Importance of Fruit in the Diet
The importance of an active lifestyle where healthy eating plays a role has long been advocated by doctors. Although the many initiatives relating to healthy eating in the UK have had varying degrees of success, one that appears to have been particularly successful is the five-a-day model. The five-a-day model states that five pieces of fruit or vegetables a day are required constituents of a healthy diet. However, we were recently made aware that some individuals were not eating fruit because they thought that the sugar in fruit was unhealthy and leads to obesity.
Although we can understand the reasoning behind this, we have to maintain that sugar found in fruits is not equivalent to sugar found in sweets. A recent editorial by Dr David Ludwig in Journal of American Medical Association highlighted the many ways eating fruit contributes to a lower weight and lessens the risk of obesity.
In the editorial he explained how in addition to vitamins, fruits contain anti-oxidants and fibres. This means that they help keep individuals satiated for a longer period of time than sweets. In addition to that, fruits allow for healthy bacteria to thrive in the intestine.
These statements were further extended and corroborated by Dr Katz, who is the director of Yale University Prevention Research Centre. He stated that, as a rule of thumb, individuals would benefit the most from eating fruit of various colours as they contain different nutrients. In addition to that, he set out a guideline stating that fresh fruit should be a first priority, but where that was not possible, dried fruit was suitable. If neither of those were an option then sweetened dried fruit and juice were seen as good options so long as there are no additives.
We were not surprised by this, as it is commonly known that many juices tend to have the same level of sugar as fizzy drinks. However, fizzy drinks have other disadvantages that are beyond the scope of what we are discussing here. Our general rule is that if it is natural then it is probably good for you so long as you have a balanced mix of nutrients from a variety of food type sources.
Here is further reading on this interesting topic from a respected UK weight loss resource website. There is even a guide on how to integrate the different colour food into your diet.