No Wellness Wankery

25: Does fruit have too much sugar?

August 23, 2022 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
25: Does fruit have too much sugar?
Show Notes Transcript

Were you taught that fruit is fattening, a banana has too many carbs or you can only eat low-sugar fruit? If so, we are very sorry! 

The diet industry has taught us to fear perfectly healthy food like fruit and vegetables. As a result, the list of ‘allowed’ foods becomes so teeny, tiny that we’re left wondering “Wtf am I even allowed to eat anymore!”

But is fruit actually unhealthy?

P.s. Need a little extra support? In my FREE 30-day challenge I’ll teach you how to say goodbye to crappy old-school diet advice and create a healthier relationship with food.  Click here to sign up for F*CK DIETS Challenge.

 Hey, guys, and welcome to today's episode of No Wellness Wankery. I'm Lyndi Cohen, your nutritionist, your dietitian, and your podcast buddy. And I'm joined today by Jenna D’Apice.

 It's so random saying your name like that. Hello, we are talking about a huge one today, fruit.

 Yeah, I mean, I'm sad that we do need to still talk about this because in my mind, it's a simple answer, but we're gonna dive into it. Is fruit fad thing? Let's find out.

 I know a lot of times I've got a thing where you're like, you'd only have people with only have half a banana or they wouldn't have...

 Right, the idea is like bananas have too many carbohydrates apparently.

 Yeah, too much sugar in a banana.

 Oh my goodness, see now anytime someone's like telling you that fruit is fattening, I want you to suddenly think that person is questionable. I am doubting that person's advice. Unless you have a fructose sensitivity, which majority of people do not, the idea, the advice is that some fruits are good for you and some fruits are bad for you and that's just ridiculous. Yes, it's true that some fruits naturally have a lower amount of sugar, so something like your berries typically versus things like watermelon or bananas or grapes, those kinds of things. But the thing is that each fruit has its own little purpose. So each fruit has different nutrients combined in it. So actually the color of the fruit is a very good way to work out what kind of nutrients it has in it. And that's because each different color is called a flavonoid. A flavonoid. A flavonoid is a fun word. They generally come with a whole little bunch of nutrients attached to that flavonoid. So when you're having your orange fruit, that's different from your red fruits. And you're saying if you're having green apples or pears or green grapes, are you getting

 the similar nutrients?


 Okay, so the skin, absolutely yes. You would be getting different nutrients to it. I'm just trying to think of other green fruits at the moment. I guess you have a cantaloupe. Yes, that would be...

 Or kiwi fruit.

 Kiwi fruit, exactly. So you're getting a different mix of nutrients thanks to those flavonoids, those color nutrients. And also then you get a whole bunch of your essential nutrients like vitamin C inside our fruit, which is really important for anything from skin to immunity to energy. So we absolutely need that. And fruit is also one of those really wonderful things that when we feel like we need something that is sweet, if you've eliminated sugar, you don't really have that many options left that are healthier. You maybe could go for some yogurt, but you've probably been told that that's bad for you as well, even though it's not. And so what I find, what often happens when we create a list of these eliminated foods, we end up going for more things like chocolate and ice cream because ultimately you're like, I need something sweet. So you're still going to end up seeking it out. I think it's much better to have a full range of those healthy options on hand so you can always go for them. Fruit also contains antioxidants that can help you prevent oxidation, prevent not slow aging but help support your body through aging. Really, really important stuff to helping your cells produce in a healthy way. They also contain phytonutrients.

 I mean, fiber.

 What is that? Fiber. I can go on and on and on, but the point is that each different fruit is going to be useful in a different way. If I was going to go exercise, I would probably choose a banana beforehand. The very thing that we get told is bad for us about the banana is what makes it incredible for me before I exercise because sugar is energy. Yeah, you need it. And you need energy. That's why we eat food.

 Is there something about like the banana has different sugar content at different points, so it's like a greener banana has less sugar than a riper banana? I've heard all of these things as well.

 Yeah, that is true. Basically, as fruit ripens, it's going to change the structure of the sugars, so it does become sweeter to taste and it will have more sugar in it. Also the kinds of fiber that you're going to get in something like a banana shifts, so it's originally like a prebiotic fiber and then it can kind of shift so it doesn't have the prebiotic fiber anymore. But is that a reason not to have ripe fruits? No, it's not. No.

