In Defense of Fruit

I believe there has been much confusion and ignorance surrounding “carbs”, that the complex ones are “healthy” while simpler ones are “unhealthy”. Or that we should exclude simple carbohydrates entirely. Even fruits, those nourishing, restorative, pro-metabolic, digestible, delicious and detoxifying products of nature, are banned from many diets. If we believe carbs are carbs and sugars are sugars we don’t consider the fundamental biochemistry of the different carbohydrate forms. Whole grains are wrongly glorified while orange juice is put on par with soda. And where has this gotten us? We are more obese, diabetic, hypothyroid, inflamed, adrenal deficient and reproductively-challenged than ever. We are approaching a medical crisis.

In my 20+ years studying and practicing nutrition, I’ve heard many perspectives on fruit and whether humans should consume them. It has been my experience both personal and in my practice that fruit sugar is highly beneficial in the diet. Even diabetics can consume fruit freely when under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Fructose, or fruit sugar is found in many plants and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose is found in honey, tree and vine fruits, flowers, berries and most root vegetables.

Consider these facts:

  • a. Fructose, a simple sugar, has desirable effects on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar. Fructose enters cells through diffusion instead of active transport, thereby conserving energy and requiring no insulin. All complex carbohydrates (sucrose, maltose), however, require energy for active transport into the cell. Fructose requires no energy and is absorbed directly through the cell wall. Complex sugars, such as grains and pastas, create excess blood glucose, which creates insulin demand. This makes fruit an ideal carbohydrate for diabetics especially if they remove complex carbohydrates from their diet.
  • b. Fresh fruit contains more than just natural sugar. It also contains water, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients (those naturally-occurring plant compounds that have a wide range of benefits on the body).
  • c. Fruit sugars are alkalizing to the body and alkalization is vital to tissue regeneration because it is anti-inflammatory. Alkalization also promotes detoxification and cleansing. Think…fruit juice cleanse. When an unhealthy or toxic person consumes fruit, he/she may experience symptoms of detoxification. Fruit is blamed as the cause, when it is simply the flushing of toxins the fruit has stimulated.
  • d. Note: Fructose is NOT the same as synthetically produced High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS has a slightly higher fructose to glucose ratio and contains 4-5 times as many calories as regular sucrose. It also contains up to 80% unidentified additional ingredients. It is endemic in processed foods.

For further information regarding how fruit in your diet and detoxification can greatly improve your health and wellbeing, please contact Diane at Vital Changes Acupuncture and Nutrition