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Rest assured that in contrast to consuming generous amounts of sugary sodas and boxed breakfast cereals, eating plenty of apples and blueberries won’t cause you to lose the battle of the bulge. Evidence is mounting that the processed sugar being pumped into packaged foods and beverages is contributing to expanding waistlines the world over. Sugar has been making headlines as of late, with celebrities and trainers alike singling it out as one of the key culprits in America’s obesity crisis. Even I, a nutritionist, was surprised by the research, which has found that people who eat more servings of fruit have lower BMIs, even more so than veggie eaters. Apart from impressive nutrients, fresh fruit is high in water and fiber, so its naturally occurring sugar is less concentrated than other sweet foods. While you’ll find some of the same vitamins and minerals in both veggies and fruits, eliminating the latter altogether would cut out a broad spectrum of antioxidants that are unique to specific fruits or fruit “families.” In other words, the antioxidants found in stone fruits (cherries, peaches, plums) differ from those found in pomes (apples, pears), citrus (oranges, grapefruits, tangerines), melon (honeydew, cantaloupe), berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries), and tropical fruits (banana, mango, papaya). More good news about those aforementioned antioxidants—the rewards of consuming a wider assortment can literally be seen in your skin. If you’re active, consuming fruit pre-workout is a great way to fuel exercise and energize your cells. Bottom line: with so many benefits, fruit is definitely worth including in your daily diet.
Many health gurus claim that fruit can cause horrible things in the body due to the sugar molecule it contains, known as fructose.
I’ve known many people that were thoroughly convinced that they would get fatter if they ate any fruit (many of whom were already overweight, which is ironic), and that couldn’t believe I was able to stay in the single-digit body fat percentages eating over 100 grams of carbohydrate from fruit every day (apples, oranges, and bananas are my favorites). Some pretty heavy claims have been leveled at fructose in the “pop culture” of nutrition and diet.
According to Lustig and others, fructose has special qualities that directly induce fat storage, and that make it toxic to the liver.
Fructose is a simple carbohydrate that, together with glucose, makes up sucrose (table sugar).
But, if we’re to listen to fructose alarmists, this molecule in particular is to be avoided at all costs. These types of observational studies have led to advices to completely avoid fruit and fructose and assume the less fruit you eat, the better.
When you really dig into the feeding trials that highlight the health problems associated with fructose intake, you quickly notice something. For instance, one study conducted by the University of Lausanne showed that 7 days of a high-fructose diet increased fat deposits in the liver and muscle, as well as fasting triglycerides, and decreased insulin sensitivity. Another study conducted by the University of Fribourg in Switzerland had one group of the 15 volunteers drink a beverage containing 60 grams of fructose, and another a beverage with the same amount of glucose. Well, that’s the fructose found in about 9 bananas, 15 cups of strawberries, 150 cherries, or 5 apples. Yet another study, this time conducted by the University of California, had participants get 25% of their daily calories from either fructose or glucose. One of the common claims against fructose is that, regardless of level of intake, it leads to more weight gain than other sources of carbohydrate. Research has shown that a paltry 2-3% of fructose consumed is converted into fat in the liver, whereas 50% ends up as glucose, 25% as lactate, and 15% as glycogen. Fructose, like any other form of calories, will cause weight gain when over-eaten, but doesn’t have magical fat storage powers, and it doesn’t damage your liver at low-moderate consumption levels.


