Debunking Fruity Myths

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so the old adage goes. But does it really? It took me a long time to start debunking fruity myths like this.

When I started P90X I was shocked that it only included one serving of fruit a day in my diet. Before that, I had always been under the impression that fruit is all good and that I should eat as much as possible. I was probably eating three or four fruits a day.

Myth #1: Eat lots of fruit because it is full of vitamins and minerals

Fruit is mostly water and sugar. The vitamins and minerals found in a medium apple are minimal, you can look at the vitamin and mineral charts here; you would need to eat 7 apples to get your daily-recommended dose of vitamin C. Eating them would also mean you would ingest about 132 grams or more than ½ a cup of granulated sugar.[1] Even fruits deemed “superfoods” are relatively sugary, including blueberries[2]. Even natural sugar that is found in fruit, known as fructose, is highly likely to be stored by our bodies as fat. Some studies go so far as to conclude that fructose is the cause of the worldwide obesity, hypertension and metabolic syndrome epidemics.[3]

Myth #2: Pre-sliced fruit is just as good as whole fruit

Packaged fruit is actually more likely to be contaminated because nature’s protective seal, the skin, has been broken. Furthermore, bacteria that fruit are exposed to at packaging facilities could be harmful to you. Sliced apples, for example, were recalled as recently as August 2012 as a result of contamination.[4]

These fruits are also often processed to preserve their appearance. If they are not refrigerated with a near-term expiration date or frozen, then pre-sliced fruits must contain some sort of preservatives to maintain freshness.  Some pre-cut apples, for example, are sprayed with a lemon juice solution so that they do not brown.[5]; chemicals are used to treat some fruits, and some producers even add sugar to enhance flavor.

So if you are going to reach for a fruit, think twice about going the pre-sliced route or be extra wary of reading ingredients if you do. And most importantly, remember to be mindful of portion control with this sugary part of your diet.

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