By Malcolm PowHere’s a “fruit” for thought: Will an apple a day keep the doctor away? Many of our bootcamp and personal training clients will agree in a heartbeat since we were all inculcated by our parents into thinking so. What they didn’t know about fruits is that even though they are great foods loaded with nutrients, they also contain fructose.
Puzzled why fructose in large quantities is such bad news? Fructose is a monosaccharide (simple sugar), which the body can use for energy. Most of the carbohydrates we eat are made up of chains of glucose. When glucose enters the bloodstream, the body releases insulin to help regulate it. Fructose, on the other hand, does not spike insulin and is only metabolized in the liver. To greatly simplify the situation: When too much fructose enters the liver, the liver can’t process it all fast enough for the body to use as sugar. And since insulin is not getting into muscle cells, it lingers around the body and starts making fats from the fructose and sending them off into the bloodstream as triglycerides. The elevated blood triglyceride levels lead to decrease insulin sensitivity, cholesterol build up, and fat gain! Nutrition expert Robert Crayhon has a very apt quote on this: Fructose is like the guest that won’t go home once the party is over.Shedding more light, too much fructose in the diet also increases glycation. Glycation is the cross linking of proteins (and DNA molecules) caused by sugar aldehydes reacting with the amino acids on the protein molecule to create Advance Glycosylation End-Products (AGEs). Basically in layman’s term, glycation is browning or oxidation, like an apple turning yellow after being cut into half.
Our bootcamp and personal training clients (especially those displaying insulin problem biosignature profiles) were all advised to keep tabs on their fruits intake. As a general rule of thumb, fructose intake should be limited to 5 to 10 grams a day, with very active individuals maxing out at 20 grams. Some of the lower fructose fruits and vegetables we recommend include most berries, nectarines, grapefruit, avocado and tomatoes. Bananas, watermelon, and pineapples are on the high end of the scale. Remember that a medium apple or a cup of grapes provides around 10-12 grams of fructose. What you really need to avoid is high fructose corn syrup and fructose sweetened beverages, particularly sodas.
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