 You should eat the fruit the way you like it. I know if a banana's too ripe, generally it gets a bit too intense for me.

 Oh, too sweet or too mushy?



 I like it when it's not green, but just that bright yellow. Hard to bite into.

 Hard to bite into.

 Yeah, and you know, there's nothing like a good crisp apple. There's flowery apples. When are we going to get rid of flowery apples? Yeah, so it's about what stage you like the fruit at, not opposed to what are the nutrient properties. Yeah, and the difference between a banana that's less ripe and one that's more ripe, it's a very tiny difference in sugar. We're not talking about like it's not going to make or break your life, it's not going to drastically transform your health. So fundamentally, just eating what you enjoy and then moving on with your life is far more beneficial than overthinking something as simple as fruit.

 As fruit. What about things like, I know sometimes fruit's expensive or you don't have access to as fresh fruit, so then people will put things like canned fruit as, oh, that's just even more sugar, they add more sugar to it, you might as well not have it.

 If they're adding syrup to the can, then yeah, it can have more sugar in it, but sometimes it's just like in water, like you get like peaches and I don't know what they put it in, to be honest, it's like a watery mixture, a bit like chickpea juice maybe. Yeah. But I mean, that's gonna be equivalently healthy and I think that kind of thing is delicious.

 I feel like tin peaches are such a good way to have peaches because sometimes you buy a peach and then they don't stay that great for that long and you gotta eat them straight away.

 And tin peaches with some yogurt or ice cream is so good. Yeah, you can eat that year round. All the time. Because this is something we do wanna be doing with our fruit is eating it seasonally. But when it's off-season, it's going to be a whole lot more expensive. So that doesn't mean that we don't want to be having fruit. We do absolutely want to be having fruit, but you can have frozen fruit, which is going to be just as healthy as the fresh stuff. It's snap frozen, the nutrients are locked in, and it's very affordable. Well, it's not very affordable, but it's more affordable. And it's so quick and easy. Quick and easy. I mean, I'm not going to lie though, frozen raspberry isn't going to be the kind of thing you top on your yogurt. No, but I actually do like it. You know what, if you mix it around, it kind of becomes- You mix Frogo for frozen yogurt? Yeah, so if I get yogurt and I put frozen raspberries in it, and you've got to be watching TV and commit to the process, you've got to really stir it and stir it and stir it and mush it around and it-

 Yeah, becomes frozen yogurt. Okay, give that a go if you like Frogo.

 We got diverted by something yummy. But yeah, frozen fruit. In my freezer, I have an abundance of frozen fruit. I have vegetables, but a lot of fruit as well, so that's always on the go. At the moment, what I'm really into eating is chia pudding in the morning with a sweetened raspberry thing and some nut butter. Oh my goodness, just use some frozen berries and make that in the morning. So good. Moral of the story is, you can have fruit that's frozen. Let's talk about dried fruit because that's a bit of a different one, isn't it?


 Now, there's two different schools of thought because what you do when you dry fruit is you're removing the water content, so you're making it more dense. So if you look at the nutrition panel, it is going to have denser amounts of sugar because the product has become denser, if that makes sense. And what ends up happening, because we don't have the hydration element, sometimes we end up eating more of that. And I think that's kind of when it becomes not a problem, but I think that's kind of when the balance is kind of thrown off a little bit. One of the beautiful things about fruit is that it does come in its full package. There's this idea called the food matrix, which is that the way that... People often try and rip apart a food looking at one specific nutrient, but that nutrient's bad. But when you take it in consideration of the entire food, even in the context of a whole food, it shifts the way our body reacts to it. So when you're having fruit that has water in it, it's going to be different from when you're having it and it's being dried. I like dried fruit, okay? I eat dried fruit. I probably have dried fruit in my muesli or like, I love me a handful of sultanas, a few dates if I feel like I want something sweet, really great source of fiber. Nutrient dense. I think the challenge is when you start to be like, oh, I just eat a lot of dried fruit and it becomes your go-to and you're not having the fresh fruits. I think that can be a bit of a problem. I also like to have dried fruit as part of something. Sometimes it's just dried dates or fresh dates or whatever and it's delicious. I'm not like other people will tell you that dried fruit is bad and you need to avoid it. I don't believe that. I just think you just also need to go okay

