Posted by: Eric / Category: Nutrition & Diet / No Comments
By Eric Buratty | Published December 17, 2015
Let’s get something straight.
Fruits are healthy.
Except for when they make us fat.
Let me explain.
We store fat in a relative sense.
This means that, every time we add or take away any one food/beverage from our daily intake, the rest of our macro (and micro) nutrient profiles adjust accordingly.
The following two examples should help everyone further understand this idea.
Take an obese woman who is new to the whole fat loss thing.
She hears or reads somewhere that she needs to lower her carbohydrate intake if she wants to look sexy in her dress or bikini.
So, after doing some homework, she decides to get rid of starches and/or gluten-containing carbohydrates for a few weeks (e.g. brown rice, oatmeal and wheat products).
Her carbohydrate energy now comes from the fiber and sugar in vegetables, fruits and trace content in nuts & seeds.
However, assuming this gal changed nothing else with her diet during this period, the amount of fats and proteins she eats are now relatively highER.
In other words, the majority of calories she eats are from fat and protein.
Most of us refer to this as a low-carb diet strategy.
Take a skinny ectomorph dude who is new to the whole muscle gaining thing.
He hears or reads somewhere that he needs to eat more nutrient-dense meals overall—especially on his most active days—if he wants to look and feel more alpha.
So, after doing some homework, he decides to sneak in an extra meal after his workouts for a few weeks (e.g. a piece of fruit with a cup of low-fat greek yogurt; a stick of preservative-free meat jerky with a couple tablespoons of peanut butter in between two rice cakes; or a whole food protein bar with a small container of coconut water).
His post-workout snacks/meals are mixed—with extra energy now coming from fats, proteins and carbs—to support his recovery.
However, assuming this guy changed nothing else with his diet during this period, the amount of carbs and proteins he eats are now relatively highER.
In other words, the majority of calories he eats are from carbs and protein.
Most of us refer to this as a low-fat diet strategy.
When either strategy is practiced over an extended period of time, the metabolism adapts, accordingly.
During the adaptation phase, any excess energy becomes stored as fat.
And that’s a huge warning sign—especially for people who underestimate their starting body fat level or who move forward with unrealistic expectations about their health & fitness goals.
That said, how do we determine whether any one food choice or diet strategy will lead to excess energy . . . and how does the whole fruit being ‘unhealthy’ intro fit in here?
By being more honest with ourselves and by being more aware of what we’re eating . . . because pre-existing insulin resistance determines whether ANY of the current foods we eat will be used for energy or stored as fat.
So . . . to complete this post, we’ll consider the negative effect of fruit on body composition simply because it’s controversial.
And who likes to read more about topics that stir some shit up?
Everyone . . . that’s who.
Hopefully most people reading this realize that eating whole fruits (and vegetables) when they’re in season are far superior to consuming their juice/shake/organic snack bar/supplemental counterparts.
Another thing to keep in mind when eating fruits is that there are roughly 80-150 calories per serving (depending on the type of fruit and how large you define ‘a serving’ as-lol).
Of course, along with these calories, we’re also receiving a plethora of micronutrients (i.e. vitamins & minerals, antioxidants, phyto-nutrients and enzymes).
As nutritious as fruits are, most of their calories are still from sugar.
Over time, we know that the consumption of excess sugar may cause weight gain—which comes with its own set of health problems—if we don’t compensate by cutting back on calories elsewhere in our diet.
In other words, even if it’s natural or organic sugar, it’s still going to make us ‘organically fat.’
As mentioned above, eating foods that cause us to gain more body fat exacerbates any pre-existing insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is basically a type of hormonal/metabolic disorder that causes us to store more body fat around our waistline.
Not surprisingly, those who suffer from obesity also have a high degree of insulin resistance.
Like a domino effect, once a higher level of insulin resistance settles in, people also end up relying on over-the-counter/prescription drugs for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and even arthritis (due to instability in joints from walking around with excess weight).
What can we do about this?
Well, in terms of offering some practical solutions, we’re better off avoiding certain fruits or at least eating them only in moderation over the short term until we can get the rest of our diet back on track (i.e. balance sugars from fruits with plenty of animal/plant source proteins and fats, as well as fiber from vegetables first and starches second). This includes being more sensible about food portions in general so that calorie/carb-counting is not necessary. For parents reading this, be sure to lead by example rather than just telling your kids to ‘eat this, not that.’
Finally, reach for darker colored fruits when possible to specifically target body composition. I’ve put together a well-researched guide that you can download for free HERE—which features vegetables as a bonus—to further justify this tip. Although we don’t see people getting fat from eating “too many” vegetables—due to their higher fiber/lower sugar content per serving—when compared to fruits. At the end of the day, this is just something else to keep in mind as we go about our health & fitness goals.
Until next time, go be bold or italic . . . never regular.