Below are excerpts from an enlightening piece about why we shouldn't avoid fresh fruit. That's got to be good news as we enjoy the terrific produce now and for the next few months.
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Making the Case for Eating Fruit
By SOPHIE EGAN
Experts agree that we are eating too much sugar, which is contributing to obesity and other health problems. But in the rush to avoid sugar, many low-carb dieters and others are avoiding fruits. But fresh fruit should not become a casualty in the sugar wars, many nutrition experts say.
Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that sugar consumed in fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects, no matter how much you eat. In a recent perspective piece in The Journal of the American Medical Association, he cited observational studies that showed that increased fruit consumption is tied to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity-associated diseases.
Whole fruits, he explained, contain a bounty of antioxidants and healthful nutrients, and their cellular scaffolding, made of fiber, makes us feel full and provides other metabolic benefits. When you bite into an apple, for example, the fruit’s fiber helps slow your absorption of fructose, the main sugar in most fruits. But fiber is not the full story. . . .
“If we take a nutrient-centric approach, just looking at sugar grams on the label, none of this is evident,” Dr. Ludwig said. “So it really requires a whole foods view.”
Fruit can also help keep us from overeating, Dr. Ludwig said, by making us feel fuller. Unlike processed foods, which are usually digested in the first few feet of our intestines, fiber-rich fruit breaks down more slowly so it travels far longer through the digestive tract, triggering the satiety hormones that tend to cluster further down the small intestines. . . . .
[But experts] caution against choosing juice over whole fruit. While the best juice has nothing added, nothing subtracted, some important changes take place when you turn fruit into liquid. . . . If you opt for juice, tossing whole fruit in a blender rather than squeezing it offers the best chance of retaining most of the fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Dried fruits also hold one of the main disadvantages of juices: volume. Dried fruit essentially concentrates the calories and sugar into smaller packets, making it easier to consume excess calories. But dried fruit is better than juice. . .because it preserves the fruit’s cellular structure, along with the health assets that provides.