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I am on a weight loss plan, should I eat fruit?

Fruit and weight loss

Sometimes, short stories help to paint the picture, so here I go… one fine Saturday morning at our local cafe in Coogee after a very enjoyable ocean swim…

Friend: May I get the muesli fruit salad and a freshly squeezed apple juice please…

Me: Uh?? What happened to the big brekkie and long black you always order?

Friend: This is the new me mate… I need to drop a few kilos so I’m on a health kick!

I order an omelette and congratulate him on his new found enthusiasm for his health kick and weight loss plan. At this point I have two options:

A) I could sound like a food nazi and tell him my thoughts on what he just ordered… or B) Keep my mouth shut and wish him the best of luck.

I choose the latter… the last thing I wanted to do was dampen his spirits with my thoughts with weight loss and fruit, so I thought I’d put into a blog post instead and mail it to him…

Sugar, Fructose & the Forbidden Fruit

Whether you follow a Paleo lifestyle or you are some kind of fruitarian, fruit is fruit. So lets take a look at my friends muesli fruit salad first.

I noticed there was a fair bit of banana in there, I’m guessing half of one.

So the first thing that pops in my head whilst eating my omelette is this:

Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 1

i) A banana contains approximately 40-60g of carbohydrates (4-5tsp’s of that is sugar). I’ve found over the years, for effective weight loss, many peoples daily carb’ intake needs to come in under 150g per day minimum (& that’s mainly veggies).  One banana and you’ve almost hit a 1/3rd of your quota!

ii) To burn off that banana it could take up to 1hr of fairly intense exercise. In my friends case 1/2 hr.

Remember, he’s trying to lose weight here, not maintain his weight. And is he training intensively often? Not likely (sorry mate)…

Then there is the other fruit in the bowl, but more on the fruit itself in a sec’. Let’s take a look at the muesli.

Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 2

I) Muesli is usually 40-45% sugar content! (yes even your ‘healthy’ ones).

II) Dried fruit (which is in the muesli) is simply a sugar hit, it’s not nutritional. Look at it this way… If you ate enough raisins to cover the palm of your hand you have just consumed roughly 10 tsp’s of sugar! Yes, 10 tsp’s!

Then there’s the chopped up fruit on top of the muesli along with the half  banana. Let’s say for arguments sake it equals one piece of fruit. There’s another 4 tsps’s of sugar.

So far my friend is up to approximately (I’ll be conservative here) 12-15 tsp’s of sugar.

The next question he should ask himself is if his muesli fruit salad is nutritional?

I’m not going to mention the rolled processed oats here, I’ll keep that for another post, let’s just stick to the fruit.

Have you ever wondered how fruit can stay fresh for so long?

Imagine having a apple tree in the back garden. When the fruit falls from the tree onto the ground, how long does it last there? Would it be fair to say a few days or week at most before it begins to rot?

If you are a major food corporation this would cause a problem. When delivering fruit to the retailers, by the time it’s transported, shelved and then sold, this process can be a considerably long time.  Then think how long it lasts after you purchased it and have it sitting in the fruit bowl or the fridge. A little bit different to your apple tree in the back garden don’t you think?

For it to stay ‘fresh‘ for so long they coat the fruit in a waxing mineral oil, which retains the moisture. This is waterproof, so washing your fruit won’t help it either. A quick search on the net and you’ll find different information about this and the waxes they use, which vary the longevity of the fruit.

In the food industry, where it may be called “wax”, it can be used as a lubricant in mechanical mixing, applied to baking tins to ensure that loaves are easily released when cooked and as a coating for fruit or other items requiring a “shiny” appearance for sale – Wikipedia

From my understanding, the problem with this is that the fruit cannot breath. Combine this with stored refrigeration and the fruit will slowly begin to ferment. The sugar content goes up and the nutritional value goes down.

Personally, I’m not too keen on the idea of eating fruit coated in waxing mineral oil, which is months old and has little nutritional value.

I still find this amazing! Does anyone have more thoughts on this? Would love to hear more on this…

Last but not least, let us take a look at my mates freshly squeezed apple juice:

Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 3

i) Juicing fruit removes a lot of the nutrients (what’s left of them anyway with waxing & storage) by taking away the pulp and fibre. This makes for a much more concentrated dose of sugar water. You are much better off eating the pulp instead!

ii) Let’s say it takes 3-4 apples to make his freshly squeezed apple juice. One piece of fruit equals 4tsp’s. There’s 12-16 tsp’s of sugar right there!

iii) A glass of freshly squeezed apple juice is the equivalent to drinking a can of coke! Those apples can be organic and blessed by a Tibetan monk, it would still equal a can of coke. All you are really drinking is flavoured sugar water.

180 Nutrition Fruit Sugar Guide

But isn’t the Sugar in Fruit Different?

The sugar in fruit is fructose. This is a little different to your regular table sugar as fructose has no immediate effect on your blood sugar levels. The reason for this is that it is metabolised almost exclusively by the liver. Even though there is no immediate effect, it has plenty of long term effect.

