I was in class, casually writing an email as my friend plopped down next to me. She always sat next to me, but she didn’t always carry around a bunch of bananas with her.
“They were free in the Ecology building,” she said, whipping out her computer and notebook. “Leftovers from a symposium or something.”
I didn’t think much of it, sending once-in-a-lifetime messages to my trash folder. But somewhere in the group work period of our class day, she said that she didn’t want to eat the bananas because they had to much sugar in them.
My body slowly turned towards hers on my swivel chair. She continued to say that she shouldn’t eat the sugar in the fruit because it would react similarly as the sugar in, say, a coke.I heard this before, that you shouldn’t eat fruit because of its high sugar content, but I thought they were jokes, kind of like the gluten-free fad to lose weight. But no, she was serious. Stubborn, and serious.
So here I am, setting this straight.
- Fruit does in fact have a lot of sugar in it. That’s why it’s so appealing to us, since the brain is naturally designed to seek out the high-caloric and nutritive properties of sugar. It’s such as shame, actually, because the hunter-gatherer societies in pre-contact America must have been riddled with diabetes and pancreatic issues. All those berries, man, all that sugar… Obviously that is ridiculous since humans have been eating the sugar in fruit to no ill effects. Our bodies were designed to process these natural sugars, unlike processed sugars in today’s candies and soft-drinks. Which leads me to:
- The sugar in fruit is not the same as sugar in a coke because coke’s sugar has been highly processed and manipulated. Refined sugar is taken out of the context in which it is naturally found, making its effects are stronger and more addicting in the brain. That’s why I’d get addicted to drinking a bunch of Coca-cola but not, say, apples. The sugar acts in accordance to the ecosystem of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber naturally found in the fruit. The same goes with chewing on coca leaves and snorting pure cocaine. Take a substance out of the natural context, the body doesn’t know how to handle or regulate it. Thus, physical addiction, tooth rotting, and insulin-resistence ensues.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables has always been regarded as the highest. Why? Because fruits are just good for you. Strawberries and apples and mangoes, papaya and watermelon and bananas. All are good for you, packed with nutrients, antioxidants and, of course, sugar.
But to deny yourself fruit because you clumped fruit’s sugar with processed sugar is preposterous. Not all sugar is the same, and not all sugar reacts the same in your body. Natural sugars, such as the ones in fruit, are fine since humans have been eating it for thousands of years. The high-fructose corn syrups and cane sugars sweetening foody contingencies, well, you can leave on the shelves.
I wrote this article based previous knowledge I had accumulated over the years, watching food documentaries like Fed Up and reading scholarly literature like this one on the National Institute of Health. I recommend others read it too.