How often do you eat fruit?
Once a day? Twice a day?
Hold up… Do you even eat fruit?
Wait…Fruit has sugar… So you must avoid it if you want to improve your health…right?
Contrary to popular belief, sugar is one of the best nutrients you could consume. This is, of course, from natural sources like fruit – and in moderation.
Humans evolved off of fruit. As primal humans did lots of hunting, they relied on fruits for fuel. Grabbing them from trees for energy during their treks, fruits were very common snacks. When springs and summers were full with goodness and sweets, primitive humans would work hard to retrieve precious berries. Mark Sisson talks about this in his book the Primal Blueprint, fruits are what our body snacks on and uses as active fuel.
What’s happened? Why don’t we eat as much fruit anymore?
Carbs & Sugar Are Not The Enemy
As health is starting to gain more popularity among the population and obesity continues to rise we are slowly taking fruit out of our diet.
Why? Well, fruit has sugar… Which are carbs! Simple carbs! There’s no way I’m gonna start eating more sugar.
Look at this, as we are starting to blame sugar more and more for the rise in obesity, the obesity rate is still going up.
Incredible, we are always finding something to blame for why we struggle to lose weight.
What most dietitians won’t tell you is that losing weight and gaining weight comes down to the amount of energy you are taking in versus what you expend. Losing fat is a numbers game. It’s the amount of calories you consume and burn.
Why We Need Sugar
Back to the topic of fruit – it shouldn’t be avoided or blamed for the weight gain we are seeing. Sugar, glucose and fructose are our body’s main source of fuel. Even the most simple processes in our body require sugar and carbohydrates to function properly. The human brain, for example requires about 130 grams of sugar to cover its most basic energy needs.
Fructose is one of the most common sugars we consume. Fructose is found in syrup, agave nectar, high fructose corn syrup, fruit, and honey. The last two being the best sources.
The Benefits To Eating More Sugar (Fructose)
What’s good about fructose is that its easily absorbed into the bloodstream and used as energy to our cells almost immediately. Fructose is metabolized in the liver instead of the gut meaning it doesn’t need insulin to be pushed into the cells. This leads us to the conclusion that fructose will improve insulin sensitivity (study 1). For those of you who don’t know, insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that turns the carbohydrates you eat into glucose and forces them into the cells for direct use as metabolic fuel. So having proper insulin functioning is vital. Eating fructose has been shown to improve the rate at which your insulin functions.
Another benefit to eating more fructose is the profound impact it has on your Thyroid gland. Sugar is the primary fuel for the thyroid gland (study 2). Another fact, the thyroid gland is what controls the rate at which your body burns calories, it determines your metabolic rate (study 3). When you start to eat more sugars (like fructose since it works so well with the thyroid), the thyroid gland starts to produce more T4 thyroid hormone cells. When combined with enough glucose (other sugars such as the ones from potatoes – that are stored in the liver), your body will convert these T4 thyroid hormones into the active T3 form, which is responsible for improving energy output and metabolic rate (study 4).
“The liver provides about 70% of our active thyroid hormone, by converting thyroxine to T3, but it can provide this active hormone only when it has adequate glucose.” – Dr. Ray Peat
So its important to get that glucose, too. A great source of glucose are potatoes. Super high in vitamin C and good on glucose too. Potatoes should be a staple to your diet by now. 😉
Sugar works gangbusters for lowering your stress. Ensuring and your thyroid is up and rocking, your stress will diminish. The science shows this, no doubt, but adding in sugar from sources like fruit and honey has made a massive difference in my stress levels. I encourage you as well to try adding in more sugar to your diet (sweet potatoes, honey, fruits, namely fruit).
What about diabetes, blood sugar levels, and fatty liver disease?
These come only when fructose and sugars are not supported where they are metabolized. For example, a deficiency in choline (an awesome nutrient that improves cognition found in eggs) is linked with not being able to store and metabolize sugar (5,6). Also a lot of these negative health effects are largely linked with the consumption of polyunsaturated fatty-acids (study 7) – so avoid those, at all costs. Polyunsaturated Fatty-Acids or PUFA’s are found in sources like canola oil, sunflower oi, and safflower oil.
One thing to note, “bears coming out of hibernation reverse their full-blown diabetic state by eating honey, which is a rich sources of fructose” – Tim Berzins (Thyroid & Metabolism Expert, author of Amplified Metabolism).
Just something to think about. I know you’re not a bear, but the research is clear…
Sugar from natural sources is not the enemy.
