Friday, March 13, 2015

Daily fruit, both unnecessary and unhealthy

As a fan of Tim Ferris, I recently purchased and have been reading the 4 Hour Body. Again, as a fan, I've taken his advice at face value and gone ahead and followed through with his suggestions. One such suggestion that I'll be focusing on is that fruit is not necessary in your diet and can even cause more problems (eg. Weight gain) than its worth.

For ages now, people ha e contended that fruit is necessary because of vitamins that you can't get elsewhere. This theory has recently been extended to include antioxidants as well. A trip to the grocerystore, or a quick Google search will reveal the vitamin issue to be flat out wrong. Three cups or spinach for example, has almost all the Vitamin A you could need, while broccoli makes up the small amount of missing Vitamin C. As for B complex, you can get them from a host of different foods, some of which include beans, mushrooms, seafood, and collard greens. It seems that the common scare tactics involving pirates with scurvy can be attributed to a misunderstanding of exactly how limited those people's diets actually were.

So how about antioxidants? Aren't fruit the king in that domain? Well yes... that is, specifically berries are the best source of antioxidants. According to Canadian Living, the next four best sources however are brocolli, garlic, green tea and tomato. I would add that while tomato is a fruit, it is one of the few juicy seed sacks that's allowed on the diet. That being said, the science is still not in regarding the benefit of antioxidants, and studies appear to have mixed results, as this page from Harvard Health explains "One study even showed that taking beta-carotene may actually increase the chances of developing lung cancer in smokers." All in all, the benefit of antioxidants seems mostly to be caused by media sensationalism.

So what's the main difference between fruit and vegetables? Well, as it turns out, vegetable is not even a classification that carries any scientific weight, so our preconceptions about food may already be up for grabs. Nevertheless, I suppose we can arbitrarily define vegetables as any plant food that is either a leaf, stalk, flower, or root. Although, I know even that definition is not particular enough, we will not get lost in technicalities. The difference is sugar. You can basically think of the shell of the fruit as being like a placenta, or an egg shell, with the flesh being an energy source for the new life in the center. Fructose the sugar commonly found in fruits gets stored as far with amazing efficiency. In fact, more efficient than any other sugar.

For the above reasons I've cut fruit and its juice from my diet completely. Not only does it have alternatives, but it can also make you fat. I suppose the idea that it is helpful comes from the double pronged fact that fruit have nutritional value, with the falsehood that we need a little bit of everything but in moderation.

As an alcohol enthusiast, this causes little problem. Most of my cocktails are classics, if I'm not drinking my spirits neat. On the other hand, when I do opt for cocktails with juice, it can be fit into my carefully calculated cheat days (I know what all you other hardcore health nuts and dieters are thinking, and to that I respond: read his book!) As a bartender it causes even less strife, because I honestly don't care what someone's tastes are. If anything, I'm more happy when people know what cocktails they like.

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