Too much fruits, too much bad sugars?
Recently, we have a discussion on whether fruits contain high fruit sugar and hence too much would be bad for health? Many recent articles point finger to sugar being the culprit of many serious diseases including diabetes, cancer, obesity, etc. So are all sugars bad? and is having lots of ‘sweet’ fruits be bad for health too? I have done a little research online and summarised what I found below
The main concern with overeating fruit is its natural sugar. While fruit is certainly high in the sweet stuff, research has consistently linked whole fruit consumption to a reduced risk for obesity and other metabolic diseases, says Lustig, who is the author of Fat Chance, a book that examines the health risks associated with eating too much processed sugar. Whole fruit also has a few built-it advantages that seem to mitigate any sugar-driven health risks.
For one thing, whole fruit has both soluble and insoluble fiber. Together, these two fibers form a gel-like “latticework” on the inside of the duodenum in the small intestine, he says. That latticework prevents a significant portion of the fruit’s sugar from being absorbed early on during the digestive process. “Like stopping a tsunami wave by building an underwater wall, this gel barrier limits the rate of sugar absorption so that the liver is not overwhelmed,” Lustig explains.
Instead, the sugar and other components of fruit quickly move farther down the small intestine to the jejunum and ileum. While the early part of the digestive tract is largely free of bacteria, these later structures are home to trillions of gut microorganisms. “They ingest and metabolize more of the sugar, so again, even though you consumed it, you don’t absorb it,” he says.
There’s a point in all this that’s not frequently made in the media or by health professionals: Sugar as it occurs in whole foods is not an issue; in fact, it is necessary and should be embraced. It’s a problem only when it is extracted from its natural package and used to excess. BUT, even small amounts of added sugars, especially in food made at home, can be enjoyed without posing any significant health risk. That said, dessert and other foods that contain added sugar should be eaten only occasionally and should not be a significant part of your diet. So refined sugars added into processed food (many of which have also high fat contents) are really the culprit.
Having said that, I always advocate everything in moderation, too much of anything (i.e. an unbalanced diet) would not be good – just not logical. So I don’t see much benefits at all in turning into a fruitarian (i.e. almost just eat fruits daily), like Steve Jobs!
Every morning, we blend smoothies (everything, not such juice) with two medium sized apples (plus a few other fruits, etc in smaller amounts), so would that be too much sugar? University of Florida did a research in 2012 involving 2 groups of people – one having (75 g of dried apple- equivalent to) 2 medium sized apples a day and other same amount of prunes. The results, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, showed that after three months total cholesterol levels in the apple-eating group had dropped by nine per cent and LDL cholesterol by 16 per cent. It was also found that apples significantly lowered blood fat levels in postmenopausal women, the group most at risk of heart attacks and strokes. Also, snacking on the fruit every day for six months slashed cholesterol by almost a quarter. The biggest reduction was seen in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol that furs up arteries and raises the risk of a life-threatening clot forming near the heart or brain. After six months, levels were even lower, with total cholesterol down 13 per cent and LDL levels dropping by 24 per cent. There was no further decline in the remaining six months of the experiment. Prunes lowered cholesterol levels slightly but not to the same extent as the dried apple.
Credits and sources:
http://time.com. (2018). Time. Retrieved 4 August 2018, from http://time.com/5301984/can-you-eat-too-much-fruit/
Two apples a day keeps the cardiologist away . (2012). Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 4 August 2018, from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9428831/Two-apples-a-day-keeps-the-cardiologist-away.html
Alona Pulde, M., Alona Pulde, M., & Alona Pulde, M. (2015). Is the Sugar in Fruit Good or Bad for You?. Forks Over Knives. Retrieved 4 August 2018, from https://www.forksoverknives.com/sugar-in-fruit-good-or-bad-for-you/#gs.GFEbt8A
Is Fruit Good or Bad for Your Health? The Sweet Truth. (2018). Healthline. Retrieved 4 August 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-fruit-good-or-bad-for-your-health
Is Fructose Bad for You? The Surprising Truth. (2018). Healthline. Retrieved 4 August 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-is-fructose-bad-for-you#section4