The U.S. government urges Americans to eat more fruits because they help you lose weight and reduce your risk of many diseases. However, "FoodReview" magazine, a U.S. Department of Agriculture publication, reports that Americans' fruit consumption is based too much on refined fruits, like apple juice and orange juice, and not enough on fresh fruit. Refined fruits are bad for any dieter who has problems with insulin and trigylcerides, and they lack the fiber, minerals and vitamins to help dieters who aren't getting enough from other foods.
The USDA's Food Guide Pyramid recommends eating 2 to 4 servings of fruits daily, but Americans eat only 1.5 servings daily, according to "FoodReview." About 20 percent of the fruit Americans eat is orange juice, and about 50 percent is orange juice, apple juice, apples, bananas, grapes and watermelon. Americans should eat more berries, citrus fruits, kiwifruit and melons, recommends Linda Scott Kantor, a USDA agricultural economist.
The right fruits and other unrefined carbohydrates can help reduce your risk of colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and several obesity-related diseases, according to the book "Essentials for Health and Wellness." The wrong fruits and other refined carbohydrates can increase your risk of heart disease by increasing the amount of insulin and triglycerides in your blood, nutritionist Robert Pritikin adds in his book "The New Pritikin Program."
Fresh, unrefined fruits are "robbed of much of their natural fiber and many of their nutrients" when they are refined, Pritikin explains. Fruits with a lot of fiber lower triglyceride levels; fruits lacking fiber raise triglycerides. Refined fruits also provide you far less energy than unrefined fruits, and that can impair your daily activity. Fiber is also very filling, so eating an orange can prevent you from eating too much, while a refined fruit drained of fiber might not satiate your appetite.
The book "Nutripoints: A New Guide to Simple, Healthy Eating" assigns foods a score that shows how healthy they are. Foods with more fiber, minerals, protein and vitamins get more points. Foods with large amounts of alcohol, caffeine, calories, cholesterol, total fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar get fewer points. Most fresh fruits have high scores. Fruit cocktails with syrup, peaches and pears in syrup, "all flavors" of jams and jellies, coconuts, olives and several fruit drinks are all ranked as "fruits" with scores so low they are "not recommended."
Low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet have a more negative view of fruits than the diets recommended by the U.S. government and health-related organizations. These diets are based on the theory that people become fat by eating foods that rapidly increase their blood sugar levels. These low-carb diets frown on several such fruits, including bananas, pineapples and watermelons.
Always consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet, or beginning any new diet, supplement or exercise regimen.
- FoodReview: Many Americans Are Not Meeting Food Guide Pyramid Dietary Recommendations
- "Nutripoints: A New Guide To Simple, Healthy Eating"; Dr. Roy Vartabedian and Kathy Matthews; 1991
- "Essentials for Health and Wellness"; Gordon Edlin, Eric Golanty, Kelli McCormack Brown; 2000
- "The New Pritikin Program"; Robert Pritikin; 1990
- "The South Beach Diet"; Dr. Arthur Agatston; 2003
- pineapple image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.