The liver has never evolved enough to the kind of fructose load we are starting to have in modern diets. When we flood the liver with fructose, our liver responds by turning much of it into fat shipping it off to become fat tissue. This means that this is the carbohydrate we can convert to fat most readily! If this is done over many years along with other sugars and processed foods, you are seriously asking for trouble.

In my mates case, he’s had a big hit of concentrated fructose from the juice and the fruit muesli. Along with long term storage of fruit and wax, the question he needs to ask himself is – by eating this kind of breakfast am I helping my health kick and new weight loss plan?

“The medical profession thinks fructose is better for diabetics than sugar,” says Meira Field, PhD, a research chemist at United States Department of Agriculture, “but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high-fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic.”[59] While a few other tissues (e.g., sperm cells[60] and some intestinal cells) do use fructose directly, fructose is almost entirely metabolized in the liver.[59]

“When fructose reaches the liver,” says Dr. William J. Whelan, a biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, “the liver goes bananas and stops everything else to metabolize the fructose.” – Wikipedia

Conclusion

I don’t want to make out that fruit is the villain here, but I do feel smarter choices are needed regarding fruit. When you think that over 60% of our daily calories in the typical western diet includes – cereals and grains, sweetened dairy products, vegetable oils, dressing and condiments, sugar, bars and sweets – Rewind the clock and look at a Palaeolithic human existence, humans would not have derived any of their energy from these things. If you are eating many of the above foods and then compound it with fruit and more importantly fructose, surely this is only fuelling the problem with ones weight?… but more importantly health?

Do I eat fruit?

Yes I do, but not a great deal of it and I buy organic when possible. I’ll usually use a few strawberries or dessert spoon of berries in my 180 protein smoothie in the morning along with a fresh coconut for breakfast. This is simple to prepare and non processed. I’ll also have a 180 protein smoothie with a banana in after an intense workout. I’ll have the odd apple or orange if I feel a bit parched. So I’ll end up having at least 1-2 pieces of fruit in my daily diet, but keep in mind I’m a pretty active person and I’m usually doing some kind of exercise, whether it be gym or play six days a week.

I don’t drink fresh fruit juices, if I do have a juice it’s vegetable based – spinach, celery, cucumber, capsicum etc. I usually sweeten it up with a yellow grapefruit and a lemon. This makes for interesting taste but I honestly don’t mind it. I find things taste very different when you have hardly any sugar in you diet. At the very least go for 30% fruit and 70% green based vegetables.

To sum it up:

  • I eat organic fruit when possible
  • I mainly eat berries, strawberries & raspberries
  • If I’m training fairly intensely I’ll also eat bananas
  • I generally eat 1-2 pieces of fruit per day
  • I often have a high fat smoothie instead of high fruit

So the next time you see me eating an omelette for breakfast in the local cafe…  you know why!

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    20 Replies to “I am on a weight loss plan, should I eat fruit?”
    Helen Brind says:

    Hey,
    I’ve read Sarah Wilson’s ebook & so found your article interesting as am trying to follow a sugar free diet at the moment.

    Just wondering what you meant about the rolled oats? I’ve been eating half a cup of porridge for brekkie every day with 1/4 cup full fat milk – am I doing aiming wrong?? Eeek!!

    I live in Coogee so may see you down there for brekkie one day!

    Thanks for the read 🙂

    180nps says:

    Hey Helen… Yes hope to see you in Tropicana some time 🙂

    Rolled processed oats are on their own will usually effect blood sugar levels… If you love your oats have a look at groats oats. These are unprocessed and will still have the husks on them, so much more nutritional… Just be prepared to chem them like a horse if you don’t soak them long enough!

    Kate says:

    You say about eating fruit “Rewind the clock and look at a Palaeolithic human existence, humans would not have derived any of their energy from these things. If you are eating many of the above foods and then compound it with fruit and more importantly fructose, surely this is only fuelling the problem with ones weight?… but more importantly health?”

    was prehistoric man eating more 180 powder? which you suggest instead. Having hard time accepting this. I see the ingredients and even then think prehistoric man not getting them all in one place refining and eating them. they picked up the fallen apples dude.

    Alexx says:

    love this post. great, easy explanation as to why we need to think twice about sugar / general choices and done in a way that will make people think for themselves as opposed to in a food nazi kind of way. well done 🙂

    Ando says:

    I totally agree with your view on sugars ,but what about just enjoying a mango or some watermellon etc………..?

    Kaia says:

    hey,

    Im on a weight loss plan as well- i try to eat a lot of protein and fat and limit my carbs. i eat vedgies with my protein and fat intake but i love fruits as well. i live in tropic climate which means that here’s a a lot of everything. id like to know that if im in deficite (eating ca 500 kcal less) is it ok to have fruits on daily basis? will the fructose still be stored as fat? i eat more that a couple of pieces, rather a couple of oranges or mangosteens or pineapple. strawberries, blueberries are quite expensive, therefore i’ve preferred the mentioned ones.

