I have had people ask me whether or not they should eat fruit when trying to eat healthy and lose some weight. I get questions like: isn’t it just sugar and not good for me? Isn’t it a simple carbohydrate and therefore something I should avoid? The big picture answer is NO. Fruit has some wonderful vitamins and minerals that can benefit the body and can certainly be a healthy part of a whole food diet.
Where does this confusion come from? Many of us, myself included, got enthusiastically on the band wagon for low- carb diets and unfortunately, delicious and healthy fruits were sacrificed along the wave of weight loss excitement. What is very important to remember about your nutrition and weight loss goals is to try to achieve nutritional balance in your meals – and to recognize that fruits are indeed a bit of “treat” in some ways.
The main difference in eating fruits and other whole foods with some level of naturally occurring sugars, and eating sugar from processed foods (which is ADDED sugar) is that added sugars are a primary cause of inflammation and if added sugars are not quickly utilized by the body for fuel, they are quickly turned to fat. Fruit, on the other hand, contains fiber and other nutrients that slow down the absorption of the natural sugar and also gives your body additional nutrients. Another example is plain yogurt and its natural sugars. The yogurt is also packing protein and probiotics to slow the process of the natural sugars.
Our bodies are masterfully designed and the natural sugar in food can easily be part of a healthy diet and the body can (under most circumstances in healthy people) parse out what is needed. We truly are not made to eat the same stuff all the time and certainly not to exclude any one group of whole foods. Of course, you shouldn’t eat excessive amounts of fruit or live on a diet of bananas and yogurt to lose weight. I’m not saying a diet heavy in fruit is a wise approach. What I am saying is: Try to learn balance and variety with whole foods. Try to include both fruits and vegetables in the proper portions along with lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats and try to begin steps to purge all the added sugars from your diet. Believe me – once those added sugars are better under control – the apple really does taste sweeter. And with balance, you can surely enjoy it with confidence!