Is Fruit Making You Fat?

Is Fruit Making You Fat?

​"Pick one, eat one" I was told. This soon became "pick one, eat three" and developed into "pick one, eat four".

I would also only pick the ripe and juicy heart-shaped ones...ignoring any unripened or bad ones...

I'm talking about strawberry picking...but the same could be said for all the self-proclaimed nutrition "gurus" scaring the living day light out of us by demonising a different food group every week

And fruit is the latest one which seems to be getting a “taste of the old slipper”... 

​According to some of the "gurus" and "nutrionolologists" out there - or whatever they call themselves these days - fruit is making us fat...they make it as simple as that.

People will often say to me "I've cut out fruit​..." almost like it should be celebrated. 

But I get it. I've been there. Listening to the latest hyped up diet that claims to help us lose fat and get lean. I went through this too. Banning foods...cutting out sugar...eating no carbs after 6pm...(I'll be going into this more for my email subscribers who've claimed their free Fruci Fit Lean For Life Starter Kit).

So I've given my verdict on this below...​

​Why is fruit being portrayed as the bad guy?

1. “Fruit contains fructose. Fructose is the devil. It’s converted to fat”

Yes. Fruit does contains sugar. “Fruit sugar” is referred to as “fructose”. Whereas glucose – which is the product of digestion after eating carbs like potatoes, rice and pasta – can be used and stored in your muscles and your liver…fructose can only be dealt with in the liver.

So, we do have a reduced capacity to deal with fructose compared to glucose. But does this mean FRUIT is making us fat?

Not quite.

Fruit is loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals. The fibre in fruit will help keep us full up and satisfied. It is also quite difficult to massively overeat on fresh fruit given that the calories are quite low. Most of us actually don’t eat enough for one reason or another...

^^^ perhaps because we think it will make us fat?

​We all know the "5 a day" target set to help us be realistic (7 seemed to be a bit ambitious)...

So I generally like to see about 2 portions of fruit and a minimum of 3 portions of veggies per day. So, stick to around 2-3 portions of fruit per day and you really have nothing to worry about with regards to "fruit" itself causing fat gain. Any fat gain will more likely be a result of too many calories consumed given your current lifestyle (e.g. exercise programme, how much energy your job takes up etc.).

2. “High fructose corn syrup causes weight gain”

High fructose corn syrup or glucose-fructose syrup is used in processed foods and drinks like your fizzy drinks. Now, fructose is added to these drinks because:

  • It is cheap
  • It is actually sweeter than glucose

The thing to remember is that the fructose is added WITHOUT the goodness of the fruit. Fruit contains fibre, minerals and vitamins like I said. Without the fibre and when consumed in excess (as fizzy drinks often are), you could argue that fructose is making us fat.

This isn’t necessarily because of the fructose, but because of the added calories. How easy is it to drink a can of coke? That’s 35 g of sugar and 139 calories. And it’s these “snacks” that add up. In fact, such sugary drinks may even make us more hungry.

To get 35 g of sugar from say, strawberries, you’d need about 4 cups worth and when do you eat that many strawberries – apart from when you’re strawberry picking and trying to get value for your money. “Pick one, eat one...or four”.

3. “I chuck everything into my blender”

Blenders are great. In fact, I have one. Not just for smoothies, but also for making cakes, pancakes and soups. But the rise in smoothie making is perhaps seeing us consume more calories. How easy is it to blend two handfuls of berries, 2 handfuls of grapes and 1 banana with some milk? It’s then gone in the space of a few minutes.

That’s about 338 calories, 63 g of carbs and 56 g of sugar just like that. Compare that to if you sat down, had a glass of milk, a banana, and picked at 4 handfuls of berries and grapes? It'd take you a lot long to eat and you'd be feeling pretty full and satisfied after eating the whole fruit and milk.

Just for the record, 1 Cadbury’s Dairy Milk with caramel has 215 calories and 24 g of sugar. Now, of course, fruit contains a lot more vitamins, minerals etc. but you get the point.

So, I’m not saying blenders are bad. It’s just that fruit may be demonised because it’s easy to overconsume when put in a blender. Hence, we eat more, consume more calories, and get fat. Juicing is a different topic. Juicing actually removes the fibre. So you may even consume more and the digestion will probably be even quicker.

​Summary

So, there is more concern for fizzy drinks (not the diet ones) than fruit, simply because they don’t keep us full and may result in us eating too much at the Chinese buffet...

We still blaming the fructose even after the all-you-can eat chinese buffet...

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But in the end it does come back down to calories. If fructose sweetened drinks mean you have more calories, you may get fat! So perhaps indirectly, it may be causing fat gain. But a whole host of things “indirectly” cause fat gain.

Too much of any refined or added sugar may cause health problems.

Practically, if you’re having 3 cans of regular coke per day, you may end up consuming too many calories over the course of the day (if you’re not tracking...which is another story altogether) because you consume TOO MANY CALORIES. The same probably can’t be said for fruit. It is more difficult to overeat on whole, fresh fruit, than fizzy drinks.

So in the context of your overall daily diet, 2-3 portions of fruit per day is all good.

Enjoy it..."Pick one, eat one"

Speak soon,

Matt

Personal Trainer and Nutritionist​

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