Making the Case for Eating Fruit

Karen Barrow (Senior Staff Editor, Health): As the world sugar rages across America, it’s clear that soda and sugar laden candy are not good for our waist lines, but what about sugary fresh fruit? Sophie Egan joins us today to answer this question. So is sugary fruit better or worse than a glass of soda?

Sophie Egan: It’s definitely better because the packaging of the whole fruit allows your body to absorb sugars more slowly. So that helps keep your blood sugar under control.

Karen: So is it true to say that the package of an orange or the package of an apple is a good diet tool?

Sophie: For most people it can be helpful in this way. It takes long enough to digest whole fruit in part because of the fiber that you feel full after eating even just one piece of fruit and there aren’t that many calories and tastes good.

So it certainly can be and as one of Michael Pollan’s famous food rules says if you are not hungry enough to eat an apple you’re probably not hungry. But if you are hungry enough to eat an apple and you go ahead and eat an apple you will probably be full for a while.

Karen: And what about dried fruits? If I have a dried apple, is that just as good as having a fresh apple?

Sophie: Most of experts will say it’s not just as good but it certainly has its advantages. It’s intact as compared with liquid form of juice. It’s portable and it can be cheap, so in these ways it can’t make the difference between eating any fruit at all.

The downside is that you don’t, you can end up eating a lot of excess calories in sugar because without the water you don’t fill up as fast.

Karen: And speaking of the liquids in the fruit, is a glass of orange juice the same as eating an orange? I know that’s what a lot of people wonder if the juice is the same as a whole fruit.

Sophie Egan (Reporter): The consensus is it’s not the same. There appear to be some key disadvantages when you change fruit from whole form to liquid. The trouble with most juice is it’s been filtered, removing a lot of that fiber.

Even if you’re making juice at home not adding any sugar, you’re still removing a lot of that fiber because when you’re squeezing, say a cut orange, you throw away the peel and all that stringy stuff. And that can be a big disadvantage.

So if you’re gonna have juice the best way to do it is to put an entire orange, that you’ve peeled, in a blender and then drink everything in there because at least then you’re still eating all the flesh of the fruit.

Karen: And what about smoothies?

Sophie: If we’re talking about whole fruit in a blender, with yogurt or nuts or seeds added. Those can provide healthful fats and proteins that slow digestion and absorption of sugar. Other smoothies can have, certainly not be considered health foods.

Karen: Right, there are a lot of added sugars in smoothies sometimes and fats and things like that. Sophie: Exactly.

Karen: And have you found that all fruit is the same? Can I have an apple or peach or a blueberry and reap the same health benefits without thinking about the sugar?

Sophie: Most of the advice is that it’s best to eat a range so that you can access different nutrients. There may be other reasons to choose certain fruits over others but from nutrition standpoint a variety really is best.

Karen: That’s great. Thanks for joining us. I think I’ll pick up some fruit on my way home. Sophie: Okay, great. Thank you.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/video

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