Is Fruit Something You Should Avoid?

My mother-in-law has type 2 diabetes, and she’s mentioned more than once how much she loves fruit but how she can’t eat a lot of it—especially bananas—because of the sugar content.

This may be conventional wisdom, because sugar=bad. And, yes, some studies have showed some correlation between fruit consumption and type 2 diabetes (although the researchers have speculated that’s because some previous studies didn’t distinguish between fresh fruit and fruit juice, which is an entirely different beast).

However, a recent study that involved half a million Chinese subjects tells a slightly different story (you can read the whole study here, if you’re so inclined).

Basically, the researchers behind this study concluded that a higher intake of fresh fruit was possibly good for preventing diabetes, and that discouraging its consumption for folks who already have type 2 diabetes was not, in fact, a good idea.

Woot-woot! Fresh fruit is delicious and simple, and if it’s good for you, too, what’s to lose? (Of course you should always check with your doctor or a registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.)

Remember: This study is talking about fresh fruit. That means fruit juices, dried fruits, and canned fruits, specifically those in light or heavy syrup (re: sugar!) do not have anything to do with this study and are not the ones that are beneficial.

Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh fruit

Look local

We’re in berry season where I live in North Carolina, so that means local strawberries are here, and so are raspberries and black raspberries, and soon to follow will be blueberries and blackberries. I can eat fresh, local berries by the handful, let me tell you. They taste nothing like what you get at the store, and will probably remind you of eating raspberries straight off the bush at your grandmother’s house when you were a kid (or maybe that’s just me?)

Replace snacks with fruit

Every time, if possible. Instead of reaching for a granola bar during your afternoon slump, try a serving of fresh fruit, maybe accompanied by some nuts, if you need a little more oomph. If your stomach rumbles before bed, try fruit. If you just want something to chew on, you guessed it, try fruit.

Replace dessert with fruit

I don’t know about you, but I often have the urge for something sweet after I eat something savory, and fruit can do the trick. I know, I know, it’s not a chocolate bar, it’s not a piece of cake, but it’s also tasty and you can grow accustomed to finishing dinner with a slice of melon or a pear if you give it enough time.

Try replacing some of the food on your plate with fruit

Instead of having, say, pancakes, bacon, and home fries, try pancakes, bacon, and fruit. Instead of having a salad topped with chicken and cheese, try chicken and berries (fruit on salads is good, I promise). Look for ways to sneak it in, and you’ll be eating more fresh fruit in no time.

If you’ve been missing fresh fruit in your life, maybe it's time to start enjoying it again.

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