Natures Candy Cane
Edit:Check out this writeup from Hyperlipid, thoughts? He has a series of these that make alot of sense...
http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/search/label/Fruit%20and%20vegetables%20%281%29%20re%20post Looking for clear explanation as to why Fructose in fruit, despite all the studies showing that its horrible for us, is still ok, in its whole natural form?
There have been studies showing that consuming large amounts of fructose or sugar are bad for you. I don't recall seeing any studies showing that eating a peice of fruit has any harmful effects at all. Most studies show a neutral or positive correlation between fruit consumption and improved health outcomes.
If you eat too much protein you will poison yourself. Does this mean you should remove all protein from your diet? Most things are not poisonous at any quantity. The dose makes the poison. Even water can kill you if you drink enough of it.
There is no evidence of harm from the amounts of fructose in whole fruit but there are many benefits from other components of the fruit including vitamins, soluable fiber and phytochemicals. This probably does not apply to fruit juices that mostly just sugar so avoid drinking your fruit. If you have metabolic problems and cannot handle any fruit in your diet or need to restrict fruit to lose weight those are individual issuse, not the fault of the fruit. Of course not all fruits are equal but this applies to all foods. Fruit is not magic, simply the fructose content is to low to be problem, but it tastes good and at moderate consumption it has benefits.
A couple of sciency bits I found online:
http://endo.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/139/3/827 You have a transporter protein in your gut thats only job is enable you to absorb fructose. Why would you have this if you were not meant to eat any fructose?
http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/42 Fruit intake is independently asscociated with lower levels of inflammation, which most people would consider a good thing.
Acceptable doesn't mean good. There's a lot to be said for certain components of fruit and the possibility they carry of compensating for other deleterious lifestyle choices (anti-oxidants, anyone?). For those of us avoiding the negative sides of contemporary living (though it's all-but impossible to live perfectly cleanly these days) there may be some small benefit from eating fruit.
Personally, I don't eat any fruit because it raises my blood sugar, and I try to minimise all inflammation in my body, especially while I try to burn excess fat.
Fruit is, at least, meant to be eaten and therefore not full of the 'don't kill me' chemicals of veggies, but given our digestive system and the impact sugars have had on most of us throughout our lives, fructose may well still be a poison in its unrefined state.
Like all things, I think it's best to find out how your body responds before you rely on theories and grok-logic to make your nutrition decisions for you.
Hunter-gatherers didn't just eat meat. It is likely that fruit made up a very large portion of calories. It's easy for people living in cities as many of us do to forget that food exists outside in the wild, whether in animal or plant form.
Most vegetables do not have much in the way of calories. The botanical definition of fruit also includes nuts. Fruit and nuts both have a fair amount of calories.
That was the concern. Getting more calories with more nutrition. They didn't have a culture of processed food, nor did they have a diet book culture. Humans in the wild devote their lives to food. Food is primal, and few things are more primal than fruit.
I read about wolves ravaging watermelon farms. Yep, they were eating the watermelons. Some people think humans are carnivores, but not even carnivores like the wolf can resist sweet fructose temptation.
Recently there has been reports of a study done where tumors were fed glucose and then fructose and from this they concluded that tumors "thrive" on fructose. Well, the vast majority of fruits are far from having 100% fructose like in those studies. Did they also feed these cancer cells protein or fat? They had a hypothesis (fructose makes tumors fat) and sought to replicate that. And maybe they didn't care whether it made sense or was logical or not. It fed into the current talk of fructose.
The fructose scare is doing nothing to make America healthy. All it will make people do is avoid HFCS, which is laughably small way to make a change unless one consumes sugary drinks regularly. Diet drinks have made a huge success in the market already. I think you have to consider the food that's being eaten, in what quantities, and the person's activity level. And because they think fructose is bad they are going to avoid healthy fruit.
Remember the low-fat craze, then there was a low-carb craze. And between all this we got lots of mini crazes based on avoiding this or that ingredient. HFCS (and all fructose by association) becomes a scapegoat for America's gluttony and sloth.
