If fruit good for you? Should I be eating it?
Is fruit good for you? Fruit is a hot topic amongst trainers, nutritionists and people who care about their waistline. With contrasting opinions all over the internet it’s hard to get a grasp on whether fruit is really RIGHT for you.
First things first. A fruit only diet would be about as good for your body as shooting yourself in the gut. And before you say nobody is that stupid google 'fruitarian diet’, it’s a thing. It’ll ruin your body from the inside out so please don’t do it.
Onto the main topic. Fruit as a dietary supplement. There are pro’s and con’s completely engulfing this topic but below are my main points for making the decision on whether fruit is right for you based on muscle gain, fat loss and overall health.
Is fruit good for you?: For Overall Health?
Fruits contain large amounts of important nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals and various antioxidants and phytonutrients. A lot of these are hard to source from other food groups, especially if you are eating a restrictive diet without supplementation.
As long as they are fresh and unprocessed the knock on health benefits from having these nutrients coursing through your veins are pronounced. The additional dietary fibres & nutrients, introduced to an otherwise poor diet (low vegetable intake etc) will help improve digestive function, bowel movements (thank you dietary fibre), immunity and a host of other functions.
A diet high in sugars, albeit fructose not glucose in the case of fruit can be catastrophic for your body. Risk of heart-disease, diabetes and strokes rockets as does the risk of developing lesser known conditions including fatty liver disease. A condition usually reserved for hardcore alcoholics.
Fruits are generally acidic. Too much acidity in your body can lead to acidosis, a condition that will negatively impact your respiratory, gastric, muscular and cardio system to name a few. A prime example of the acidity within fruits is the tingly feeling you get in your mouth after eating too much pineapple. It’s your tongue tissue being broken down by the acidity of the pineapple (fruit bites back!)
Answer: Perhaps, although vegetables would be a better source of dietary fibre, minerals and nutrients
Is fruit good for you?: For Fat Loss?
Fruits are little more than watery bags of fructose with a handful of dietary fibre thrown in for good measure. Meaning they are essentially packed with sugar and although this comes in the form of fructose as opposed to the more commonly known glucose it is still immediately absorbed by the bloodstream during digestion, spiking blood sugar levels which in turn will cause an insulin response. Insulin is naturally produced by the body and serves the purpose of storing excess energy. If you haven’t got a need for the sudden availability of energy in your blood it will get stored for later use as fat, the bodies go to storage solution.
This effect is only amplified if you have poor insulin sensitivity. A condition easily identified as being overweight.
Is fruit good for you?: For Muscle Gain?
In the same way that insulin will store excess blood sugar when we are sedentary as fat it will help replenish muscle glycogen levels whilst we are exercising or once we have finished exercising.
Glycogen is the muscles fuel source during training and as a fuel tank would empty whilst driving a car the same will happen with glycogen levels. Fructose (the sugar found in fruit) is one of the three dietary monosaccharides (sugars) that can be used to replenish glycogen levels, refuelling your muscles and helping speed up recovery.
The knock on effect being that you will recover faster being able to train sooner and with more intensity.
If you have poor insulin sensitivity (read: if you are overweight) low-GI carbohydrates would serve as a better option for those interested in muscle gain. As they as slower to provoke an insulin response insulin sensitivity will improve (you will find it easier to lose weight) and with lower levels of body fat come higher levels of testosterone and growth hormone which will increase your capacity to gain muscle. Low-GI carbohydrates include sweet potato, porridge oats, lentils, quinoa.
Answer: Yes, it will improve recovery and aid muscle growth if timed correctly. If you are overweight turn to low-GI carbohydrates instead to improve body composition.
If your main goal is body recomposition (losing fat, gaining muscle, or both) limit intake strictly to post workout and pair limited amount of fruits with protein immediately after training for best results. Check out our smoothie recipe for some inspiration!
If your main goal is being healthy consider increasing your vegetable intake before turning to fruit for your health fix. As well as being much slower to break down meaning a lesser spike in blood sugar levels, vegetables carry equal or often more dietary fibres providing the same digestive benefits without any pitfalls. Just try to stay organic wherever possible.