So Now Fruit is Bad For You Too? (April 25, 2017)
No. Of course it isn’t. But...
There is always a “but”. Always. Sometimes simply because reality refuses to be as simple as we think it ought to be. But sometimes -- SOMETIMES -- there is a “but” because someone is trying to put one over on you.
The internet brings us news, kitten videos and pictures of our friends’ meals, none of which we would willingly do without. It also delivers no end of speculation, opinion and outright fantasy disguised as fact to the unwary, the careless, the ignorant and – the Tired. You get tired of having to vet every piece of new information that comes your way. Therefore something that sounds plausible can slip right through your BS filter. Like this “bad fruit” thing.
FRUIT IS BAD FOR YOU BECAUSE THE SUGAR IN IT IS THE SAME AS TABLE SUGAR!!! I hope that whoever started this particular meme spends his/her afterlife in an Aldi’s produce dumpster. Because this is a classic example of a fact taken out of context to scare people and sell stuff. Even if that “stuff” is no more than faith in a dishonest, self-styled “expert”.
Now it IS true that the sugar in fruit and the sugar in the bowl on your kitchen table (do people still have those?) is chemically the same. But the tricky thing about Truth, as anyone over 13 years old knows, is that it’s nuanced. There is always some kind of a “but” because facts never stand alone. They are always part of a bigger picture.
This piece of information is being used in isolation to scare people, especially those worried about their blood sugar. Said innocents are now starting to limit their fruit intake and eating things like bacon instead because they think it’s healthier. Hah!
But fruit DOES have the exact same stuff in it that donuts and gummy bears do! Yes it does – sucrose, to be exact. (“Sucrose” is the chemical name for regular old sugar.)
And sugar – um, sucrose -- is very bad! Well, yes. At its best, sucrose in processed foods hasn’t got anything good to give you.
But when you eat fruit, you eat sucrose. And that means that eating fruit is the same as eating sugar, right? No, no, NO!
But isn’t that the logical conclusion? It depends on what you consider “logic” to be. This is a classic human mistake. We’re so enamored of our big brains and all the tricks that we can do with them that we make the mistake time and time again of forgetting that human logic is not the same as body logic.
Body logic is nature’s logic. It’s the end of several billion years of learning the best way to deal with the whole environment. Everything it’s experienced about reality over that time has been taken into account. Our brains, on the other hand, use linear logic based on bits and pieces of information. Your body, most of the time, is looking at things quite differently than are you.
In nature, the sweet taste means carbohydrates are present. Obligate carnivores (like cats) can't even taste sweetness. That's because they don't need carbohydrates. People are not obligate carnivores, we need carbohydrates, and when we eat naturally sweet things we get them, plus all the other nutrients that are found with them, and our bodies are pleased with us. (It happens that fruit contains vitamin C as well as sugar. Primates are almost alone among the mammals in being unable to make our own vitamin C. In the wild, we'd be in serious trouble very quickly if we didn't eat fruit.)
Sugary processed foods have, by definition, had all the nutrients taken out. But when you eat them, they taste good and your body doesn’t know that you’re eating pretend food. (Not right away, anyway.) It has no idea that there even is such a thing. It's a mean trick to play on it, and on yourself.
Another thing. Those sugary processed foods contain a LOT of sugar. A lot more than you find in a couple of pieces of fruit. So when you chow down on a Cinnabon, it dumps an enormous quantity, all at once, into your bloodstream of something that your body has evolved to handle only in small quantities.
It has no way to deal with these massive quantities of sucrose other than the technique it evolved for the smaller amounts. So it does the best it can, but that best isn’t great. It ends up shoving the glucose portion of the sucrose into arterial plaque and using it to plump up fat cells, and crams the fructose part into the liver, creating fatty liver disease. NONE of this happens with fruit.
But! What about the fruits with a lot of sugar? That’s why my friend at the gym doesn’t eat bananas anymore. Your friend at the gym is an idiot. But you already knew that. Look at his hair, for pete’s sake.
Ok, I’m sorry. People who understand everything I have said so far are often still a little spooked by some of the fruits that are especially high in sugar content. But they should not be.
First of all, again, there isn’t nearly as much in a serving of even a high-sugar fruit as there is in the processed foods.
Second, in the end, it really isn’t even the quantity of sugar you take in; it’s how quickly your body absorbs it. Processing doesn’t take out just the vitamins and minerals in a food. It takes out the fiber and water and all the other things you find in nature that naturally accompany sugar in fruit. These other things slow down its absorption and lets your body deal with the sugar that is present it in a sane, healthy fashion.
This absorption thing is central to why the sugar in fruit is not bad for you. With junk processed food you absorb a lot of sugar quickly, your blood sugar spikes and then crashes. You feel rotten and eventually all those highs and lows wear your body out. You want to absorb sugar slowly and steadily. When you eat fruit, that happens naturally.
This leads into an important and interesting subject that needs more time than I have here right now, so I will end off for the moment. But in the meantime, don’t avoid fruit. It will not hurt you. Not. At. All.
--dr. diane holmes
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