We have all heard the “5 a day for health” slogan for eating our fruit and vegetables. We all know the benefits fruits and vegetables have. They are full of essential nutrients and vitamins that we need to consume for our bodies to function effectively.
From a young age we are exposed to sugar. We learn to love the taste, we learn to crave it, and we become addicted!
What Happens When We Consume Too Much Fruit
Filling our diets with fruit seems like the healthy thing to do. We get a great number of benefits of eating fruit; essential nutrients, antioxidants, and it’s a great way of satisfying our sweet cravings…right?
The main distinguishing factor between fruit and vegetables is that fruit is high in sugar; known as fructose. Even though the fructose is a natural form of sugar, we still need to consume it in moderation.
Fructose is the only type of sugar found in fruits. We metabolise fructose in our livers, as opposed to in the blood stream, like we do with glucose. When we consume too much glucose, we are at risk of high blood pressure. We know that this can lead to a number of detrimental diseases such as diabetes.
But, known to a lesser degree, is that excess fructose in our livers, can have similar outcomes. ‘Our livers turn excess sugar intake into triglycerides. These excess triglycerides get stored in our fat cells throughout our entire bodies. So the fructose we eat, the more fat we store.’ (1) Excess sugar, even from fructose, can create excessive visceral belly fat around our internal organs, which, like excessive glucose intake, can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Nutrition Australia backs this up. They have updated the “Healthy Eating Pyramid for the first time in 15 years in an effort to combat growing nutrition confusion and risky fad diets.”(2)
One of the biggest changes in the food pyramid was the change in vegetables. The bottom layer of the pyramid is now filled with only mostly vegetables, some legumes and a little fruit. Carb-rich foods are no longer included in this bottom layer. This change reflects the view that plant foods should make up the largest portion of our diet. In fact around 70 per cent of what we eat should come from this bottom layer. This is because unprocessed plant foods is linked to a reduced incidence of some of our biggest killing diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. With this change, our fibre intake is also increased because plant foods are high in fibre, This helps us feel fuller for longer, improves the health of our digestive system, and can help us manage our weight.
While vegetables and fruit are both healthy, we should eat more veg than fruit. The minimum recommended intake of vegetables for adults is 5-6 serves per day. More is even better. By increasing our vegetable intake, we should reduce our fruit to a maximum of 2 fruit a day.
Disclaimer: Results may vary. Exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss. Consult with your health care processional before beginning any diet or exercise regime.