Updated: Apr 11
It is no longer a surprise if I tell you that sugar is no good for you. It provokes insulin spikes. The never-ending roller coaster of insulin raising and plummeting throughout the day in response to sugar consumption is a silent killer unless you are metabolically flexible. What if I tell you that fruit could be as bad as white sugar? Naturally occurring fructose in fruit or sucrose, aka table sugar, artificially extracted from sugar cane or sugar beet, are sugars that our bodies do not differentiate.
Nowadays, the consumption of fruit is unprecedented in human history. During hunter-gatherer times, the fruit was a seasonal food. In late summers and early autumns, tribes could add fruits, tubers, and berries into their traditional meat and animal fat diet. As civilizations had developed and agriculture, travel, and food transportation became affordable, societies started eating fruit more often. We are now able to eat any fruit from any geographical region all year round. Societal taste has also changed. My childhood memories are full of sensory images of tart apples, astringent rhubarb, sour cherries. Modern agricultural selection practices have developed varieties of apples as sweet as honey, and sweet tropical fruit is in abundance in supermarkets.
Consumption of sugar affects those brain receptors responsible for pleasures; therefore, fruit consumption is an addiction. I challenge you to try eating just one cherry and walk away from the fridge for the rest of the day! Understandably, going cold turkey and stopping the consumption of any fruit altogether is a daunting proposition. Besides, we have been well brainwashed by government dietary agencies. Now, we believe in the common misconception that you need to eat fruit to get vitamins. That is so not true as meat and vegetables contain vitamins in more significant amounts. Take vitamin C, for example. One medium apple contains 6.3 mg of vitamin C, but a portion of 100 g of beef liver will provide you with 23.6 mg of it.
Here are three tips to help you step on a healthy journey of reduced consumption of sugary fruit.
Eat fruit belonging to your geographical region
If you live in Europe, Australia or North America, please remember that mangos and bananas are not the natural plants initially grown in these parts of the world. The early voyagers brought them to our tables, and the agronomists started cultivating them locally. Avoid eating tropical fruit. All of them are high in sugar: for example, one medium banana contains 15g of sugar which is equivalent to three teaspoons. Over time, your taste and appreciation for fruit flavours will adapt to your new way of eating, and tropical fruit becomes tasting sickly sweet. And did I mention that you should be eating only fruit in season?
Time fruit consumption wisely
If you want to have a piece of fruit, do not consume it as a snack. Plan the consumption for after a meal rich in the above the ground growing vegetables, meat and healthy fat. Insulin then will not rise much as your body will already be busy working on breaking down carbohydrates from your meal. You can also consume fruit before strenuous exercise as the sugar it contains will be used for energy.
Substitute fruit for berries
Raspberries and blueberries are delicious. They are also low in sugar. There are many recipes available to use berries in smoothies and desserts. Here is one of my favourites:
220 g of coconut milk
60 g of water
125 g of mashed strawberries
45 g of chia seeds
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients, transfer to glasses and refrigerate overnight.