Which Is Why You Should Eat More Fruit
Fruit is the best natural source of fructose there is known to man. Fructose is the best form of fuel for the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland controls the rate at which our body uses energy.
Eat more sugar, eat more fruit. Fruits are super high in certain nutrients that promote healthy hormonal functioning and reduce oxidative stress. For example, berries are loaded with antioxidants, antochyanins, and vitamin C. All of which are known for their stress-reducing effects (8, 9, 10).
As I’ve already discussed fruits high in vitamin C, and why you should consume more of them. I’ll give you a list of the best fruits and sources of fructose to eat to get your stress down, and improve your health.
Best Healthy Sources Of Fructose
This is a no-brainer as stated above since they are chock-full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and antocyachins. All of which are great for reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. What is inflammation? Internal stress to your body. Not too mention, berries are also loaded with good carbohydrates and sugars. Lots of fructose, 1 cup of berries contain 7 grams of ready-to-use sugars. Berries are also very low in calories which makes them a great food to stock up on if you’re trying to lose weight.
Incredibly high in fructose. As primal of a fruit as they are, these bad boys were eaten by cave man daily as snacks and fuel to ward off angry alligators, anacondas and other predators. Bananas are loaded with potassium, vitamin B-6, and vitamin C. They also have a good store of active sugar, with about 15 grams for the average banana.
These are my favorite. Not only have they been backed by research to help with inducing deep sleep (study 11), they are also super high in lots nutrients, one of which being fructose. Eating two before bed will ensure good brain feeding throughout the night and keep you asleep. Two Kiwi’s also provide about 175 mg’s of your daily vitamin C content, which as you know is imperative for reducing stress and gives a good amount of bio-available energy – having about 12 grams of sugar.
4. Orange Juice
Man, some fresh OJ is about one of the best drinks out there. A glass of squeezed OJ is chock-full of vitamin C, potassium, and also has a good amount of fructose. I like to drink 2-3 glasses a day when I can. If you like the act of peeling an orange, whole oranges provide the same benefits – and are less processed.
Well, this isn’t a fruit but it taste darn good and ensures good brain feeding into the night. It’s also been shown to help with sleep (study 12). Honey contains about a half and half ratio of fructose to glucose. This allows for both quick digestion of sugars and slower digestion to replace liver glycogen – which helps with sleep, keeping you asleep. When the brain is “fed” like this, the body stays calm and has a less chance of being interrupted during the night. So no more tossing and turning, or waking up to use the bathroom during the night. Honey is a great sources of fructose and healthy sugars that our body will use efficiently.
One thing to notice is that they are all from natural sources, high in nutrients.
I don’t think eating candy is going to lower your stress levels. In fact, high-fructose corn syrup and processed sugars are not what I am talking about here.
I am talking about eating more fruit. Fruits that provide lots of vitamins and minerals. Eat honey, something that can help you stay asleep at night (which will in turn lower your stress and improve your health profoundly).
Not going overboard and eating the recommended sources of sugar is what will allow your Thyroid gland to work well, and keep your stress levels low.
With that, are the 5 best sources of fructose that fit into a wholesome, stress-reducing diet that supports active chaps who enjoy hitting the gym or even just anyone trying to improve their health.
If you’re still questionable to adding more fruit into your diet because of the sugar content, good. It’s okay to be skeptical, I know I was! One thing to understand is that sugar is the best source of fuel for our body to use as energy, it improves metabolic health (the rate at which your body uses energy), and it actually has been shown to have some strong antioxidant properties – prepping the cells in the body for using the antioxidants you consume (13, 14). That is of course, coming from natural sources. You do not want to overdo it, proceed with caution and notice how your mood feels – do you feel less anxious? Are you sleeping better at night?
A Note On Controversy
Through the years of nutrition and the quest to finding the optimal diet for the human race, there is a lot of controversy over whether or not including carbohydrates into our diet is optimal. Mark Hyman, MD, of the award winning UltraMind Solution states that carbohydrates are one of the best sources of fuel for our cells. On the other hand, David Perlmutter, MD, of his New York Times Bestseller “Grain Brain”, states carbohydrates, and sugar in particular, are toxic to our system.
The importance of understanding what works for you by experimenting and trying different protocols, is ultimately what it comes down to. You may feel great with less carbohydrates in your diet. You may like the better sleep and mood improvements that come with adding in some sugar from natural sources like fruit.
Take the science, the studies, the research – and then make it your own.
One Last Thing
Thank you all for reading this, I truly hope you found it of good information. If you found this article useful and enjoyed it – please share it! Share the link with three friends who avoid sugar and carbohydrates.