    180nps says:

    First thing to look at is if the weight is coming off, which should be body fat and retain muscle mass. Calorie deficit doesn’t necessarily mean automatic weight loss. If you are eating a lot of fruit this will effect your weight loss goals I’d imagine..

    If you haven’t reached your goals, personally I’d just stick to the berries and strawberries… We do provide a free eBook to help get a better understanding of all this… Hope this helps… Guy

    This was a great article – I especially loved the diagram showing the number of teaspoons in the fruit portions – very eye opening.

    I am very on board with the paleo way of eating – breakfast is the easiest meal of the day for me. I just have problems when it comes to late afternoon. And after a few days of strict compliance, I feel “deprived” of something sweet and succumb to a biscuit or something similar. How do I keep my head in the right space for long term and ongoing success with eating well (& losing the excess weight)?

    180nps says:

    Yes… Everything comes back to how we think & our mindset ultimetliy… Check out our Positive Psychology section under topics, there’s some great articles in there from Eleasa (psychologist). You might find this article particularly helpful. Cheers, Guy

    Rebecca says:

    Interesting post and I hadn’t really thought about it this way before. On a side note, my family has several apple trees (eating and cooking types) and once picked/fallen from the tree they last weeks if not almost a month. They only tend to rot quickly if they have fallen and been bruised, or insects have had their way with them.

    Rebecca

    Carly says:

    Hi guys,

    Great post! It’s one of those topics everyone hates hearing because it mucks up what they think they know, but thanks for the facts.

    After just coming back from South America and enjoying copious amounts of fresh fruit drinks I am glad that by blending the whole fruit pulp and all it was a little better for me. But gosh if only we had fresh acai here, I’m sure you’d give that the tick of approval.

    Chat soon.

    Julia says:

    Agree with most of what you are saying. However the wax in apples may be used in some areas but certainly not all. I work with export apples and pears – they are definitely not waxed as it would decrease the longevity of the fruit. Instead they are preserved by being placed in coolstore where they ripen slowly. Coating fruit would only result in faster rot.

    180nps says:

    Hey Julia… Thanks for dropping by and replying. Really appreciate the input!

    Wow so much detailed info about the hidden sugars we normally don’t think about! It’s SO true. Fruit is so often turned to as the ‘diet rescuer’… but truly it’s another form of sugar. But natural is better no? And Muesli… so true…. little do we know that alongside them all those cereals are jam packed with processed sugar and often hydrogenated vegetable oils!. It’s lovely to come across such an informative blog. Thanks!

    I am allergic to fructose which is a real shame because I use love having a banana after a work out. Now I just restrict myself to one banana a week to avoid bloating myself.

    Sutho says:

    I,m sorry to disagree with you but i lost 25 kilos in 28 weeks.
    I went from 100 kilos to 75 kilos and the main part of my changed eating plan was bananas. 4 a day every day as well as two apples for 28 weeks. Fact. if you replace foods with saturated fat for fruit you will lose weight. You have to understand how the body copes with the energy from fruit. It burns at a much faster rate that saturated fat.

    Rachel says:

    Hi, I agree I cut out fruit for ages and people thought i was strange. I have changed my lifestyle to be 80/20 organic/healthy for over 6 months now and never felt better!! And seen great results from my exercise. That said, in the past 2 months I have had bloating etc issues…I changed my protein to raw and that has helped considerably but not all. I have ALWAYS had a flat stomach & abs, and lately I have found myself overally blaoted for no reason and I hate it 🙁
    I dont eat much fruit- 1/2 an apple some days, but I have organic raisins with almonds as a mid morning snack. Is this bad?
    What can i substitute raisins for?? Or do you think that organic ones are o.k?
    Other than that I only eat berries, and occasional banana maybe one every two weeks – as fruit is mostly sugar. Thanks!

    teresa says:

    Hi,
    I find the fruit thing interesting as I always thought/perhaps told fruit is healthy and we could eat as much as we wanted. Stick to 1 -2 pieces a day now and have increased the vegetables instead. Having said that, what I really want to know is your thoughts on frozen fruit. I have frozen raspberries in my 180 protein shake every morning as fresh berries are prohibitively expensive. Are frozen berries as nutrionally beneficial as fresh berries?

    Thanks,
    Teresa

    180nps says:

    Hey Teresa… I think berries in general are a great option as they are low GI & high in anti-oxidants. To my knowledge, berries get snap frozen fresh when picked which is a good thing. Personally I’d use them but not in high amounts per serve. I’d be interested to know how much the sugar content increases over time when frozen, but I don’t have data on that. Hope that helps, Guy

    Totally agree guys. I generally recommend to my Nutrition Coaching clients to cut the fruit when they’re trying to shed some fat. Not to mention those who don’t necessarily need to shed the fat but are eating upwards of 5 serving of fruit a day! Even the Govt recommends only 2 servings of fruit a day.

    Jase

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