When you quit sugar, it’s pretty much expected that you’ll keep the Coca-Cola and Mars Bars to a minimum. But what about fruit?
Don’t worry – despite our name, we definitely don’t want to cut out nutritious fresh fruit! At least, not for long. If you’re thinking of quitting sugar on our I Quit Sugar: 8-Week Program and still REALLY love a good banana, here’s what you need to know.
1. Can you eat fruit when you quit sugar?
Believe it or not… yes, you can!
We know, fruit has sugar in it, but whole fresh fruit also has plenty of fibre and nutrients to help slow down the sugar dumpage on your liver.
Our bodies are designed to metabolise the amount of fructose contained in 1–2 small pieces of fruit a day (i.e. around the recommended amount of sugar we should be eating). But if you’re also having other sources of added sugar, that’s when you might want to reconsider your fruit intake and up your veggies instead.
2. Why dried fruit and fruit juice is a no-no.
Fresh fruit contains a lot of fluid, which helps fill us up when ingested. But dried fruit has had all of the water removed, thus concentrating the sugars (and not in a good way).
1/2 a cup of fresh cranberries contains 2g of sugar. But one cup of dried cranberries contains a whopping 37g (about 9 teaspoons) of sugar. Eek!
Dried fruit also contains preservatives, including highly contested sulphites and may also contain polyunsaturated oils (like vegetable and sun flower oil) to stop the fruit from sticking together.
Plus, while our full-alarm signal is triggered after eating one or two apricots, it’s nearly impossible to stop after one or two dried ones. Why? Because high amounts of sugar mucks with our appetite mechanisms.
Fruit juice is a problem for similar reasons as dried fruit.
While smoothies are made by pureeing whole fruit and vegetables into a thick drink, juices involve extracting the juice only – tossing the nutrient-dense pulp.
Even juices that are veggie-based still contain a lot of sugar and, without the fibre to slow down its pathway to the liver, this sugar can send you liver into panic mode.
Don’t even get us started on fruit juice from the stores. A single cup of orange can have 8–10 teaspoons of sugar (that’s as much as a can of Coke!). No thank you.
Unfortunately, it makes zero difference whether your juice has been freshly squeezed in front of you, or comes out of a carton. That kind of fibre-less sugar dumpage is never going to be good for your liver.
3. The best low-fructose fruits.
We are supporters of all fruit. So long as it’s not dried or mashed into juice concentrate, whole fibre-packed fruit is always going to be a better alternative for you than highly processed snacks.
But if you’ve just recently quit sugar and you want to continue sticking to low-fructose fruit (to keep from getting back on that sugar train) these are good options to stick with:
Blueberries and raspberries. Grapefruit/lemons/limes.
Pear (with skin).
Coconut (although not coconut sugar).
4. The high-fructose fruits you might want to try and avoid.
We do not want to discourage you from eating fruit – after all our motto is to always Just Eat Real Food. But we recommend limiting the following handful of fruit wherever possible; only because of their high fructose to glucose ratio.
5. How we recommend eating fruit.
Always eat fruit in its whole form.
Eat fruit as part of a meal (with things like nuts, seeds, cheese and avocado).
If you have fruit as a snack, add fat and protein (try our ‘Salted Caramel’ Haloumi + Apple to see what we mean).
Opt for low-fructose fruit whenever you can.
Stick to 1–2 pieces of fruit a day.
6. Can you eat fruit on the 8-Week Program?
While on the 8-Week Program, we recommend cutting out ALL sugar (including all types of fruit) for four weeks. Why? Because it gives your body a chance to break the sugar addiction completely and allows your body to recalibrate.
After the middle four weeks of the Program are up, we encourage you to reintroduce some low-fructose fruit and see how your body handles it. After all, the Program is a gentle experiment on your body and mind.