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Fruits and Fructose – Good or Bad?

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I eat a lot of fruit: raisins, grapes, blueberries, apples, strawberries, bananas, orange juice and tomatoes (yes, tomatoes are a fruit.) I always thought they were good for me (well orange juice in great moderation, only to enhance the benefits of green/white tea.)

Lots of research highlights the benefits:

Here are just a few examples:

1. Apples

2. Blueberries
Blueberries Help Build Strong Bones
Blueberries may inhibit development of fat cells
Blueberries: a Cup a Day May Keep Cancer Away
Blueberry’s positive effects on cholesterol

3. Strawberries
Strawberries Boost Red Blood Cells
Strawberries Fight Diabetes and Nervous System Diseases
Strawberries may slow precancerous growth
Strawberries Protect the Stomach from Alcohol

Even the government says fruits are good:

Almost Everyone Needs to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. To get the amount that’s recommended, most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day. How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need?

Fruits and Vegetables Can Protect Your Health
Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.

But a recent article sent to me by a reader/friend says quite the opposite:

A Word about Fructose (a Common Sugar in Soda, Fruit Juice and More) …

You will want to be very careful about the amount of fructose you consume as part of your carb intake, as it is by far the worst type of sugar there is in terms of both your health and your weight:

* After eating fructose, virtually all of the metabolic burden rests on your liver.
*Fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat.
* The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
* Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose simply does not do this.
* Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!
* The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and can cause gout.
* Fructose has no effect on the hunger hormone ghrelin and by interfering with your brain’s ability to use leptin, results in overeating.

If you want to shed excess pounds, maintain a healthy weight long-term, and RADICALLY reduce (and in many cases virtually eliminate) your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, then get serious about restricting your consumption of fructose to no more than 25 grams per day, with a maximum of 15 grams a day from fresh fruit. If you’re already overweight, or have any of these diseases or are at high risk of any of them, then you’re probably better off cutting that down to 10-15 grams per day — fruit included.

If you believe you are an exception to this rule then you can measure your uric acid level. If it is below 5 when you are eating loads of fruit then you are metabolically ok with it, as elevated uric acid levels are a strong indication of fructose toxicity.

So what should I do?

Well this article, Fructose: Sweet, But Dangerous, suggests that fruit isn’t really so bad:

Fruits and vegetables have relatively small, “normal” amounts of fructose that most bodies can handle quite well… For example, a cup of chopped tomatoes has 2.5 grams of fructose, a can of regular (non-diet) soda supplies 23 grams, and a super-size soda has about 62 grams.

But this table tells me apples, grapes, and especially raisins, are particularly bad.

My conclusion – I’m going to go right on eating most of my fruits but will cut down on raisins, which I use to sweeten my daily oat meal ( the subject of my next, similar, post).

Categories: General

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