Have you ever been told to stop eating fruits if you want to lose weight? Or you might have heard professional bodybuilders, which exclude fruit from their diets for months before the competition, out of fear that they will not be able to clear the fat? Is it justified such an attitude to this kind of food and where it came from?
Before answering these questions, let’s clarify what is the fruit? According to botany, “fruit” is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after flowering. Vegetables, on the other hand, can be any other part of the plant – roots, leaves, and stem. In everyday life, we associate the “fruits” of edible plants with sweet or sweet and sour taste.
Why do some people believe that fruits make you fat?
Often it may be just a rumour launched by someone and turned into “conventional wisdom.”
A scientific reason behind the idea that the fruit is fattening, is rooted in the fructose. This is a type of sugar found in fruits and many belief is responsible for weight gain. Here is why – according to some studies, the consumption of fructose leads to insulin resistance, a high concentration of cholesterol in the blood and an enhanced accumulation of fat, particularly in the abdomen. Furthermore, fructose reduces the amount of insulin secreted when eating. This, in turn, lowers levels of the hormone leptin(which is responsible for the feeling of fullness) and increases levels of ghrelin (also known as the hormone of hunger), leading ultimately to higher intake of calories and more stored fat in the body. Please check the references below.
In particular, it established a direct link between sugary drinks containing fructose and obesity. But this connection is based on the extra calories derived from sugar in the beverage as a whole, and not from fructose in particular.
In addition, fruits contain a lot less fructose than a typical sweetened beverage. For example, a medium-sized apple contains about 13 g. of fructose and 90 calories while 600 ml. Coke contains 65 g. sugar (of which half is fructose) and 240 calories.
If the fruits are not responsible for weight gain, then what is?
Very simple – the calorie intake is greater than calorie expenditure. This is a simple math- if you eat more calories than you burn, the extra will accumulate as body fat, regardless of the source of these calories. By this logic, the only way to put weight by when consuming fruits is to eat so many of them that calories consumed to become more than spent. Some fruits contain more calories like bananas while others have very low caloric content for example blueberries.
The fruits are full of nutrients, contain a lot of water and fibre and some can keep you fuller for longer. In moderation, they are a great source of carbohydrates.
Johnson, R.J., Segal, M.S., Sautin, Y., Nakagawa, T., Feig, D.I., Kang, D.H., Gersch, M.S., Benner, S. and Sánchez-Lozada, L.G., 2007. Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 86(4), pp.899-906.
Lustig, R.H., Schmidt, L.A. and Brindis, C.D., 2012. Public health: the toxic truth about sugar. Nature, 482(7383), pp.27-29.
Tappy, L. and Lê, K.A., 2010. Metabolic effects of fructose and the worldwide increase in obesity. Physiological reviews, 90(1), pp.23-46.