When people see what I eat, namely, the quantity of fruit that I consume, they often question whether I am getting too much sugar in my diet. For many this is also their main concern regarding transitioning to a raw vegan diet. Fruits, after all, are the main bulk of calories for most raw vegans.
Unfortunately, as high fat low carb diets are taking over the wellness scene, sugar has become the scapegoat and as a consequence, fruit too has been demonized because of it’s presumably high sugar content.
Let’s stop here for a moment and take a look at what’s actually going on inside an average fruit.
Sugar in fruit
Most fruits contain, on average, 90% water, plenty of fiber and a small % of fat and protein (exception to this rule would be avocados and durian and a few others with a higher fat content). Logically then, the quantity of sugar in fruit is not actually that high. We only taste fruit as sweet because our taste buds are programmed to detect simple sugars, as that’s the ideal and primary source of fuel for our cells. That should be a screaming sign that we have evolved to consume simple sugars as our main source of energy. A peace of bread on the other hand might have much more sugar molecules after broken down to its simplest form, but we do not taste it as sweet, unless we keep it in our mouths for long enough to start the breakdown. In fact, plain white bread or pasta alone does not actually taste very appealing, or much like anything for that matter.
The superfood of diabetics and athletes
Another argument used against fruit is that containing simple sugars, fruit elevates blood sugar levels, leading to diabetes and weight gain.
There are three types of simple sugars: glucose, fructose and galactose (in mother’s milk). The sugar in fruits is fructose, which makes all the difference compared to other simple sugars. On the other hand, the sugars in complex carbohydrates such as bread, rice and pasta are broken down into glucose during digestion. The key difference between glucose and fructose is that fructose enters the cells via diffusion and does not need insulin to carry it to the cell. This is great news for diabetics, whose problem with sugar relates either to their pancreas’s inability to produce insulin, or their cells’ inability to react to it to neutralize blood sugar fast enough.
Even for those of us without diabetes, fruits are a great source of fuel that actually help us maintain stable blood sugar levels. I can say from personal experience that after being on the raw vegan diet for 1,5 years, I can easily eat 1 kg of sweet grapes without feeling unstable, while just eating one cookie or a portion of rice will make me feel the sugar buzz from all the glucose released into my blood. Precisely because fructose can enter the cells without extra work from the pancreas, and because the sugar is already in its simplest form, digesting fruit requires very little energy from the body and actually leaves you with more energy, instead of robbing you from it. (Compare to eating a meal heavy with pasta, meat or fat and having to take a nap afterwards!)
Precisely because of this, fruit is known as the miracle food for athletes. It’s the perfect source of fuel in its rich nutrition content and efficient digestion.
Fruit and Candida
Candida albicans is a fungus that is a natural inhabitant of the human body. It is actually beneficial to us as it helps to regulate blood sugar levels by consuming the excess simple sugars. The only time that it becomes an issue is when we experience candida overgrowth. This however, is a natural consequence of having constantly elevated blood sugar levels and toxic, congested lymphatic system. This, as we have seen, is a result of eating processed sugar and complex carbohydrates along with a predominantly acid forming diet. Not only do fruits NOT elevate your blood sugar, they are also vital in helping the body eliminate Candida because they are high in antioxidant and astringent properties. These properties clean the lymphatic congestion, where the fungus lives, out of the tissues.
The internet is full of all kinds of experts advocating for an “anti-candida” diet, which they have probably never proved successful through their personal experience. As a rule, these diets consist of eliminating all sugar consumption, including fruit from your diet, and while this might yield some results in the short run, it will not eliminate the problem and is not sustainable as a lifestyle. As we have seen, you body runs on simple sugars, and will become fatigued if you deprive it from all its natural fuel. Usually once you end the diet, the problem returns. Candida overgrowth can lead to increased cravings for sugar and complex carbohydrates, but curiously, this never includes cravings for fresh fruit (hint: because fruit does not feed candida).
