Friday, June 23, 2017

The Whole Truth About Whole Fruits

Fresh fruits are loaded with fiber, antioxidants and other great nutrients. And studies show that eating fruit whole gives you the most of this food group’s potential benefits, like helping to prevent heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.

While drinking smoothies can be convenient and healthy if they’re not loaded with added sugar, you lose some the fruits’ fiber during blending. It’s also easy to drink a lot more calories than you’d get in one or even two pieces of whole fruit.

Research published in the British journal BMJ suggests that eating certain whole fruits in particular may significantly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Since type 2 diabetes is epidemic in the United States, finding ways to prevent it is critical to continued good health.

For the study, researchers looked at decades of diet and health records for thousands of people. They saw – but did not prove – that those who ate 2 or more servings each week of fruits like blueberries, grapes, raisins, prunes, apples and pears reduced their likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes by 23%.

Conversely, drinking fruit juice every day had the opposite effect, increasing the chances of diabetes by 21%. One possible reason: the spikes in blood sugar that the concentrated sugars in juice can cause.

It’s not yet clear which nutrients in those good-for-you fruits may offer diabetes protection. But one thing seems certain: An apple a day might keep the blood sugar disease away.

And don’t forget to eat a fruit’s peel or skin when edible – it’s a powerhouse of nutrients.

My Take:
I agree with each and every statement made it this health news post.

The human digestive tract cannot break down cellulose, the fibrous material that makes up all plant cell walls. When we eat plants only the cells broken by chewing, release their nutrients.

The down side of this limitation in digestion is that most of the micronutrients in plants remain in those cells, exiting the body through the bowel encased in cellulose (fiber). Juicing advocates rightly claim that juicing releases most, if not all of these nutrients.

However, the overwhelming macronutrient in all those cells is sugar. So juicing releases vast amounts of simple carbohydrates that induce insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes.

Imagine eating a big “Bug’s Bunny” carrot. It’s a lot of work chewing that hard carrot. The taste is a little sweet and you can probably eat just one. Now think about juicing carrots. First, you will need about 10 pounds of carrots to make an 8 ounce glass of juice. That’s more carrots than you could eat in a week. Next, taste the juice – it’s significantly sweeter than the raw carrot. Juicing broke down all that fiber, releasing both the macro and micro nutrients.

Finally, let’s cook some carrots. Now they are soft, easy to chew because you have broken down some of the fiber. They are sweeter than the raw carrot but not nearly as sweet as the carrot juice. You’ve destroyed some of the micronutrients, but many remain intact. Overall, a nice compromise.

The Bottom Line:
Fruits are best eaten whole and raw. You can obtain additional micronutrients from juicing, but avoid juicing sweet fruits. I recommend occasional juicing with vegetables, adding just enough fruit to improve the taste. Think of cooking fruits as pre-digestion. It has some benefits as well but is no substitute for eating raw fruits.
I recommend two fruit serving per day, not per week. I try to have a whole fruit snack late morning and a second one late in the afternoon. Give this a try. It will help maintain steady glucose levels in the blood and reduce your appetite as well.

Source: May 31, 2017 National Institutes of Health

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