Hey lovely peeps, prompted by a recent question about fruit sugar from a client...
Fruit sugar is called fructose and it occurs in nature purely for the reason of helping us accumulate fat. WHAT!! Yep it's true, our bodies still react to fructose in exactly the same way it did thousands of years ago when we were hunter-gatherers. During the late Summer and Autumn time when fruits were plentiful we gorged and feasted on them with the aim of putting on weight to get through the hungry Winter months, fructose was part of our survival plan. Nature also made fructose super sweet and high addictive just to make sure we plumped up enough to survive the cold.
Fructose is processed differently in the body to glucose. Glucose can be processed by all cells in the body whereas fructose is processed in the liver, where any not immediately used for energy goes into fat storage.
But today fructose is not just in fruit; sucrose, (also known as table sugar), that is used in all processed foods is 50% fructose and 50% glucose and in glucose-fructose syrup the proportion of fructose is even higher.
This high level of fructose in our diets is putting a massive strain on our livers, the incidence of obesity and fatty liver syndrome is on the increase in both adults and children.
So what does this mean in terms of eating fruit?
- Whole fruit contains fructose but it also contains vitamins, minerals, fibre and numerous goodies. These extras mitigate the effect of fructose and are good foods to eat.
- The trend of making smoothies is generally a good thing but adding large amounts of fruit to a smoothie is not. What I recommend is 1 fruit to every 4/5 veggie portions. Also because the fruit is blended the body is flooded with the fructose which it has to deal with quickly; this is very different to slowly munching an apple!
- Dried fruit is a more concentrated version of fresh fruit; remember the our primitive bodies? Our ancestors will have dried fruit to create concentrated, high energy snacks to boost their calorie intake over Winter. Because of the high concentration of fructose in dried fruit they are very addictive, think of how many dried apricots we can munch through as opposed to fresh apricots.
So finally for our sugar free journey what would I recommend?
- Enjoy fresh fruit, berries are lower in fructose, melons and apples are higher but all are full of delicious goodies and your body will tell you when to stop
- Use fruit in smoothies sparingly, 1 piece to 4/5 veggies. Avoid buying smoothies off the shelf >> fructose disaster!
- Use dried fruit sparingly but be aware how you feel eating it, do you want to keep eating it in the same way you do sweets or biscuits, if so give it a wide berth!
So sugar-free peeps, enjoy your fruit but mostly keep it whole! with love Cxx