 well it is what it is and choose

 fresh fruit whenever you can and just be mindful of dried fruit. What about sometimes I hear in like diet culture people get like a date and they put nut butter in it and they're like this is like nature's Mars bar. You should have this Or they say frozen grapes taste like lollies. They don't, they taste like grapes that are frozen. Yeah, like these things are great and I really enjoy all those options. Like I love some green apple with some nut butter on it as well. Like that's actually one of my go-to. It's delicious. It's delicious, it's so good. Or like, sometimes I make like an apple crumble. Apples are in season right now. And I know I'm adding in a little bit of oats and a bit of sugar, but I'm also adding in some whole grains and some seeds and some nuts. And that's delicious as well. You can absolutely enjoy fruit and have it for desserts and sweet stuff, but it's not replacing dessert. It is never the same as chocolate, in my opinion. I like chocolate too much to do that. In fact, I kind of hate fruit and dessert. It ruins it. I need more chocolate, more caramel, please. But just see for what it is. Fruit isn't everyday food. It's something we have all the time, we can enjoy, don't have to hold back on it. Ideally, what we're doing is we're just mixing it up with the seasons. Right now, there's not that many kinds of fruit that are in season. We talked about this in the Healthy Eating on a Budget podcast episode, which is a good one. Go listen to that one. Right now it's apples and pears and some citrus and that's it. That's kind of what I'm trying to eat at the moment. Very soon, we'll start to shift. To supplement that, you can add in the frozen vegetables, the frozen fruit.

 The frozen fruit.

 Yeah. But I think there's one more thing we do need to talk about and that is fruit juice.

 For a very long time, I was scared of juice. I was like, juice, I can't have juice.

 That is just like a cup of sugar. I don't know if it's a cup of sugar.

 It's a cup of sugar.

 I cannot eat it.

 I'm drinking sugar. So because what we say, like if you juiced an orange, I think I did it once, you need like five oranges to get a small, like one cup measurement of orange juice, right? Yes. So the thing is, would you ever sit down and just have five oranges? No, you don't do that. And eating fruit in the whole context of having the whole piece of fruit is certainly healthier for you, and I think it's something that we should be doing. Ideally. Does that mean that you can never drink juice?


 I like juice, but I also just don't, it's just not an everyday thing, I don't think. It's more, it's all things for it to be fearing.

 It's just like when you feel like it, but not an all the time thing.

 Is it better than soft drink? Yeah. Yeah, okay. Is it as good as water?


 Are you still going to get more nutrients in it though compared to something like a soft drink, right? So you can't forget about that. Let's say someone's like trying to gain weight or someone's an athlete or someone has really high energy needs. For some people, drinking fruit juice is a really great thing to be doing. I personally wouldn't be adding it to my shopping cart each week, but I wouldn't be fearing it either. I remember a bit of like a Weight Watchers thing in my head. It's like, if you like want to drink the juice, then say you have to just like also eat the fruit at the same time. Yeah. So it's like, but then you're kind of like eating

 this orange, it's kind of like had all the life sucked out of it, literally.

 Oh, you have to eat the leftover remains.

 Yeah. That's one of those things that when I say it out loud, I'm like, that sounds insane.

 Sounds like diet control. Yeah, you have to drink the juice,

 you have to eat the remains.

 I think what they're trying to achieve there is when you're juicing, you're losing the fiber. Yeah. And you're losing that food matrix, okay? So you're not getting food as the whole item that it was intended to, the way that your body can digest it in its best format. You're manipulating it, meaning it's not going to be quite as healthy for you. The takeaway here is not to fear any kind of adjusted fruit. Just ideally enjoy fresh fruit as much as you can, frozen can, all those kinds of options. You can have dried fruit, you can have fruit juice, just keeping in mind that we want to be going for those fresh fruit options, but no fear, no hate, nothing scary. Everything is allowed.

