The Top 10 Myths About Eating Fruit, Part 2
Filed under Raw Food Controversies by Frederic Patenaude
If you missed the first part of this article, click here to read it
Myth # 6 — Today’s fruits are too hybridized and contain too much sugar.
We often hear the claim that “modern” fruit contains too much sugar, as opposed to the low-sugar wild fruits, which are generally not available for sale in most grocery store. The critics of fruit tend to view the cultivars and varieties that are available today as “unnatural”. Their claim is that the artificial hybridization of fruit creates an inferior product that is too high in sugar and too low in minerals.
Let’s take a look at these claims one by one.
First, the whole idea that cultivated fruit contains “too much” sugar.
It’s entirely possible that on average, cultivated fruits contain more sugar than wild fruits. There are a variety of reasons for that and I won’t go into all of them.
One of those reasons is simply because as humans moved away from a hunter-gatherer type of lifestyle to a more agricultural one, thousands of years ago, we have perfected certain techniques for fruit cultivation which enabled us to get the best varieties that we preferred. Many wild fruits were left on their own, so to speak, and didn’t evolve with the qualities that we normally seek (such as sweetness).
This is not to say that all wild fruit is sour and low in sugar. I have tasted various types of completely unknown fruits in my travels. Many of them were quite sweet and tasty.
For example, in Brazil I tasted at least 5 different types of fruits I had never seen before — all of which grew 100% wild. The sweetness was comparable to a very sweet white peach.
But even if it were true that commercial fruits contain more sugar than wild ones, the real question is: does it contain too much?
An anti-fruitarian site states the following:
“As I have seen an elaborate argument purporting to prove that, in effect, fruits cannot contain excess sugar, let me list some of the symptoms of excess sugar consumption: excess urination, frequent thirst, mood swings such as exhilaration followed by depression (sugar highs/lows), frequent fatigue, intermittent blurred vision, pains in large joints, etc. Such symptoms are more common among fruitarians (and are usually dismissed as “detox”) than the extremists care to admit.”
In the same line of thought, author David Wolfe points out that “hybridized” fruit acts like processed sugar in the body. He does not exactly explain how, but says that overconsumption of these fruit can lead to dehydration and a slightly diabetic situation.
Now, all of the symptoms that are blamed on hybridized, sweet fruit are clearly attributable to the high-fat diet that is so common in the raw food world. All of these symptoms, and more, are 100% caused by the excessive fat content that most of these so-called fruitarians forget to mention when they describe their diet.
As I explained in the first part of this article, I can personally consume over 20 bananas in a day and not get the slightest symptom of blood sugar imbalance. But when I was eating a high-fat diet and probably less fruit than I am eating today, I was constantly plagued by low-energy, blood sugar swings, frequent thirst, and many other problems.
So does modern fruit contain “too much sugar”? The answer is a definite no. Unless you consumed more calories than you actually need, you will not take in “too much sugar”, even if all you ate was dates.
As for the mineral content of fruits, it’s fair to say that it’s probably not as high as it could be. But it’s not that much of an issue since the diet I recommend includes more vegetables than any other diet. Vegetables contain a higher mineral content than most fruits, and will perfectly balance an otherwise high-fruit diet.
As for the entire issue of hybridization, I find it funny that many of these authors would like us to stop eating “hybridized” bananas, carrots and grapes, while they promote a diet which is composed of a tiny portion of vegetables and a generous serving of artery-clogging, mineral-free oils and fats, and other exotic, packaged foods that are apparently better for us than fresh fruit.
The word “hybrid” means nothing bad. It’s simply the description of a process that also occurs in nature. The fruits and plants that are preferred by animals are spread around more and tend to be “hybridized” naturally.
The truth is that every single fruit OR vegetable you buy has been hybridized to the point of being almost totally unrecognizable from its wild counterpart. Is that a bad thing? Well, a complete return to the wild would mean eating absolutely bitter celery, ridiculously sour oranges and mushy and tasteless watermelon. I don’t know about you but I think I’ll stick to the delicious cultivated fruits I’m eating now rather than go back to the jungle.
Myth #7 — Tropical fruits are too high on the glycemic index
Another strange recommendation that I hear a lot these days is to avoid certain fruits because they are too high on the glycemic index. The culprits are generally the high-sugar, tropic fruits such as bananas and mangoes.
I could completely destroy this claim, but instead I will explain why I don’t even consider the glycemic index a valid and reliable guide to tell us what to eat.
