Today’s post is an illustration of three important concepts.
1. Science can be confusing.
2. Numbers don’t always tell the truth.
3. Context matters.
Last week, we saw an article on the Yahoo! contributor network that seemed – upon reading the first paragraph, at least – right up our alley. However, upon probing deeper into the logic (and the numbers), the conclusion proved so ludicrous, we thought maybe we’d accidentally huffed some paint.
Or, at the very least, the author had.
Fruit = Nature’s Soda, Dontcha Know
Here is an excerpt from the article, written by a PhD(!) and scientist(!!) from Tufts University(!!!). (Read the full article here.)
“Consumption of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is not good for health. But, I’d like to add a bit of perspective: the main sugar found in fruit is fructose! …
One 20 oz. soda contains 240 calories and 65 grams of sugar. All of this sugar comes from HFCS, which is 55% fructose. To determine the amount of fructose in soda, we multiply 65 g by 0.55, to obtain 35.75 grams of fructose.
How much fructose is contained within fruit? When normalized to the same amount of calories as a 20 oz. soda, bananas contain 16.4 g of fructose; strawberries, 20.1 g; cherries, 20.8 g; blueberries, 21.2 g; oranges (navels), 21.6 g; peaches, 24.0 g; raisins, 24.0 g; pears 27.4 g; grapes, 28.6 g; apples, 32.0 g…
The amount of fructose found in fruit isn’t too far away from the amount found in calorie-matched soda.”
Now, if Melissa’s Mom read this article (and she probably did, because she considers Yahoo! a pretty respectable source of information), she’d probably think, “I had no idea that fruit contained as much fructose as soda.” And she’d conclude one of two things: (a) fruit is not as healthy as I thought it was, or (b) soda isn’t as unhealthy as I thought it was. And then Melissa’s Mom would either stop eating fruit because of all the sugar, or go back to drinking Pepsi, because drinking HFCS is practically the same as eating an apple.
This makes us mad. Because it’s stuff like this that makes all of our Moms so confused about what to eat. And it’s a shame when credible PhD scientists don’t present their information in a way that’s useful, practical and relevant for our Moms. (And our Dads. And our co-workers, and best friends, and grandparents.)
Let’s Do the Math
Let’s dig a little deeper into the logic our PhD used to arrive at his conclusions that “fruit isn’t that far off from soda.”
First, won’t debate the amount of fructose in a 20 oz. soda. Nutritiondata.com confirms that a 20 oz. Pepsi (Mom’s soda of choice) contains 68 grams of total sugar – close enough to the reported 65 grams for our purposes. The calculation as to of the amount of HFCS is also correct.
The wheels start to come off the bus in next paragraph. Specifically, in this sentence: “When normalized to the same amount of calories as a 20 oz. soda…” Here’s where context matters.
A 20 oz. soda is a perfectly reasonable single serving size for most people. It’s smaller than the “medium” sized soft drink at McDonalds, and 20 oz. bottles of Pepsi are sold by the case at big box warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. Our point is, it’s not at all unusual for someone to drink an entire 20 oz. soda in one sitting.
When was the last time you saw someone eat FIVE BANANAS all at once?
They key to this hot, hot mess of a comparison is that the author “normalized” a person’s fruit intake to the same amount of calories (240) as a 20 oz. soda. We postulate that there is nothing normal about eating that much fruit.
You want math? We’ve got math. Here’s what your fruit consumption would look like if you “normalized” your eating habits to compete with a 20 oz. soda.
Bananas: 1 medium banana has 105 calories, and 7.1 grams of fructose. You’d have to eat 2-1/4 bananas to get to 240 calories, but more importantly, you’d have to eat 5 bananas to get the same dose of fructose as a 20 oz. soda.
Strawberries: 1 cup of strawberries has 49 calories, and 4.1 grams of fructose. You’d have to eat almost 5 cups of strawberries to get to 240 calories, but more importantly, you’d have to eat nearly 9 cups of strawberries to get the same dose of fructose as a 20 oz. soda.
Cherries: 1 cherry has 5 calories, and 0.4 grams of fructose. You would have to eat 48 cherries to get to 240 calories, but more importantly, you’d have to eat 89 cherries to get the same dose of fructose as a 20 oz. soda.
Apples: 1 medium apple has 95 calories, and 12.6 grams of fructose. You would have to eat 2-1/2 apples to get to 240 calories, but more importantly, you’d have to eat almost 3 apples to get the same dose of fructose as a 20 oz. soda.
