fruitI love fruit especially in smoothies, as a snack especially when it is ripe and in season and sometimes I throw sliced fruit into ice water to give it extra flavor.  Why is fruit getting such a bad reputation?  It is simple, the fructose in fruit has been shown to increase risk or symptoms of Insulin resistance, type 2 Diabetes and of course weight gain.  It’s not fresh fruit that is the problem, it is processed drinks and snacks that have concentrated amounts of fructose in them that are contributing to our health problems.

Controlling insulin and blood glucose is ultimately the ticket to great health and weight loss.  If insulin levels are up then it is impossible for the body to burn fat at all.  One of the first foods to go in most “low carb” diets is fruit. I’m not sure why one would decide to cut out a plant based food first and still incorporate processed snacks into their diet.   It nags me to meet a new client who has been “low carb dieting” for a while and sworn off fruit but still eats processed low carb bars, cookies, crackers, even ice creams, etc.  A lower sugar fruit like berries has less sugar in one serving then low carb ice cream.

The bottom line is yes, excessive fruit (especially fruit juices) that are very high in fructose (sugar) will contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance. BUT, consuming processed low nutrient “low carb” snacks will do more harm than the fructose from fruit.  Processed chemical laden snacks will create nutrient deficiencies, poor digestion, and over time could damage important metabolic systems like your thyroid, liver, and sex hormones.

Instead of swearing off fruit limit yourself to 2 servings of fruit per day from the below list of low sugar fruits.  Both fruits and vegetables are the perfect foods, rich in nutrients, water, fiber and low in calories.  Vegetables of course are lower in sugar then fruits, this is why I advise clients to consume 1 fruit serving to every 3 vegetable servings for a total of 9-11 servings per day.

Some of the lower sugar fruits include:

  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Grapefruit
  • Green apples
  • Kiwi
  • Kumquats
  • Limes
  • Lemons
  • Pomegranates
  • Strawberries

Consuming plant based foods at every meal will also improve skin, energy and digestion while keeping calories low to promote optimal weight management.  It is a win win!

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