What is the glycemic index? Basically, it’s a table which describes the average response in blood sugar after the ingestion of a fixed portion of carbohydrate.
Now how is this average created? By averaging the data collected by a certain number of human subjects.
So here’s my problem: about 99.9% of the American population eats a diet that is too high in fat, and that on averages contains 45% fat per calorie. Their response to food is not going to be healthy, no matter what they eat! I explained the reasons for that in the first part of my article.
Therefore, this so-called index is completely unreliable because the blood sugar response to food eaten will vary tremendously from one individual to the next, and even from day to day.
The factors that will influence it will be: fitness levels, activity levels in any given day, blood glucose level at the time of the meal, insulin sensitivity, age, body fat levels, and more!
If you want to improve your blood sugar response to the foods you eat, focus on improving your health by lowering the fat content of your diet and engaging in daily fitness activities, rather than focusing simply on eating foods that are low on the glycemic index.
By the way, even on this index, every single fruit is listed as “low” to “moderate” on the index.
Myth #8 — Fruit Causes Dental Decay
It’s quite legitimate to worry about the possible effects of a diet high in sweet fruit on your dental health. To answer this question, we have to first understand the true cause of dental decay: a proliferation of certain types of bacteria in the oral environment. As we know, these bacteria will feed on carbohydrates and produce acid by-products, which will eat into the enamel, causing decay.
In a healthy individual, fresh sweet fruits such as oranges, bananas and peaches will not cause decay because of the fiber and water in the fruit, which will naturally cleanse the teeth. On the other hand, dried fruits and nuts can be a disaster on the teeth because they tend to stick to form a sticky paste that is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
But if someone already has dental problems to begin with (even just one cavity), there can be potential dangers to introducing greater quantities of carbohydrates in the diet.
The solution is obviously to deal with the problem at its root by stopping the proliferation of the bacteria. This means to go on a more aggressive dental hygiene program which will dramatically reduce the bacteria count and keep it under control. To know more about this, please consult my eBook “How to End Dental Decay Forever: a Daily Checklist”, available with any order of Toothsoap, at http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/toothsoap.html
If you pay attention to some simple dental hygiene rules, the consumption of fresh fruit will not result in dental decay, as long as you avoid dried fruits such as figs and dates or immediately brush your teeth after eating them.
As for the acidity in fruit and its effects on the enamel, I have a few simple tips:
- Only eat acid fruits once a day, and not every day. This includes oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, pineapples, and other very acid fruits.
- If you eat more than one fruit meal per day, make one of those meal of a fruit with little or no acidity, such as bananas, figs or persimmons.
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating acid foods
Myth #9 — Sugar is sugar, and too much of it is bad, even if it comes from fruit
There’s this growing trend of people who are starting to think that because sweet fruit contains simple sugars, that automatically that sugar is the same as the refined white sugar we all know is bad for us.
First of all, most of the diseases that people associate with sugar consumption are actually caused or exacerbated by a high-fat diet. For example, conditions such as candida, hypoglycemia and diabetes would not occur if on a low-fat diet, even if your diet contained some refined sugar.
Of course, by eliminating ALL sugar you can partially mask the symptoms of the disease, but you’ll never fully heal from it until you attack it at its very roots, which is done again by:
- Lowering your body fat to healthy levels
- Lowering the fat content in your diet to 10% or less by calories
- Increasing your fitness levels and exercising regularly
- Paying attention to the other important factors of health (sunshine, fresh air, sleep, etc.)
Secondly, the “sugar” found in fruit is not exactly comparable to the refined sugar found in a cake. It’s in a form that’s readily digestible, but also comes in a complete package which includes water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and co-enzymes.
Finally, you might want to ask yourself “how much fruit sugar is too much?”
If you’ve never eaten 20 bananas in a day, it might sound to you like this would be too much. And indeed, it might be too much, for you, because your nutritional requirements are different. But if all you eat is fruits and vegetables with minimal quantities of fat, and if you need about 2500 to 3000 calories in a day, then eating 20 bananas is certainly not “too much”. It’s the right amount.
The same energy could be found by eating other fruits, but in the end it would still look like a lot of fruit to most people! It’s only by doing the nutritional analysis of what’s eaten that you’ll find that this amount is just amount right to cover your nutritional needs.
A person needing 1500 calories a day will eat less fruit than a training athlete. So how much “too much” is, is simply determined by your daily caloric needs, which will be dictated by your hunger. In other words, if you’re still hungry, it’s because you haven’t eaten enough, even if eating more fruit beyond that point would seem to you like being “too much.”
