For the past several decades carbs have been demonized by the weight loss community as the evil food group that must be avoided at all costs to prevent weight gain.
But the truth, according to health experts, is that it doesn’t matter if you consume more fat, protein or carbohydrates during your diet as long as you follow the basic principle of weight loss: Less calories in, and more calories out. But can eating too much fruit on a diet have a negative impact on your waistline? The answer might surprise you.
Natural Sugar in Fruits
We all know that sugar can cause weight gain if consumed excessively, and fruits are the sweet gift of nature enriched in a natural type of sugar called fructose. Found naturally in corn and fruits, fructose has often raised question about its effects on weight loss and whether consuming too much of it can be damaging to your waistline.
However, not all fructose is created equal; apart from being abundant in fruits, this natural sugar is also used as a processed sweetener in sodas and beverages that have been linked to insulin insensitivity, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
But fruits are not the problem. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than 58 per cent of the Americans eat less than their recommended serving of 2 cups of fruit every day.
On the other hand, the consumption of sugary drinks and sodas has gone through the roof with most Americans consuming an average of 250 calories every day just in the form of sweet fructose beverages. I think we may have just discovered the real culprit behind weight gain.
How Much Fructose?
Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s George Bray, who is the chief of clinical obesity and metabolism division, says that once all foods containing artificial sugar and corn syrup are eliminated from your diet, you could eat as much fruit as your heart desires without putting on weight. Bray has also authored a review on fructose and its impact on heart health which was featured in Current Atherosclerosis Reports.
He says that having a glass of fruit juice is not the same as having the fruit by itself. It takes several oranges to squeeze out a glass of fresh OJ for your breakfast, while most of the pulp which is rich in fiber and other nutrients is often discarded.
Concentrated juices, no matter how natural they may be, are extremely rich in fructose, and if consumed excessively, can have adverse effects on your liver. If you want to enjoy the benefits of fruits without negatively impacting your waistline or health, Bray recommend having them in their fresh, natural form instead of turning them into juices, jellies or desserts.
Liver Damage Due to Excessive Fructose Consumption
The amount of fructose you consume, whether from fruits or artificially flavored beverages, can have a direct impact on your liver health. The sugar in our diet comes from three main sources: glucose from starchy foods, fructose from fruits and sucrose (a mixture of fructose and glucose) from processed sugar.
While most of the glucose, when consumed, is converted into instant energy or stored as glycogen or fat, the fructose is often loaded into the liver to be used for energy later. Overloading the liver with too much fructose can cause excessive production of triglycerides which can become problematic for your health in the long run, leading to high cholesterol levels and diabetes.
Whole fruits aren’t like the high-fructose sugary drinks or juices that trigger health problems and weight gain. These natural treats contain a ton of fiber, nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants and won’t spike your blood sugar level the same way as processed sugar. Moreover, a shocking number of studies say that eating fruits can lead to weight loss and lower risk of cancers and other diseases.
Of course, moderation is key to maintaining a healthy weight and just because fruits healthier than other food groups doesn’t mean that you can eat them in unlimited quantities. Try to fit this food group within your daily calorie allotment, and do not go overboard with them since the high fiber content in fruits can lead to digestive discomfort if consumed excessively.
Nevertheless, fruits are a great way to manage your diet and can act as a low-calorie replacement for sugary desserts like ice creams, donuts and cakes which are all bad for your health.