“I’m with Shelby in thinking that fruit—though, let’s specify that we mean whole fruit, not the stuff that’s pre-sliced in cans and soaked in syrup—is a great food choice and can be included in any diet. In the modern world, where the majority of food choices are refined and processed, whole fruit is one of the last real, natural foods.
“Fruit is important for digestion and satiety, and it contains healthy, disease-fighting phytonutrients. It also comes in such a wide selection of flavors and textures that it can provide a ton of variety in a diet.
“The attack on fruit has always been about the small amount of natural fructose found in whole fruits, which just isn’t comparable to the amount found in processed snacks, pastries, and desserts loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar. For instance, 24 ounces of soda has five to six times more total fructose than an orange, and has no nutritional value. Fructose, in concentrated amounts beyond what nature intended, can indeed have a drastic negative effect on both our overall health and physical appearance. Fructose overload can lead to insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, elevated triglycerides, Type 2 diabetes, and, of course, rapid accumulation of body fat. But don’t blame the fruit. Cut the crap out of your diet.
“I like to eat fruit during the day for sustained energy, and around workouts to ward of catabolism. My diet strategy is to eat lightly in the early part of the day, then get most of my carbs and calories at night. So, if I’m training late in the day but before my big meals, liver glycogen can get low, and that often causes fatigue and impairs performance. A piece of fruit 30 to 45 minutes before training can provide just enough energy to get through an intense session without pumping so many carbs into your system that you wreck your ability to burn fat for a while. Since fruit digests fast, it gives you a quick shot of energy without causing digestive stress or nausea during the workout like a big meal would. Fruit is also low on the glycemic index, so you won’t get an energy crash after eating it the way you do with refi ned carbs.
“The one time I wouldn’t eat fruit is right after a big, starch-loaded meal. Fructose is metabolized dif erently than glucose and starch. Once liver-glycogen stores are full, excess fructose is easily converted to triglycerides and body fat. So fruit is best when liver glycogen is low—after a period of fasting, a stretch of lowcarb eating, or immediately post-workout.”
Nate Miyaki, C-ISSN, is a natural bodybuilder and nutritionist, and the author of Intermittent Feast. natemiyaki.com.