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Fear of Fruit?

October 7, 2010

Recently a friend said to me “I avoid fruit because it has sugar in it.  There are a lot of people at my gym who do the same.  We stick to lean meat proteins.”

Avoiding fruit?  Really!?!


Berries from Santa Barbara's Farmers' Market


Yes, fruit has naturally occurring sugar, but it’s safe to say that fresh fruit will lack the devilish high fructose corn syrup. Fruit also comes from the Earth and provides essential nutrients.  Doesn’t it make sense to eat the things that the Earth is providing? There are a great number of benefits too.

Fruits provide fiber to keep the tummy happy; folate to prevent birth defects in pregnant women; vitamin A to keep skin, hair and nails strong and shiny; and vitamin C to ward off that bug that’s going around, and help the body heal quicker.  I could go on, but this is a blog, not a book.

So how many servings of fruit do you need a day?  And what exactly is a serving anyway?  Check out the CDC’s recommendations here. Raw fruits also have a secret component that we often forget about—protein!  Consuming fruits raw helps enable the human body to absorb higher amounts of protein from those tasty little suckers.


Oranges from Santa Barbara's Farmers' Market


Here are some of my personal favorites: an avocado has 4 grams of protein, dates have 3.6 grams of protein per cup, grapes have 1 gram of protein per cup, a medium sized peach has 1.4 grams of protein, and bananas have 1.3 grams of protein each.   Who knew fruits were this incredible?

It is recommended by the CDC that women 19 and older get 46 grams of protein per day, and 56 grams for men over 19.  Most American adults eat WAY more protein than they need.  Based on The China Study this is how we compare to China, a country that has less “Western” diseases like heart disease and cancer:

China US
Calories (kcal/day) 2641 1989
Total fat (% calories) 14.5% 34-38%
Dietary fiber (g/day) 33 12
Total protein (g/day) 64 91
Animal protein (% calories) 0.8% 10-11%

The point?  More fruit and veggies!



Oranges from Santa Barbara's Farmers' Market

a US
Calories (kcal/day) 2641 1989
Calories (kcal/kg body wt./day) 40.6 30.6
Total fat (%of calories) 14.5 34-38
Dietary fiber (g/day) 33 12
Total protein (g/day) 64 91
Animal protein (% of calories) 0.8 10-11
Total iron  (mg/day) 34 18
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