Column #35 April 8, 2016
Today’s common mantra is that fruit and vegetables are the healthiest foods you can eat. They are considered equals. Should parents send children to school with only fruit for breakfast, then encourage them to eat more at lunch, and again for dinner?
The answer lies in food chemistry. Is fruit nutrient dense and diverse, low glycemic, with perfectly balanced essential fats? A search for the healthiest fruits found the following suggestions from numerous “wellness” sites. The list of best choices centered around these eight fruits:
Nutritiondata.com compiles government data on nearly all foods and has a useful “ND Rating.” This nutritional rating scores foods on a zero to five (five is best) scale based on FDA recommendations for a healthy diet. Their proprietary ND Rating formula quantifies nutrient density (nutrients per calorie), the number of different essential nutrients, the relative importance of the nutrients, and the amount of sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat frequently overconsumed.
Nutritiondata.com also provides Glycemic Loads, Omega-6 to Omega-3 (EFA) balances, and percent of sugar which, when combined with the ND Rating, give an excellent measure to compare the nutritional value of various foods. The data is for 100 gram (3.53 ounce) samples.
Compare them to these vegetables.
The best fruit doesn’t measure up to vegetables. The ND Rating for fruit is only 67% of vegetables which indicates serious nutritional deficiencies in minerals and vitamins. Most fruit is higher in Omega-6 than Omega-3, just the opposite of vegetables. Fruit has a sightly higher Glycemic Load but a much higher percent of sugar.
The deficiencies of nutrients, protein, and fat in fruit can cause muscle atrophy and other body malfunctions. Sugar provides quick energy that soon induces hunger. Fat energy is released slowly, producing satiety. A fruit diet usually causes dullness to hair, skin, and nails and, because of the sugar content, causes the pancreas to work harder.
Steve Jobs liked fruit diets which overworked his pancreas. Cancer thrives on high sugar diets with EFA balances exceeding 2.5:1. The 40 fruits I analyzed averaged 12.8% sugar with a 5.65:1 EFA ratio. No wonder Jobs died of pancreatic cancer! While filming the Steve Jobs movie, Ahton Kutcher followed Job’s all fruit diet. Soon afterwards he was hospitalized for pancreas problems.
Bottom line: a diet of only fruit is not healthy. A healthy diet includes vegetables, grass-fed and Omega-3 meats and wild-caught seafood. The meats and their fats are easily digested, nutrient dense and diverse, zero glycemic with perfectly balanced essential fats. Meats trump vegetables and fruit!
To your health.
Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.
For additional reading:
What's the danger of an all-fruit diet? Note that the article ends saying “The government recommends eating 1 to 2 cups of it a day.” The insanity marches on and who is to question it?
https://nutritiondata.self.com/ provides government data on food nutrients.