Is fruit the baddy or your buddy?

Trending in certain nutritional circles, fruit has become a swear word. For the high protein, high fat followers, fruit is a no-no. Then there’s the fashion for thinking that berries, grapefruit and lemons are fine, but that’s all, no other fruit, due to their high sugar content.

I almost feel intimidated into not writing this, but then that’s my stuff…we do have freedom of speech and (here’s my mantra) “I am a courageous and strong woman”.

I love fruit! And it loves me. That means I feel good when I eat fruit, I enjoy the tastes, the abundance of varieties and textures. Of course I get satisfaction too from the knowledge that I am providing my body with a huge number of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants – polyphenols. There may well be hundreds if not thousands more health promoting, age defying, cancer preventing substances in fruit that we have not even began to fathom.bowl of fruit

But what about the sugar in fruit? Firstly, there is a huge difference between the naturally occurring fructose found in fruit (which is always present along with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) and the purified isolated forms of sugar:  sucrose (table sugar) corn syrup, glucose syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) etc that are added to cakes, biscuits, sweets and sweetened drinks not to mention most processed, packaged food.

Inspired by Professor J. Yudkin (in whose department I studied) who wrote “Pure, White And Deadly: How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it”, I am pondering how we got into this state of overkill with sugar. Looks to me like yet another direct consequence of the affluence, exploitation and greed of the major food multinationals over the last 100 years.

Don’t get me started….blah blah blah.

But it looks like change is afoot, now there are calls for the government to consider a tax on sugary drinks to help tackle the obesity crisis, with the NHS imposing its own sugar tax in the hospital cafes.

We know these purified, extracted sugars contribute hugely to the current epidemic of tooth decay, fatigue, diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity but less obvious in causing heart disease, cancer and or even skin diseases such as seborrhoeic dermatitis. It is these sugar-laden beverages that enable people to consume huge excesses of calories. The normal satiety mechanisms of our bodies that would regulate our intake, do not kick in, possibly because refined sugar and HFCS are relatively novel foodstuffs, and so does not trigger this normal response, unlike when you consume fatty foods, proteins or even good old whole fresh fruit.

Many experts say that fruit in fact offers protection from these chronic diseases of affluence due to their high antioxidant and fibre content. Anthony William, Medical Medium reminds us that the old saying was always: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” not “ An egg a day or a breast of chicken a day keeps the doctor away”. He goes on to say “fruit has the power to heal disease, prevent it, sweeten our days, give us energy, and give us back our lives.”

Only you will know which fruit feels good for you, how much, how often and when. At the end of the day, I like to listen to my body rather than my head. I suggest you do the same.

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