I personally suffered from candida overgrowth for years, which only got propagated by the zero-carb “anti-candida” diet. During the first month of my raw food journey, I went through some aggressive cleansing which also eliminated the candida for good.
The solution is to detoxify your body and get rid of the toxic congestion, to eliminate complex carbohydrates from your diet, and to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember, fruit does not spike your blood sugar levels!
Does sugar feed cancer?
Research has found that cancer cells consume sugar, and as a result many patients are advised to not consume any sugars, even fruit, in an attempt to control cancer growth. However, the problem with this logic is that ALL cells consume sugar, a fact that naturopathic medicine understands very well. It’s the main fuel for the cells, so not consuming any sugar will simply starve all the cells from vital energy, which is needed to eliminate waste and mutated cells for the benefit of healing. The key again, is to favor fruit over complex carbohydrates or processed sugar.
Fruits flush the body with hydrating high quality water, vitamins and antioxidants, which are essential for revitalizing the cells. They are also highly astringent which helps clean out the body from mucus and acids, which propagate cancer growth. The world renowned healer and naturopath, Dr Robert Morse heals people from advanced cancer using prolonged grape fasts and herbs, and has accumulated thousands of testimonials over the decades that attest to his success. The key is to understand what causes cancer in the first place, and many successful naturopathic doctors agree that it is the ACIDS which cause cells to mutate.
What’s fueling your body?
Currently there is a hype around high fat and high protein diets especially among body builders and people who are after weight loss. In order for you body to use fat as an energy source it has to first convert it to sugar. When your blood glucose levels drop, your liver converts stored fat (glycogen) into glucose again, and this exactly what low carb diets are capitalizing on. However, if our glycogen reserves are depleted, it will convert other fats and even stored amino acids into glucose.
While high protein diets might achieve you rapid loss of fat, this comes at a high price. Proteins are acid forming to the body and it takes a lot of energy from your body to convert this into fuels. When the body is deprived of sugars, it will use stored fat or even break down its own tissues for energy, which leads to muscle, liver, pancreatic and kidney damage.
Transforming fats and amino acids into glucose is a highly energy consuming process and will not yield sufficient energy for physical activity (such as body building) while maintaining body functions and doing necessary repair and healing work. Over time, forcing your body to do this will always lead to organ damage.
What if “fruit does not suit you”?
Many people believe that our bodies are so unique that each person might need to consume entirely different types of foods, ranging from high fats and meats to raw vegan fruitarian. So based on this belief, they then go on to state things like “fruit does not suit my body” or “I cannot handle raw foods well, I do better on meats and grains”.
However, we as primates are meant to be consuming diets high in fruits and if you cannot handle them, this means that your body is probably highly inflamed and toxic. Because of this, any number of days on a high fruit diet might trigger a cascade of detox symptoms that can range from barely noticeable to highly uncomfortable to even extreme. Even eating a single citrus fruit might then cause you to feel irritation as the bowel walls are already highly inflamed, or you might get bloating and acid reflux due to imbalanced and unnatural stomach pH levels. To visualize this better, imagine having a painful sore in your mouth and eating pineapple! Of course it will hurt, but this does not mean that pineapple is bad for you.
The discomfort does not mean that you personally thrive better on cooked, high fat or high protein foods. It might feel that way because of your body’s immediate reaction to fruit, but once you start cleaning out your GI track and allow your body to heal the inflammation within, you will know the difference for yourself. You will come to know the true meaning of the word THRIVE.
Here are a few resources for those of you interested in healing naturally:
- Gerson’s therapy – Juice feasting & Enemas
- Dr Robert Morse – Raw Foods & Herbs
- Loren Lockman – Raw Foods & Water Fasting
- The China Study – Plant Based Diet for Cancer
- Arnold Ehret – The Mucusless Diet
- Chris Beats Cancer – High Raw & Vegan Diet