Myth #10 — Eating only fruits will lead to dangerous deficiencies
It might come as a surprise for you to learn that most deficiencies come from a “surplus,” rather than a lack of any particular nutrient. For example, osteoporosis is not really caused by a lack of calcium in the diet, but by certain lifestyle and diet factors that prevent its proper absorption and assimilation. Eating all the calcium in the world won’t make a difference if you want to “prevent” osteoporosis. To prove that point, just look at the countries in the world that have the highest calcium intake… they also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
If you were to eat fruit only, and stay within the guidelines of a low-fat diet, you would not develop any deficiencies as long as you consumed enough to meet your caloric needs. You could maintain this diet for months or years and stay in perfect health during that time.
At some point however, you could get certain imbalances caused by a lack of minerals that are generally more abundant in vegetation. For this reason, I do not recommend a pure fruitarian diet. You should include vegetables such as lettuce, celery, spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers in your daily diet.
If you’re afraid of a particular deficiency, I’d like to ask yourself the following:
Upon what information are you relying to claim that you are either deficient or that you might become deficient in any particular nutrient?
Remember that all standards for human health are based on an average of “average” individuals, in “average” health eating an “average” diet. So if your goal would be to meet these standards of health, then I would tell you to go ahead and try to mimic their averages.
But remember that in this “average” life you will likely:
- Suffer from high blood pressure as you get older (like 90% of the population)
- Die of cancer or heart disease (main causes of death)
- Watch your prostate enlarge as you get older, if you’re a man (almost every single man will)
- Become dependent on some kind medicine or drug (like almost everyone over the age of 55)
- And so on and so forth!
The standards for health are simply not reliable if you want “above average” health. Let me give you some examples:
- The blood pressure of a healthy individual could actually be considered on the “low” side of the average
- The body fat of a healthy athlete is considered too low for an “average” person
- The resting heart rate of a truly healthy individual could almost cause some doctors to worry about their life
- The average body temperature of a raw vegan is slightly lower than the national average
The same goes for averages for cholesterol levels, iron levels, levels of certain vitamins, and so on and so forth.
I personally do not rely on these averages to evaluate my health because I have completely different standards for optimal health.
I also reject the idea of eating certain types of foods in order to get certain types of nutrients. For example:
- Eating cacao beans for magnesium
- Eating bananas for potassium
- Eating a certain types of salt for its minerals (without taking in account that it’s 99.9% sodium chloride!)
This is just compartmentalized nutrition and doesn’t take into account the incredible complexity of the entire process of digestion and assimilation! Like I said, most deficiencies are caused by a “surplus” of something. In other words, something you’re doing is preventing you from assimilating some of the nutrients in the foods you eat. Rather than stuffing yourself with those nutrients, you have to address the root of the problems by evaluating your entire lifestyle, not just the foods that you eat.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables over the course of a year, and your nutrient needs will take care of themselves.
I will tell you however that the biggest “deficiency” that people experience when they try a raw food diet is a “calorie deficiency” or deficit. They are simply not eating enough! By not eating enough calories, they might lose weight faster but are compromising their health and their ability to stay on the program.
If you’d like to get some more practical applications of making the diet work in the real world, including a deeper discussion on this topic of deficiencies and “what to eat” (including what to do for Vitamin B12), you owe it to yourself to check out my “Raw Health Starter Kit”, the most complete kit of information available on the topic. For more information, click here.
If you were afraid somewhat of fruit, I hope that reading this article has helped you eliminate your fears of it completely. Remember that every study ever done on the effects of eating a lot of fruit in the diet has only come up with positive results in favor of fruit consumption.
Nobody gets sick from eating fruit. But because it’s easy or they have something to sell, they might try to make you believe that fruit was the reason for your problems.
All of the so-called “fruitarians” who crashed on the diet were making some obvious mistakes, such as:
- Not eating enough calories
- Eating lots of dried fruits and dates
- Eating large quantities of avocados, thinking that’s it’s okay because it’s a “fruit” (botanically speaking, it is)
For the record, I do not recommend a diet of only fruit, but one where fruit dominates by calories, with plenty of vegetable matter added for variety and overall nutrition. Fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds can be consumed, but in small amounts.
To get complete, step-by-step directions for making this diet work in the real world, check out the “Raw Health Starter Kit”, it contains everything you need, whether you’re just getting started or you’re an experienced raw foodist who wants to take things to the next level! Click here for more information.