The great fruit debate

The great fruit debate

As you may have picked up from my last post, I am a strong proponent of living a sugar-free lifestyle. Despite others’ claims that natural sugar found in fruit “doesn’t count”, I do limit my intake of it as it still causes the same response as a cupcake. I am, of course, met with many counter claims that following a diet free from fruit will harm my body.

I have always eaten fruit: 1-2 pieces a day and, back when I was more naive, that also included the dried variety. My husband, however, does not believe there are any benefits in eating fruit, claiming it is pure sugar and something the health industry just promotes as being good for us. I have not seen Rob eat a piece of fruit for years, yet he’s one of the healthiest men I know.

During my last cut I gave up fruit for two months as I didn’t want to waste what little carbs I was allowed on sugar. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t get sick, my skin didn’t hallow out, and I didn’t go blind. Although the cut itself was obviously responsible for much of it, I lost 3 kilos (7 pounds) and never felt better.

However, when the cut was over I found myself going back to the fruit aisle of the supermarket – not for taste, but because of these purported health benefits. I can’t tear myself away from the idea that my diet will be lacking if I don’t have an apple a day.

Candy in disguise?

But the way I have eaten fruit has changed: I only eat one serve on the days I lift, and within an hour of doing so. The most important piece of advice I could give is to never eat fruit as a stand-alone snack. Every day I shudder when I see girls biting down on apples and nothing else. All that does is spike your blood sugar, provide a huge amount of carbs backed by little else, make you hungry for a real meal 20 minutes later, and actually increase your desire for sweets! The only way to eat fruit is to combine it with a protein-rich food – a protein shake, a handful of nuts or at the end of your normal meal.

And try to do as I do and eat it soon after exercise – but not if you’re working out at night! Someone recently posted on an online forum asking what she should eat following a 9pm bootcamp class and I was shocked to see most people recommend a piece of fruit and nothing else! You need protein to fuel your muscles, not sugar!

The problem is that many people use the fact that fruit is natural to eat as much as they want without feeling guilty. The recommended two serves of fruit and five vegetables a day is not interchangeable, contrary to popular belief. It’s not okay to eat five pieces of fruit and two cups of lettuce.

In the lead up to a competition, some still allow fruit in their diet (usually in the form of berries). Other competitors, however, do not have any fruit at all – during competition prep or otherwise. The latter classify fruit as dessert and only have it on cheat days – and only if they can’t find a better option! The antioxidants and health benefits fruit provide can be found in other foods. In the past, fruit wasn’t available year round and yet people survived just fine.

Do you eat fruit? Do you notice a difference in your overall health if fruit is lacking in your diet?

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