 Everything is allowed. I feel like sometimes, say I have a few drinks that night and then the next morning at breakfast, I'll be like, oh, I can't have juice, but I've just drank in so much alcohol. I think a nice glass of orange juice, if I feel like it, is probably what I should be

 having. That's a nice reframe to think about the fact that I think we think fruit juice is worse for us than alcohol. Yeah, I dare say it's not. No, alcohol is like, alcohol is really not good for us. And like, let's say you wanted to go, or I don't want to drink alcohol, you could go for a juice then. That might be the thing. You might go, that's something I want to be doing. You would be doing something that's better for your body if you did that.

 I think the thing that I've struggled with the most is if people are scared of fruit or are scared of these things, how do you start introducing them back into a diet without the guilt? You know what I mean? How do you begin?

 Yeah. So something you can, there are a few ways to do this. One, you could try and introduce a small amount with a safe food. So let's say you were comfortable with having a certain kind of breakfast, you could just add in a little bit of that fruit as part of that already quite secure meal that might, you know, this is like more eating disorder kind of reintroduction thing, you might want to do it in a safe and happy place. So that can be helpful for you. You might want to start with the least scary fruits first so that you go like, well, this is going to make it as easy as possible. And then once you try that fruit, you can kind of go, well, how did it make me feel? Did I combust? No. Do I feel like it made me feel a certain way? Is it as scary as I thought it was? Then you can kind of make up that decision. But what we have to do is we have to challenge the idea that this fruit is scary or bad or forbidden. And in doing so, we help to change that guilt around so it doesn't control us. Because that's the thing that scares me is when food really does control us, that guilt is in control and we're not in control.

 It's just taking it little steps by steps.

 It is taking it little steps by steps and it's hard. It is hard. So hard. If you feel like this food is really scary and awful and terrible, as I said, start with the easier stuff or start with the harder stuff. Ultimately, you need to find out the right way to do it. If you do feel like you're scared of having fruit, genuinely, I would say that a good idea is to make an appointment with a dietitian, because this is something that someone can really help you with, and you can hold your hands throughout, because it's a hard, hard process. Also, if you're struggling with food or feeling that you're feeling out of control around food, you could also try Lindy's program, Keep It Real. It is really amazing, there's so many videos, so many people writing questions in there, and answers that Lindy's written back to them, and questions you didn't even think you had yet,

 and you're like, oh, I didn't know about that either.

 Yes, I'm giving you personalized advice inside the program. So ideally, the program is to help anyone who's struggling with disordered eating, with binge eating, emotional eating, those kinds of very, very common problems to very normal reactions to being put on a diet from a young age or being criticized about how you look or subscribing to diet rules. And so if that's something that you feel like, okay, I'd like to work on my relationship with food, then give Keep It Real a go. And I know if you've probably tried like a million diets, you're like, oh, I don't want to fail at just another thing. So you can get a full refund if after 30 days you're like, hey, this is just not my vibe. That's cool. I got you. I got you back. And you can use the code podcast. I think it's podcast. If you go to the website,, and you use the coupon code podcast, you can get 20% off Keep It Real for listening. Anyway, I hope that answers your questions around fruit. I could go on and on. I could talk about how it's slow-burning energy and all that good stuff, which it all is, but my key takeaway is just make sure you're enjoying fruit, not fearing it. We don't need one more thing to fear to add to our list, to make us feel guilty about


 You need to eat multiple times a day. Let's work to make it enjoyable as it should be, as your divine body deserves it to be. Thanks for listening, everyone. If you do like the podcast, then please leave us a review.

 Like and subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts, and we will chat to you next week.

 Do you feel like you know what you should be eating, but you feel completely out of control with food?

 You're either eating perfectly or you're face planting into the fridge. Well, if you've got binge eating or you're struggling with emotional eating, I can help. Check out my program, Keep It Real. I've got lots I can teach you and hey, you don't have to be a binge eater for the rest of your life. You can get 20% off Keep It Real when you use the code podcast when you check out via the website. And because I don't want this to be just another failed attempt for you, I'm offering a 30-day money-back guarantee because you know what? You just got to give these things a go, no risk. Give it a try. Give it a try. Check out Keeper Real.