Fruit for some reason, over the last five years has been given a bad name. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked ‘doesn’t fruit make you fat’? by a client! So what are the facts?
Yes fruit does contain carbohydrates. In fruit carbohydrates are in the form of fructose, however the amount of carbohydrates in one serve of fruit is very modest at only 15 grams.
I hear you ask, but what is a serve?
I describe a serve of fruit as a small-to-medium apple. It doesn’t matter what type of fruit you eat if you eat it in the same portion as a small-to-medium apple. For example two small plums, one medium pear, one mandarin, one slice of melon or one handful of grapes would all equate to one serve of fruit. This leads to one reason why fruit has been given a bad name…..because it tastes so good, and if you like it, it is very difficult to only consume one serve of fruit. Therefore if you eat the entire bag of grapes or half a watermelon, YES you will be consuming a lot of carbohydrates and therefore energy that you may or may not burn off. Energy that we do not burn off is stored as fat.
Photo from @foodbites
So that leads me to the next point, which is how many serves of fruit per day, should we be eating. Well the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends two serves of fruit per day. However, with active children and adults fruit is a great way to help them meet their energy requirements. This is because fruit provides you with a lot more than just energy (unlike lollies or sports drink). Fruit provides you with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre and energy so it helps keep you healthy while fueling your sport and activities. The other amazing thing about fruit is that if you choose fruit that is in season it is often providing you with the nutrients your body needs at that time of year……have you ever thought about why citrus fruits, that are high in vitamin C, are in season in winter?
So when is the best time to include fruit in your daily diet?
The most common time to reach for a piece of fruit is morning tea, as it fills you up until lunch and gives you some energy to get through your day. In winter I highly recommend stewing your favourite fruit to help cure your sweet cravings with a natural source of sugar, while ensuring you hit your two serves per day.
In summary, fruit is not forbidden; it is a great snack that comes with its very own packaging making it portable, sustainable and the perfect emergency snack. There is no good and bad foods, it is just about eating healthy foods full of nutrients in the correct portions for you and your goals.