I would like everyone to consider the Kitava who consume lots of carbs including fruit and consider whether they are unhealthy, they're not. And obesity is rare. Most other hunter-gatherers also consume fruit. Only when humans ventured into cold climates (or perhaps also very hot desert climates) did we have to adopt very low carb diets simply because there wasn't much fruit to be found. Would it be close to the diet of much of our evolution? No. Would it get us through the harsh winter? Yes. Humans find ways to survive.
I just don't see how early apes would go from eating lots of fruit as they most likely did (our evolutionary heritage is arboreal, just look at all the other primates) to getting to a point where consuming it would be bad for our health. It seems contrary to evolution for such a nutritious and energy dense food source to become bad for the human species.
Recently I read a post on a low-carb blog extolling gluconeogenesis as proof that humans actually don't need any carbs. Our livers produce glucose anyway. Why would our bodies produce something we don't need in the first place for use in our body's systems? If sugar is so scary, why is glucose, abundant in our blood, a form of sugar?
There's a simple way to check if fruits are good for you or not. Buy a blood glucose monitor at your local drug store with some test strips. Take your fasting blood sugar in the morning. Then, have a meal with some fruit. Test your blood sugar one and two hours after. If it's above 120 two hours after the meal, fruit is causing dangerous elevations in blood glucose and you'll need to moderate it. If it's below 120 the amount of fruit you're eating is probably fine.
Obviously how you feel eating it should also determine the choices you make.
Just because something is toxic doesn't mean our metabolic system can't deal with it. Humans have been ingesting fructose, in relatively small quantities, since before they were humans; this is basically proven by comparative anatomy (grinding teeth are for veggies, etc). Sugar and fructose critic Robert Lustig has quipped that the sweet taste of fructose is like a lure that gets us to eat fiber and other useful micronutrients. Very much something that Michael Pollan might say (e.g. botany of desire).
Fructose toxicity is more of a long term, chronic concern than a short term concern; unlike alcohol, a single overdose of fructose will not kill you immediately. Long term chronic overexposure can kill you, but periodic exposure to limited quantities, so long as the total carbohydrate load of the diet is low, will not really hurt you. Our ancestors had periodic, seasonal fluctuations in the amount of fructose they ingested. If your fructose ingestion follows the same pattern, you should be fine.
Nevertheless, modern science would suggest that carbohydrate sources that are higher in starch or glucose are less toxic and should be preferred if you for some reason need to load carbohydrates. In that sense, at least, a white potato might be better than a sweet potato!
Don't forget that the fruit (and vegetables) of today barely resemble their wild cousins that our paleo ancestors evolved eating. They have, for the most part, been bred to be larger, sweeter and juicier than nature intended.
On top of that, they are all available in greater quantities and for longer periods of time than we would typically expect to find in nature.
Combine those two points and you've got nature's candy bar on a tree (shrub or bush) staring you in the face.
Something that is not discussed very often is that a kind of food can be good and bad at the same time. It can be good for your (Darwinian) fitness: more reproduction of genes. But it can be bad for long term health.
I think fruit could be considered to be like this. Fruit could cause beneficial nutrients (energy, phytochemicals, ...) that put our organism in a 'go-and-reproduce-now-is-the-time' modus.
This could (partially) explain why most of us like fruits: ancestors who liked fruits reproduced more offspring, even at a cost. Darwinian medicine talks about these trade-offs quite a lot.
(edit: just adding something to the discussion here, not saying all of the before mentioned answers are wrong, quite the contrary. My two cents on fructose: the poison is in the dose)
according to Cordain's original Paleo Diet book, fruit has a different effect on blood sugar than refined sugars do. takes longer to process or something, doesn't cause a spike, but rather, a more gradual release into the blood sugar.
I used to avoid fruit, then I added it back in to see what would happen, never more than one serving a day mind you and nearly always accompanied by a fat, such as a chopped kiwi with natural yoghurt on top. I lost weight faster, go figure, I think it satisfied a need in me and actually helped keep me on track. Mind you I never go above the one serving a day otherwise I mess too much with my blood sugar.
Grapefruit juice - what kind of sugar? 2 Answers
Sugar and Paleo Diet: The Bitter Truth 10 Answers