Fruit is the most perfect food both for athletes and non-athletes. Mother nature did a great job to package an incredible amount of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, sweetness, sourness, juiciness and much more in one delicious package.
But unfortunately, there is a phobia of eating fruit out there. The misconception is that fruits will make you fat, diabetic, and sick. Maybe you are one of the people who are not very sure about eating fruit? People worry that fructose (sugar that is in fruit) will elevate the blood sugar and triglycerides and maybe even cause the liver to function abnormally.
Personally, I eat A LOT of fruit. My performance, body composition, energy levels, well-being and blood values are extraordinary.
A short background story on my huge fruit intake. How did that happen? I used to be a meat/chicken eater during my bodybuilding times back in time. Six meals a day, each one had some animal products. Not too much fruits. Fruits is fattening, right? Or so we thought…
I became vegan a few years ago because I decided to make an experiment to see if I can improve all my blood values during a 3-month vegan eating, like it was stated everywhere where you read about the benefits of plant-based diet. I think that deep inside, maybe I wanted to prove them wrong. I ate plant-based for 3 months, and believe it or not, ALL my blood values and numbers improved (see before and after), to my surprise. What was even more surprising was how great I was feeling. I could train and play tennis even more intensely than I normally do. I was recovering really fast, I slept well and just generally, it felt like everything was functioning really well in my body and I remained plant-based ever since. Without hesitation or regrets. I just felt so great, it wouldn’t make sense to go back.
My next experiment was to try to eat only living (raw, uncooked, unprocessed) foods, for one month. I was expecting this to be a horrible experience because I found it extremely hard. What am I going to eat? But I thought that one month of this could be doable. I love challenges. And yet again, to my big surprise, after I figured out the logistic of my food preparation, I was feeling better than ever.
My recovery is amazing. My well-being and energy levels are hard to describe with words. I feel and look younger. In my latest experiment that is now being in process, I have not had ONE day off (aka rest day) in over 10 weeks now. I walk/jog with Zuzi (my chocolate Labrador) every morning for one hour. I workout in the gym EVERY day for 90 minutes (36-48 sets), sometimes in the evening I go for another walk, and half of the days I also play tennis. Just trying to push my limits and comfort zones and see how far I can go. Eating everything raw makes miracles with my recovery.
Needless to say, now I really love this lifestyle.
The fruits are the staples of my nutrition. Sometimes I makes smoothies, sometimes I juice, most often times I eat them just as they are, raw, crunchy, from the tree. Well, from the farmers market or Whole Foods Market. No or minimal processing (if cutting in pieces or shredding counts as processing). I save so much time with food preparation. I don’t need to wash as many dishes. My food is easily portable, so I have something always with me and never get hungry.
But most of all, I get beautifully nourished.
During this time of eating raw foods, I got very lean, kept (and actually built more) all my muscle mass, feel energetic and strong, I am moving faster on the tennis court, and recovering super fast. No bodily aches and injuries.
My personal observation is that I have to keep my fat intake low. Eating all the fruits and carbohydrates (about 600–700 grams a day) works perfectly for me when I keep my fat intake at around 10% of total calories. Which is around 35–40 grams for me. Once I eat more fat, my digestion doesn’t work the same great and I start gaining weight/fat. All my blood values are still great, and I only see amazing benefits from eating fruit in large amounts.
I do eat also all kinds of vegetables as much as I wish, and some sprouted lentils and legumes. But because people generally don’t worry about vegetables (they just don’t like them and don’t eat them) and they worry about sweet fruits, that’s why I need to share the positive fruit experience with all my people and athletes.
Give it a try and see how your performance and well-being improves. Once your tastebuds adjust to this simple lifestyle, I bet you will love it more than anything else. And if you would like to read more about the raw lifestyle and its benefits, get Dr. Douglas Graham’s book on Amazon.
Even if you are a “regular” (not vegan, not plant-based, just “normal”) tennis player or athlete, you will also benefit from eating fruit and vegetables. More fruits and vegetables. It is never enough, for the “normal” people. Set a goal for yourself, have an apple or banana instead of the muffin or donut, or another quick “energy pick-up” food item. See how much better you will feel. Give it a try and leave a comment below (or an email) and let me know the results.
Eating Fruit: How Much is Too Much?
There is a lot of research out there that eating fruits is definitely not dangerous, rather the opposite, it is very beneficial to your health and sport performance. In this short 3-minute video by Dr. Michael Greger, read the fascinating results and summary of a few studies about eating fruit.
Here is a transcript of Dr. Greger’s video, in case you don’t have time to watch it:
Transcript: How Much Fruit is Too Much?
Previously, I explored how adding berries to our meals can actually blunt the detrimental effects high glycemic foods, but how many berries? The purpose was to determine the minimum level of blueberry consumption at which a consumer may realistically expect to receive antioxidant benefits after eating blueberries with a sugary breakfast cereal. If we eat a bowl of corn flakes with no berries, within two hours, so many free radicals are created it puts us into oxidative debt. The antioxidant power of our bloodstream drops below where we started from before breakfast as the antioxidants in our bodies get used up. And a quarter cup of blueberries didn’t seem to help much. But a half cup of blueberries did.
What about fruit for diabetics? Most guidelines recommend eating a diet with a high intake of fiber-rich food including fruit, because they’re so healthy—antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, improve artery function and reduce cancer risk, however some health professionals have concerns that the sugar content of fruit and therefore recommend restricting the fruit intake. OK, let’s put it to the test. Diabetics were randomized into two groups, one told to eat at least two pieces of fruit a day, and the other told at most, two fruits a day. The reduce fruit group reduced their fruit. It had however no effect on the control of their diabetes or weight, and so the intake of fruit should not be restricted in patients with type 2 diabetes.
An emerging literature has shown that low-dose fructose may actually benefit blood sugar control. So having a piece of fruit with each meal would be expected to lower, not raise the blood sugar response. The threshold for toxicity of fructose may be around 50 grams. The problem is that’s the current average adult fructose consumption. So the levels of half of all adults are likely above the threshold for fructose toxicity, and adolescents currently average 75.
Is that limit for added sugars or for all fructose? If we don’t want more than 50 and there’s about 10 in a piece of fruit, should we not eat more than 5 fruit a day? Quoting from the Harvard Health Letter, the nutritional problems of fructose and sugar come when they are added to foods. Fruit, on the other hand, is beneficial in almost any amount. What do they mean almost? Can we eat 10 fruit a day? How about twenty fruit a day? It’s actually been put to the test.
Seventeen people were made to eat 20 servings a day of fruit. Despite the extraordinarily high fructose content of this diet, presumably about 200 g/d—8 cans of soda worth, the investigators reported no adverse effects (and possible benefit actually) for body weight, blood pressure, and insulin and lipid levels after three to six months. More recently, Jenkins and colleagues put people on about a 20 servings of fruit a day diet for a few weeks and no adverse effects on weight or blood pressure or triglycerides and an astounding 38 point drop in LDL cholesterol.
There was one side effect, though. Given the 44 servings of vegetables they had on top of all that fruit, they recorded the largest bowl movements apparently ever documented in a dietary intervention.
I especially like the last sentence :-)
Feel great, perform better, get leaner and look younger by eating fruit.
More fruit, that is.
A lot of fruit!