Is Fruit Making You Fat?
Fruit Is Good For Us, Right?
The average American eats fruit for breakfast in their smoothies, as a mid-morning snack with their yogurt, as a side with lunch or in salads, as a mid-day snack with peanut butter, and even as a healthy late night snack. It healthy, right? Or is it? It is known as nature’s candy. How can it not be good for us?
The Real Science Behind Fruit
Sucrose is a disaccharide (two sugars) made up of glucose + fructose. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the blood during digestion.
Fructose, which is found in vegetables and fruits, contains naturally occurring fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and beneficial phytonutrients that moderate the stress it causes to our metabolism. A century ago, our ancestors consumed about 15 grams per day. This is the equivalent one apple. The typical adolescent consumes 73 grams per day from sweetened drinks alone!
It is the MASSIVE DOSES that our culture is currently consuming that make it so dangerous. Our body metabolizes fructose in a much different way from glucose which is the simplest form sugar that the body uses for energy.
It has been known that after eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolization rests on your liver as opposed to glucose where only 20 percent has to broken down by the liver. Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after you consume it. A recent study has found that the processing of fructose actually occurs in the small intestines. When fructose is consumed in large quantities the small intestine becomes overwhelmed and the liver has to do the rest of the work and the fructose will be converted into fat. This is a big problem because our liver was never meant to metabolize fructose.Dietary Considerations When Consuming Fructose
People with these conditions should consider their consumption of fructose:
- Insulin Resistance
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
These people should consider limiting there intake of fructose to 15 grams/day (e.g. one apple per day or less). Also when working with blood sugar regulation, fruits consumed without a fat can lead to insulin surges and glucose instability.
What Happens To The Fructose?
The fructose is then turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat. For example, 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Consuming fructose is fat producing!
The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease. 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 causes gout. Over time, too much fructose in your diet can cause liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
Another consideration is that glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin resulting in overeating.
How To Know If Fruit May Be A Problem For You
A uric acid level of 4 for men and 3.5 for women is a safe level for fruit consumption. The higher your uric acid, the more you need to limit or even avoid fructose until your uric acid level normalizes.
So Now What?
It is important to be aware as to how our body is processing fructose. We are all bioindividual and some people can tolerate more than others. Ask yourself after eating fruit (or any meal for that matter):
- How do I feel?
- Am I tired after my meals?
- Am I hungry between meals?
- Is my energy consistent during the day?
- Am I craving sugar?
There are numerous research articles available with with further information about the science of fructose metabolism. Here are a few for you if you would like more sources:
To You In Good Health,
If you want to address your health concerns and would like to find out how to reach your health goals and learn more about The RESTART® Program sugar detox group class, you can contact me here.
Disclaimer: I do not diagnose or treat disease, but instead make nutritional recommendations for balancing the body and promoting optimal wellness. Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are approved by the NTA as a certifying organization, but are not licensed or certified by any state. I am not, nor do I represent myself as a dietitian or nutritionist.