Fruit, Friend or Foe


Life is full of ironies. Some are so peculiar as to make reasonable thinking people scratch their heads in bewilderment. Over the last 40 years during which I have been studying the principles of good health there is one irony that is so bizarre it has made me scratch my head almost to the point of bleeding.

How in the name of all that is life giving could the one food on the planet that has the greatest potential for good over any other in the human diet, have developed such a totally unjustified, inaccurate reputation? All too frequently there are those who manage to be educated far beyond their intelligence and so they wind up knowing a whole lot about what isn't so. Such is the case with so called "authorities" like the authors of The Atkins Diet, The Zone, The South Beach Diet, and the pH Diet, who declare that fruit is detrimental in the diet and should be either eaten very sparingly or avoided altogether. They could not be more mistaken if they declared that cigarette smoking prevents cancer and extends longevity.

I think we tend to lose sight of the primary purpose of eating. We are, first and foremost, living beings, and we must eat food in order to remain alive. And in an act of pure genius, the Grand Intelligence of life has gifted us with taste buds to make the eating experience enticing and enjoyable, as well as life-giving. Notwithstanding the pure pleasure we receive from enjoying a delicious meal of savory food, to stay alive and thrive healthfully, we must eat in order to obtain the two vital elements that perpetuate life: nutrients and energy.

All the vitamins, minerals, amino acids for protein, fatty acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, in fact, every substance or compound known to support and promote life, are resplendent in fruit. And if eaten correctly (which I will explain shortly), fruit will provide your body with everything it needs to live healthfully. The true test of the worthiness of any food is the energy value for the body, measured against the energy required for it to be digested and metabolized. And it is in this test that the true superiority and magnificence of fruit shines most brightly. We are, after all, living energy systems. Without energy, what would we be? We wouldn't be able to move, breathe, swallow, digest food, stand up or sit down, walk, talk, blink our eyes, nothing! Since the brain oversees all activities of the body, and the energy we need to fuel these activities, and literally trillions more, is derived from the food we eat, we owe it to ourselves to eat those foods that are not only a good source of energy, but also the foods from which energy can be most efficiently extracted and utilized.

The human brain can burn one thing and one thing only for fuel: sugar in the form of glucose. It cannot burn protein directly, it cannot burn fat directly, and it cannot burn starch directly. Absolutely everything that is eaten has to ultimately be turned to glucose first before it can be used by the brain. Guess what? The sugar component in fruit (fructose) turns to glucose faster and with greater ease than anything else in the human diet other than mother's milk. When eaten correctly it can be in the bloodstream as utilizable energy for the brain in less than one hour. Everything else takes four or five times that long.

The key of course is that fruit must be eaten correctly or all of its many benefits are lost. Fruit is the one food in the human diet that requires no digestion in the stomach. It passes through the stomach relatively quickly and is broken down in the intestines where its nutrients and energy is extracted. This unique feature means that in order for fruit to be properly broken down and utilized effectively, it must be eaten alone and on an empty stomach; not with other foods or immediately following other foods. The only way to stop it on its journey through the stomach is if there is already food in the stomach or if the fruit is eaten along with food that must stay in the stomach. When this happens and fruit comes into contact with digestive juices, it spoils and turns to acid. All the positives associated with eating fruit correctly are lost and turned into negatives. It causes starches to ferment and proteins to putrefy, which in turn contributes to so many of the digestive disorders and misconceptions about fruit that are so prevalent.

Here's what to do: simply try for a week or two eating fruit alone and on an empty stomach. Once you eat other foods wait at least three hours before eating fruit again. Have only unpasteurized fruit juice such as fresh squeezed orange juice. Pasteurization destroys everything of value and renders the juice worthless and harmful. Do this and you will see for yourself what a difference it will make in how you feel. When eaten correctly, alone on an empty stomach, fruit's benefits are unmatched. When eaten incorrectly fruit is problematic, to say the least. The ill informed have no understanding of this whatsoever, which is the source of fruit's bad reputation.

Throughout the world there are thousands of different varieties of fruit. The very first and most important line of defense that we humans have to protect ourselves against anything harmful entering our bodies is our senses. Is fruit not a veritable celebration for the senses? If something looks repulsive, would you be inclined to eat it? If something smells foul, would you be tempted to put it in your mouth? If something tastes nasty, would you want to chew it up and swallow it? Fruit is the exact opposite of this. It is inviting in every way. Is there anything quite as aromatic and enticing as the sweet scent of a fully ripe peach? Can anything surpass the luscious flavor of a fresh-cut slice of watermelon on a hot day? And, of course, fruit is a feast for the eyes. Is there anywhere to be found an artist's palate that can rival the spectacular circus of colors that a table laden with a wide variety of fruit can display?

Fruit looks, smells, and tastes as good as anything that can be put into the body. Does it make sense to you that the Grand Creator would blanket the Earth with every beautifully colored, pleasantly smelling, and delectabletasting fruit imaginable only to play a monstrous trick on us? To intentionally entice us with fruit so that we will eat it and become sick? Only someone completely devoid of commonsense and logic would suggest such an utterly illogical, absurd, and preposterous notion as that. The reason why fruit is supremely pleasing to our senses is to assure us that it is a food perfectly suited for the human diet.And when correctly eaten, it will do more good than any other food you can eat.