Fruit has a really bad rap, it seems. The more I talk to people, the more I hear that people are afraid that fruit is going to make them fat. At first, this thought seems a bit irrational and excessive to me. I love fruit. I eat at least a serving or two every day, and I really cannot imagine not having fruit in my life. To be fair however, I did some additional research and these are the tidbits I would like to share.
When I talk to people who shy away from fruit, their first comment is usually that “fruit has a lot of sugar”. My answer is yes, and no.
A lot of the foods we eat have natural sugar. That is true. What is more important, however, is how our bodies process that sugar, and the other health benefits that a certain food may or may not have to offer in addition to just the sugar content. Fruits are rich in a variety of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
A good way to figure out how our body processes certain foods, and whether they raise our blood sugar levels, is to look at the Glycemix Index and Glycemic Load. The University of Sydney has a great site where you can get a great overview of foods that score low or high on the GI. But it is also equally important to look at the Glycemic Load that a food has. The glycemic load of a food is a number that estimates how much the food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after eating it.
For instance, a mango has a GI score of 60 but the mango’s glycemic load is only a 9. In comparison, fusilli pasta twists have a GI score of 61 and a glycemic load scoring of 29. So, the pasta twists clearly raise your blood sugar considerably more. A peach has a high GI score of 56, but its GL is a mere 5. In comparison, a baked white potato has a GI score of 98, and it’s GL score is a 26. See the difference?
Peaches and mangos are both rich in beta-carotene which converts to Vitamin A and is important for healthy hearts and eyes. In addition, peaches are rich in niacin, thiamine, potassium, and calcium. Mangos are also rich in alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin , which is another source of Vitamin A and protects your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals (as in anti-aging).
There are certain foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, avocado, and most vegetables, which cannot have a GI value, because they contain little or no carbohydrate. I always recommend that people pair a protein with their carbohydrates (fruits are carbohydrates) because protein blunts the increase in blood sugar. This can help to keep you in a stable fat-burning mode.
To be fair to both sides of the argument, I also searched for information about the negative aspects of eating fruit, and found this really well presented argument from Dr. Ben Kim. You can go here to read what he has to say.
When it comes down to it, like always, it’s all about balance, variety, and moderation in one’s diet. (Bet you knew that was coming) Anything in excess can lose its benefit.
And speaking of balance and excess make sure you check out my 30 Day Food and Exercise Journal over at Real [Fit] Life. Today I am posting days 5 and 6, and majorly working on upping my veggie intake! Yep, even I need to work on balance and variety!
See you next week everybody!
Jeannine’s “Warriors4LLS” Workout Join me, Jeannine Trimboli, Certified Personal Trainer, and fitness professional, at the Crossings in Colonie, this Saturday, March 31st, at 10:30am, rain or shine, for a great total body workout that leaves no body part ignored. And get a copy for home so you can get the benefits more than once! 100% of your $15 donation goes to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Be sure to bring your friends. This workout is appropriate for all fitness levels. Join me as a Warrior for LLS!
For more information and to sign up, go to this facebook link and click “join”.