According to a meta-analysis of clinical trials evaluating fructose intake, 25-40 grams of fructose per day is totally safe.
While regular fruit eaters don’t have anything to worry about, but it’s worth noting that regular eaters of refined sugars like high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose can reach unhealthy levels very easily. For instance, a 20-ounce bottle of soda sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup contains about 35 grams of fructose. Even agave nectar, which is touted as healthy by many due to its low-glycemic properties, can be as high as 90% fructose.
So, the main takeaway from all of this is you can avoid all the health complications associated with simple sugars like fructose by just keeping your daily intake relatively low. You see, depending on how you eat, train, rest, and supplement, building muscle and losing fat can be incredibly simple or seemingly impossible.
I've also learned a lot about what DOES work, and I wrote Bigger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger to teach you EVERYTHING you need to know to build the body you've always wanted. If you like what I have to say, sign up for my free newsletter and every week I'll send you awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious "diet-friendly" recipes, motivational musings, and more. Also, fruit, like banannas and apples, contain fiber which will make your stomanch fuller, and help carry out sugars and toxins from your intestinal track and such.
According to a research review published in the journal Obesity Reviews, most evidence points to an inverse relationship between fruit intake and body weight—meaning that as fruit intake goes up, waistlines tend to shrink. But you need not to worry about the natural sugars found in fruits, says Sharon Palmer, RDN, author of Plant-Powered for Life. For example, you’d have to eat 3-plus cups of strawberries just to approach the amount of sugar present in a serving of fruit-flavored yogurt.
So sugars that come from natural fruits have a slower absorption rate than refined and processed sugars (table sugars). Trouble is, fruit—because it contains natural sugar—sometimes gets lumped in with foods like baked goods, candy, and sugary drinks, and as a result, unnecessarily shunned.
Scientists aren’t sure why, but it may be because fruits tend to replace higher calorie goodies and treats, whereas veggies tend to be add-ons. For example, one cup of whole strawberries naturally contains about 7 grams of sugar, compared to about 13 grams in one tablespoon of maple syrup, 17 in a tablespoon of honey, 21 grams in 17 gummy bears, or 30 in a 12 ounce can of cola.
It’s found in many plant sources like honey, fruits, flowers, and root vegetables., and is one of the three basic forms of sugar that our body can use as fuel (the other two are glucose and galactose).
They have addictive properties normally found with drug abuse, and that can lead to cravings, bingeing, and withdrawal symptoms.  Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is particularly bad, and has been associated with weight gain and obesity, and even an increased risk of cancer in men and women. For instance, research has indicated that regular consumption of fructose may play a causative role in the epidemic of a cocktail of disease, including hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Not impossible to reach through dietary means, but damn near impossible through fruit alone. Well, they had 16 guys consume a solution consisting of 3.5 grams of fructose per kilogram of weight every day. The result: blood pressure levels were elevated for 2 hours in the fructose group, but not the glucose group. But, practically speaking, reaching dangerous levels through fruit alone would require deliberate overfeeding. One gram of sucrose is about half glucose, half fructose, so if you eat a dessert with 50 grams of sugar, you’re getting about 25 grams of fructose.


Similarly, Spanish researchers found that people with the highest fruit intake were less likely to gain weight over a 10-year period than those who ate the least amount of nature’s sweet offerings. But in my private practice, I still recommend eating fruit—even for clients trying to lose weight.
In other words, you’re much more likely to choose an apple (rather than broccoli) instead of a cookie. And even in fruits that pack more sweetness per bite, the sugar is bundled with valuable protective substances.
Because fruits do pack about three to four times as much carbohydrate as veggies, your daily intake should be based on your body’s energy needs. I weigh about 90 kilograms, so that would mean I would have to eat 315 grams of fructose per day. High-fructose corn syrup is about 55% fructose and found in many processed foods, fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and so on, so this can add up quickly as well.
The bottom line is you’re just not going to mess yourself up eating fruit unless you go out of your way to slam down an outrageous amount every day.
You can just enjoy yourself when it comes to fruit (you have to account for the calories though, of course). These include antioxidants, as well as boron, a mineral that helps keep bones strong, and inulin, a fiber-like carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic, a substance that helps support the growth of probiotics, the “good” bacteria in your GI tract that boost immunity and keep your digestive system healthy. Well, I eat close to 3,000 calories per day, so that would call for about 175 grams of fructose per day. In that regard, I eat only apples and strawberries (low GI), except after a workout, when you need carbs ASAP.
Even just once a week, reaching for one cup of fresh blueberries rather than a blueberry muffin would save 19,552 calories in a year’s time, enough to shed at least five pounds of body fat.
If you think of antioxidants as “cell defenders,” it just makes sense–smaller numbers of troops from a larger number of armed services—each with distinct abilities—offer more overall protection.
Antioxidants also fend off compounds that damage skin from the outside in, including free radicals produced by sun exposure, pollution, and cigarette smoke.
Bottom line: consuming 30 grams of fructose from fruit is different than drinking 30 grams of pure fructose, or in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.
In addition, emerging research indicates that consuming more produce is tied to smaller waist measurements, and lower body fat percentages, even without taking in fewer calories, meaning that the quality of your calories is key. To reap the rewards, the smartest strategy is to not only eat fruit, but mix it up—rather than munching an apple every day, alternate the types of fruit you buy, as well as the colors.
And if you’re active, a moderate amount of fruit sugar will fuel your cells, not fatten them.
Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches, I include one serving of fruit in each breakfast meal and one in every snack. For most of my clients, this is the perfect amount to reap fruits’ nutritional and health rewards, without interfering with weight loss.



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