The current trend toward low-carb diets has given fruits a bad reputation. Fruits are naturally high in the sugar known as fructose. As a result, some argue that a diet high in fruits can have negative impact on our diet and our wellbeing. In fact, many hardcore low-to-no carb dieters actively avoid fruits. Ideally, these individuals prefer to get their vitamins and nutrients from vegetables instead. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be a bit shortsighted and, ultimately, too strict. When we discuss fitness and wellbeing, we should always think about it in terms of longevity, consistency and practicality.
Fructose Alone Is Bad, Not Fruit
This may sound a bit confusing at first, but bear with me. A cookie may contain the same type of sugar (fructose) as a bowl of strawberries, but they are worlds apart in terms of their nutritional value and, more importantly, in how our bodies digest and process the fructose. For one thing, a bowl of strawberries is packed full of vital nutrients and vitamins. They are high in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. An average cookie contains a ridiculously high amount of artificially processed sugar and has no real nutritional value. The processed sugar in a cookie crashes into our livers causing a spike in insulin and creating what is commonly referred to as a ‘sugar high.’ Over time, this can lead to diabetes and other complications. On the other hand, fruits such as strawberries contain fiber. The bulk and fiber in fruit allows the liver to process the fructose at a much slower, healthier rate that doesn’t tax our liver the way that sweets and sodas do.
Also, the amount of fructose in fruits is significantly lower than in the sodas and sweets that currently make up the average modern diet. For example, a serving of strawberries contains a total of seven grams of sugar. A sixteen ounce bottle of soda contains 52 grams of sugar! You would have to eat more than eight cups of strawberries to get the equivalent amount of sugar contained in one bottle of soda.
The Benefits of Fruits
Most of us are familiar with the common saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, it’s true. A diet high in whole fruits and, of course, vegetables have been proven to positively impact our health and wellbeing. In fact, studies show eight or more servings of fruit leads to a 30% decrease in heart attack and stroke. Fruits are also full of all sorts of essential vitamins and nutrients that are vital to our health as well. The high fiber content in fruits is also linked to a dramatic decrease in the rates of many types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Fruits, alongside vegetables, are an essential and tasty part of diet. If you are trying to watch your carb intake, be moderate in your consumption of fruit, but don’t avoid them either. The benefits of eating fruit greatly outweigh the small increase in carbs they may contribute to your diet.