That fruit looks healthy… er… no, not really. January 26, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in Health.
The Guardian had a somewhat thought provoking piece in the G2 section on Wednesday about the real benefits of fruit consumption.
It noted that:
The reason apples are good for you is mainly the cellulose and vitamin C; chewing gives a feeling of satiety and promotes saliva secretion, which is good for your teeth; and because, in the real world, they tend to come as part of a deliberate lifestyle. “People who eat apples probably ride a bike and don’t smoke,” says Sanders. Except for the truly fanatic, they are also more likely to eat them in moderation.
Wait… eat apples, ride a bike, don’t smoke. Hey, that’s me they’re talking about. But let me say, my fruit consumption is… considerable. Three or four apples a day, a banana, fruit drinks, a kiwi… or two. And all because… well, because apples are meant to be healthy. And yes, the extract above does note that they are ‘good for you’. But apparently not quite as ‘good’ as previously advertised. And not just apples but all fruit.
The one thing that is in nobody’s interest to say is this: fruit just doesn’t provide that much nutrition in the first place.
This is bad, bad news. All those apples, that banana, the kiwi… wasted?
If you believe the nutrition industry, every week produces some new superfood, often a fruit: blueberries, pomegranates, acai berries. The fact is that fruit consists of water, sugars (normally about 10%), some vitamin C, and some potassium (thought to be good for controlling blood pressure). And that’s kind of it. Pineapple, for example, has only got about 10mg of vitamin C per 100g (which means a 80g standard portion would only have about 12% of RDA) and is mainly water and sugar. In a typical supermarket fruit medley of 150-200g, at least 15g will be sugar, and the other major constituent water. If it’s a citrus medley, there will be about 40mg per 100g of vitamin C, if not, there will be about 10-20mg.
So what should we be eating?
“The foods packed full of micronutrients are grains, seeds and nuts, the peas and things.” Bagged salad? “It’s mainly water. Dark green vegetables are a good source of some vitamins, such as vitamin A and folate, but lettuce hasn’t got much going for it at all. “
And a note of pathos…
The really sad thing is that we don’t eat enough vegetables, such as cabbage, spinach and broccoli.”
It is sad, isn’t it?
And all that stuff about ‘superfoods’?
The antioxidants in pomegranate juice, which supposedly fight diseases as different as cancer and arthritis, actually only last in the body for an hour. Wheatgrass, that standby of the trendy juicebar, is said to be rich in detoxifying chlorophyll, but every green vegetable and leaf in the world contains cholorophyll – which is not, in fact, absorbable by our bodies.
Still, who can’t identify with the following about ‘smoothies’:
Nor do dietitians have much time for the rise of the smoothie, sales of which have increased by 523% in the past five years. They are expensive, says Sanders, “and bloody holier than thou”.
They are though, aren’t they. I won’t mention a certain brand which proclaims its virtuous nature, but there is something about its glib cheeriness on the packaging which is enormously off-putting. But this is perhaps even more off-putting…
With whole fruit, the cell structure is still intact, and you swallow pieces. They take longer to digest and the sugar in them is released slowly, rather than the rapid spike in blood glucose produced by drinking juice, or a smoothie. “If you liquidise it into goo it’s just like drinking ordinary Coke. Or worse, actually,” he says.
Worse? How so?
“It’s still a sugary drink. A lot of people on diets don’t realise that if they’re drinking loads of apple juice or orange juice, it’s got a lot of calories in. If you drink a litre of apple juice a day, it’ll be 400 calories.” Saunders particularly objects to labelling that implies that drinking these concentrates substitutes for three or four portions a day: “They don’t. They only count for one.”