Ever gotten into a “fruit frenzy”? Basically, the habit of gorging on sweet fruit to your hearts content.
It can be an easy one to slip into, especially this time of year, when there’s an abundance of juicy fruit and the temptation is too good to restrict.
Mood changes as well as trying hard to to be healthy can also lead to food fetishes.
Back along (way before I knew what I do now...), I spent 2 days solely grazing on fresh cherries because I didn't feel like eating much, love cherries and thought where's the harm.
While excess fruit consumption may not be your main food concern right now, fruit does contain natural sugar (fructose), so it's something to consider.
Because natural sugars have the same effect on our body as refined sugar, in that too much will spike our blood sugar and create inflammation.
It may seem like I bang on about blood sugar a lot, but it's so so important to keep your blood sugar stable. It's essential for healthy weight, sustained energy, balanced hormones and mood, stress management...
Also on a more serious note it's the root cause of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is rapidly on the increase.
Many people don't even know they have metabolic syndrome - a cluster of risk factors, with high blood sugar being one of them.
So here's some tips on how to avoid a “fruit frenzy” and inadvertently loading up on sugar:
Stay within your daily fruit quota
Ideally you want to aim for no more than two pieces of fruit a day. A cup of small fruits, e.g. berries is equivalent to one serving of fruit. It’s no big deal if you overshoot on this now and again. I much prefer you do this, then load up on foods that are completely void of nutrients and full of refined sugar.
Some exceptions to this rule apply, in that you can get away with eating more of some fruits than others, which I’ll touch on in a tick.
Most of my fruit quota gets gobbled up in my breakfast smoothie. And I'm very happy about that, because:
1) when we combine fruit with protein and fat, as in a smoothie, it slows down the rate at which the fruit’s sugar is released into our bloodstream. It also helps our body absorb more nutrients from the fruit.
2) the fruit naturally sweetens my smoothie, allowing me to cram in more superfoods (e.g. greens, herbs and spices) that pack a powerful antioxidant punch, without sacrificing on taste.
3) First thing I like to treat my body to food that tastes good, boosts energy and makes me feel great. Creating a delicious breakfast smoothie so hits that spot!
Reduce your fruit sugar impact
Fruit is a wonderful source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre, which is why we need it in our diets. But certain fruits have a higher glycemic rating than others.
Tropical fruit, like bananas and mangoes are typical examples of this. In a nutshell, when you eat high glycemic fruit your blood sugar will rise at a faster rate than in instances where you’ve eaten a pear, apple or berries with a low glycemic rating.
Berries should be your best fruit friend - they're sweet tasting, loaded with antioxidants and low glycemic.
But fruits with a greater sugar impact should be eaten in moderation and treated like a dessert.
As with all foods, it's good to vary what fruits you eat to increase your array of nutrient intake.
If you’re trying to lose weight, suffer with digestive issues or think you may have low insulin sensitivity levels then revisit your fruit consumption and the ones you’re eating on a regular basis.
Go steady with fruit juice
Fruit juice will massively ramp up your natural sugar intake.
More fruit is needed to make a glass of juice, and unlike smoothies the juicing process completely strips all fruit of its fibre. Because it's the fibre that slows down the release of sugar in your bloodstream, take it easy here. Or better still, replace fruit juice with vegetable juice.
I’ve practically removed all fruit juice from my diet. Indulgences are for exotic holidays, where I can have something fresh and locally produced – like sugarcane juice in Vietnam. Had to be done, but was mighty sweet!
Make fruit an-all-year round affair
It's important to include some fruit in your diet all year round. Frozen fruit that’s usually frozen right after it’s been picked to lock in tons of nutrients, is fantastic.
It’s more economical to buy than fresh fruit if you’re on a budget and can be better nutritionally for you than unripe, fresh fruit. It doesn’t contain as many enzymes as the fresh stuff, but it’s a great out-of-season alternative.
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