No matter what point you’re at on the journey towards health through optimizing your nutrition, more information is always a plus. The transition away from mostly boxed, processed foods to fresh produce consisting of colorful fruits and vegetables is always a big step. Looking at the quality of the produce and opting to pay a little extra now for certified organic (instead for piles of meds later) is another major step in the nutrition evolution.
One thing to keep in mind at the grocery store and again in the kitchen is the fact that fruits and vegetables contain sugar. Granted, when consuming sugar these are bar none your best source, the fact remains that each packs a delicious dose of fructose. There is a reason that fruits in particular are so delicious and considered nature’s dessert.
“Oh great; now he’s saying fruits are bad and we shouldn’t eat them either.” That’s not what we’re saying at all. Fruit is great, and along with the fructose can deliver ample beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, etc. However, too much fruit can actually be a bad thing due to the high fructose content, especially if you are watching your weight or struggling with diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. (Once again my mother’s suggestion of moderation comes to mind.)
Another interesting fact is that sugar actually inhibits the release of human growth hormone (HGH) which is one of the main factors behind building muscle. Something to think about if you are still opting for a high sugar, fruit smoothie after that workout.
The following is an excerpt from a recent article on Mercola.com pertaining to this topic. After that, there are links to charts illustrating the approximate fructose content in various fruits and vegetables, if you wish to keep a closer eye on your levels, or are just curious.
“Most overweight Americans have some degree of insulin and leptin resistance. This also includes people with diabetes, and many individuals with high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
If you fall into this category, it would be prudent for you to restrict your fructose consumption to about 15 to 25 grams of fructose per day from all sources.
Those who are normal weight and relatively healthy may also benefit from reducing their intake of fructose, particularly from foods containing high fructose corn syrup or sugar, as the effects of high sugar and HFCS intake may have effects that build up over time.
Naturally, fruits also have fructose but contain many beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. For someone who is obese, one has to be careful with eating fruits that have substantial fructose content. Some fruits, such as lemons and limes, have minimal fructose content and are safe.
Other fruits, such as grapefruit, kiwi, and berries, also have relatively low fructose content and high levels of nutrients. However, fruit juices, dried fruits, and some fruits that are rich in fructose (such as pears, red apples, and plums) should be eaten relatively sparingly.
There was just a paper published in the British Medical Journal, which looked at individual fruits as a risk factor for obesity and diabetes,” Dr. Johnson says. “Certain fruits, which we know have relatively low-sugar content and very high vitamin and antioxidant contents, are actually quite healthy. Berries, in particular blueberries, are very, very healthy.
But juices, where you put all the fruit together and you get a lot of sugar in one glass, it’s just too much. When you drink that, you can flood your liver with fructose, and then that will overwhelm the benefits of all the antioxidants. You’ll still get an increased risk for fatty liver, obesity, and diabetes from fruit juice.”
If you are concerned about any of this and interested in tracking your intake, the following chart can be used as a reference guide to help you get and stay on track:
For the most part vegetables are relatively extremely low in fructose and should be consumed without concern. However, if you are someone who struggles with weight and or cravings and would like the follow the 15-25g of fructose/day stringently, the link below is a quick reference of fructose content in various veggies: