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Guide to eat right: Fruits are good but how much is too much?


Fruit is one of the key components of any balanced diet as it is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Fruits provide many health benefits, including protection from certain forms cancer, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, maintaining a healthy body weight, etc. However, fructose sugar from fruits, honey has been found to be harmful when consumed excessively or in concentrated form, according to abundant evidence. In addition, an excess of high-sugar fruits combined with other sources of carbohydrates can have potentially adverse effects on people living with diabetes. However, it’s important to remember that fructose comes from whole fruits, and other forms of fructose are not the same. In addition, as part of a balanced diet, it is necessary to plan for the type and amount of fruits eaten daily.

This column discusses –

* The effect of excess fructose on the body
* How much fruit is too much?
* Fruit as part of a low-carb diet

Too much fructose can harm your vital organs and cause negative health effects

Liver health

Excess fructose is converted to fat in the liver in a process called lipogenesis. During this process, fat molecules build up in the liver and lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is the most common liver disease, affecting 25 percent of the world’s population. 9-32% Indians

It has been found that high fructose intake is one of the main contributors to the development of NAFLD. Diet history of 49 patients with confirmed NAFLD reported that the affected group consumed two to three times more fructose in their diet than usual. Besides lipogenesis, excess fructose intake is also associated with liver inflammation and oxidative stress. liver cell damage

Brain health

The effects of fructose on brain health are less well understood today. However, most recent evidence suggests that even short-term consumption of fructose can negatively affect brain health, exacerbating neuroinflammation, brain mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress.

A 2021 overview the aforementioned long-term consumption of fructose can pose a threat to brain function and can lead to the development of multiple neurological disorders.

A University of California Study In their lives, scientists have discovered that fructose can damage hundreds of brain genes and lead to a range of diseases, from diabetes to cardiovascular disease, and from Alzheimer’s to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Heart health, obesity and diabetes

High fructose intake also leads to insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes. Excessive consumption of fructose interferes with the regular function of leptin, a hormone that regulates body weight. fat accumulation, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

A Animal Study 2016 reported that a two-month intake of fructose caused triglyceride accumulation in the liver and impaired insulin function. Likewise, a 7-day high-fructose diet led to accumulation of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides and increased the risk of cardiovascular disease, as reported 2009 study

Besides obesity and diabetes, fructose increases uric acid levels in the blood, which leads to gout, increases blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

Digestive disorders

Excess fructose can cause diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a digestive disorder associated with abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, constipation, and / or diarrhea. In many people, improper digestion and absorption of fructose leads to diarrhea, flatulence and belching… About 68 patients with known IBS symptoms improved significantly after eating a low fructose diet. Interventional study 2013

Risks of a Fruit Diet

V fructorian or fruit diet This is a strictly restrictive diet that recommends the elimination of all animal products, including dairy. People on a fruit diet tend to consume raw fruits. This diet recommends avoiding other food groups such as whole grains, legumes, etc., with some consideration for vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Thus, a fruit diet is deficient in several vital nutrients – protein, B vitamins, omega-3s, calcium and iron – which cause nutrient deficiencies in the long term. This diet is also very high in fructose sugar, making it an unhealthy choice for people with diabetes, insulin resistance, or polycystic ovary syndrome.

How much is that?

The high water and fiber content of whole fruits makes them incredibly filling. Because of this, it is impossible for most people to eat too much fruit. Existing prevalence data indicate that a small percentage of people regularly consume the recommended amount of fruit. Less than one in 10 Americans eat minimum recommended fruits per day… In India average consumption of fruits and vegetables per day only 3.5 servings, far below the general recommendation per day of five servings or 400 g per day.

Several studies have evaluated the health effects of consuming up to 20 servings of fruit per day and found no side effects. However, the scientific validity of these studies is low because the sample sizes were very small. with a total of 10 and 17 participants respectively.

Eating more fruits than the general recommendation did not provide any additional benefit, as shown by a large analysis of 16 scientific studies.

Fruit as part of a low-carb diet for diabetes

The growing prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is making various low-carb diets popular among the world’s population. Latest evidence suggests replacing a traditional high-carb diet with a diet with healthy fats, which in most cases can improve insulin sensitivity.

A low-carb diet recommends 100-150 grams of carbs per day. Ultra-low-carb diets or ketogenic diets recommend eating less than 50 grams of carbs per day. In keto meals, the amount of fruit is limited, as fruits contain about 15-30 g of carbohydrates per piece.

Fruit is recommended as part of a balanced diet for people with diabetes, and the amount is strictly individual, as there is no common “diabetic diet”. However, fruit selection is critical for diabetes management due to their high fructose content. This selection is based on the glycemic index (GI) value of each fruit. The GI value is defined as how much a certain food can raise blood sugar levels after being eaten. Fruits with a GI of 70 or more are considered very high in sugar and should be avoided when planning a diabetes diet. Medium GI fruits have a GI value of 56 to 69. Low GI fruits are fruits with a GI value of 55 or less.

List of fruits according to their GI value to help plan diabetes meals –

High to moderate GI fruits – watermelon, dates, pineapple, overripe banana, grapes, pomegranate, papaya, melon.

Low GI fruits – cherry, Apple, grapefruit, avocado, orange, plum, strawberry, blueberry, pear, guava.

Undoubtedly, fruits have many health benefits. At the same time, fructose, a fruit sugar, has an effect on the vital organs. The question is whether excess fructose in fruit form could have the same effect! Research is still inconclusive. That being said, make whole, fresh, raw fruits as part of a balanced diet in moderation. But don’t overdo it with fruit, especially in a commercial liquid form.

Next Column – Conscious Eating for Sustainable Weight Loss

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