Must we continue? The original argument states that when you “normalize” the data so you’re comparing apples to apples (pun intended), you’re getting just a smidge more fructose from your 20 oz. soda as you are from your fruit. But in this case, the data has been, how do you say… massaged. And numbers don’t always tell the truth if you remove reasonable context. Which is why our Moms can be so easily confused, and why myths like “High fructose corn syrup is a healthy, all-natural choice” persist.
Can eating too much fruit contribute to metabolic issues? Yes, especially if you’re already insulin resistant, metabolically deranged and/or obese. But the overall comparison between fruit and soda falls down on two points. First, as demonstrated above, you’d have to eat an awful lot of fruit to measure up to the 20 oz. soda mentioned in this comparison. Second, and more importantly, fruit isn’t just fructose. It’s also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber – things that make you healthier. You can’t say the same for soda, which contain fructose + absolutely nothing that contributes to your health. And we assure you, eating a few servings of fruit a day in the context of an otherwise healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle (as we advocate) isn’t going to create metabolic dysfunction in anyone.
So go ahead and have an apple a day. Or a cup of strawberries. Or a banana. As long as you’re not washing it down with a 20 oz. Pepsi, it’s 100.0% good. (And we’ve got the numbers to back that up.)
All figures calculated from www.nutritiondata.com. Serving sizes as stated, fructose calculation = (total sucrose/2) + total fructose.
Subscribe to the Whole9 Newsletter
Fill out the form below to stay updated about Whole9 articles, discounts and events.
Tom Denham - Whole9 EE says
Scientifically, I don’t have a problem with the yahoo author comparing the fructose content of fruit to pepsi based on a calorie vs. calorie level. That seems fair game to me. However, it IS hugely misleading not to highlight how much fruit one needs to eat to get that number of calories. Kudos for pointing it out.
If I ate 5 bananas OR 9 cups of strawberries I would puke, guaranteed.
Melissa @ Whole9 says
Ken, the issue I have with the comparison is that drinking liquid sugar/calories is waaaay easier than chewing, swallowing and digesting real food. You could polish off that 20 oz. soda in a minute flat, but it would take far more effort to eat 5 cups of calorically-equal strawberries. (It’s the same issue we have with looking exclusively at the GI of certain foods. Yes, watermelon is extremely high on the glycemic index. But the glycemic load/impact of eating a normal-sized portion is quite low.)
I like fruit, but can you imagine de-pitting 90 cherries?
Emily Rose says
Maybe I’m missing something, but the data in that article actually seems even MORE misrepresented than you’ve explored:
“…65 grams of sugar. All of this sugar comes from HFCS, which is 55% fructose.”
That means that each 20 oz. serving of soda actually contains almost twice as much sugar as the amounts used in comparison to fruit (even though the remaining sugar isn’t fructose). It seems worth mentioning that while 9 cups of strawberries would match the fructose levels in a 20 oz. soda, that would actually only account for HALF the total sugar you’d take in by drinking the soda. And it’d be ALL the sugar from the strawberries. Right?
Melissa @ Whole9 says
Emily – good thinking here, but that’s not exactly accurate. Here’s why.
You’re right in that HFCS is only 55% fructose, leaving 45% glucose left out of this equation. So the TOTAL amount of sugar in a soft drink is nearly twice the reported fructose content, yes!
However, fruit is also a mix of sugars – fructose, glucose and sucrose (which is 50% fructose and 50% glucose) – and starches. (Strawberries contain virtually no starch, but bananas certainly do.) So the strawberries, for example, contain 7.4 grams of TOTAL sugar per cup, with 4.1 grams of fructose and 3.3 grams of glucose. Huh… in the case of strawberries, the total sugar is split almost exactly the same as HFCS: 55% and 45%. (But let’s please not extrapolate that out to, “Strawberries contain naturally-occurring HFCS!”, okay?)
Comparing the total sugar contents of both leads to just about the same comparison – there’s about as much fructose AND as much total sugar in 9 cups of strawberries as there is in a 20 oz. soda.
Where the comparison all kinds of fall down, however, is that there is absolutely nothing ELSE in soda that adds to your health, but there’s a ton of good stuff found in the fruit that we eat.
Thanks for your critical thinking!
emily rose says
Melissa – thanks, that makes sense. I didn’t realize that those ratios would be so similar between HFCS and real fruit. I see that their comparison fails in a lot of significant ways (like, don’t a lot of people actually drink more soda than that in one sitting these days anyway?), but it’s nice to know that they at least were not blatantly ignoring 45% of the sugar content.
Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan - Whole9 EE says
OK. But what about New Coke?
interesting. Thanks for breaking that down for us. I agree it is taken completely out of context and they were being very misleading in the comparing how many grams of fruit it takes to equal the fructose in fruit. Amazing what the HFCS peddlers will do to try to look healthier. I would like to point out that there is also water in those sodas so I’m not sure we can say NOTHING that contributes to our health… ;)
Melissa @ Whole9 says
Emily – there are lots of naturally occurring compounds in our foods that mirror/mimic stuff made in a lab by food scientists. (Naturally occurring trans-fats found in grass-fed, organic dairy comes to mind.) But don’t let the marketing folks try to draw unfair parallels! You’re smart to look into the details of any analysis – even ours! – in more detail.
Melissa – New Coke is totally bunk, but Retro Pepsi, is healthy because it’s made with REAL SUGAR instead of HFCS! (That is a real ad campaign, by the way. Crazypants.)
Cinj – Okay, you’ve got a point there. The water wrapped in sugar wrapped in artificial colors and flavors and more unpronounceable chemicals might, in fact, make you healthier. If it wasn’t wrapped in all that other stuff, that is. ;)
mike lustgarten says
I wrote the article. I want to stress that I am not a HFCS fan, I never drink soda, and I love fruit, and I eat a lot of it every day.
In the article, I say, “When normalized to the same amount of calories as a 20 oz. soda”…
And too much fruit can indeed damage your liver, elevate TG’s and lower HDL. Assuming you don’t drink soda, how much fructose from fruit is too much? That’s the point, using your own metabolic markers to titrate how much fruit to eat…I make this clear in the last paragraph of the article…
Badier "The Lazy Caveman" Velji - Whole9 EE says
Thanks for coming in and replying directly to your critics, that’s really awesome of you!
You say that you are not a HFCS fan and you consumer plenty of fruit yourself. This begs the question then, what was the purpose of your article? It certainly was not written as an anti-HFCS piece, nor was it written as a pro-real food piece. In trying to be objective, you have made the claim that some fruits contain as much fructose per calorie as HFCS, and that should give one pause when making food choices. While your math is technically correct, it is out of context, and leaves the reader with an incorrect impression of your stance.
“And too much fruit can indeed damage your liver, elevate TG’s and lower HDL.” Please provide a study that shows this claim to be true. Free fructose does have the ability to do the things you say, but I would say that the fructose in fruit, which is bound with fiber, does not behave the same way in the body that liquid fructose does, in relation to impact on blood glucose and insulin.
With respect to your recommendations, you again make it sound like HFCS and the fructose found in fruit are one in the same. A far more responsible statement would be “if you have fat to lose, and/or your blood chemistry is less than ideal, you may consider eliminating sources of HFCS and limiting fruit consumption to 1-2 servings of low-fructose choices.”
“Which is why our Moms can be so easily confused, and why myths like “High fructose corn syrup is a healthy, all-natural choice” persist.”
Melissa @ Whole9 says
Dr. Lustgarten: Thanks for reading, and contributing. We agree with Badier’s response – and also want to point out that you wouldn’t have to rely on biomarkers to tell you how much fruit is okay if you followed a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet in the first place. Folks could potentially get into trouble with average “doses” of fructose from fruit IF they were seriously metabolically deranged or obese, in which case individuals will be more sensitive to fructose. But still… you’d have to eat a ridiculous amount o fruit to create that scenario!
MSC: Dads too! And co-workers, and best friends, and grandparents! It’s a confusing world out there, which is why relying SOLELY on “science” to make your decisions is an impossible journey. Science + experience + self-experimentation for the win!
mike lustgarten says
Although fructose in fruit comes along with lots of good, at the end of the day, 20g of fructose from fruit is the same as from soda. But I want people to think about that, or to think about making any food choice. Again, I would never advocate drinking soda, and I fully support whole foods.
My point is in the last paragraph of my article, that using metabolic markers to determine how much fruit is too much is the optimal. And then, how much saturated fat is too much? Or too much protein? All of this can be titrated after a regular blood test.. Use markers of internal biochemistry to optimize your diet…
@melissa, “you wouldn’t have to rely on biomarkers to tell you how much fruit is okay if you followed a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet in the first place”. This isn’t true! Without using biomarkers, one’s diet is faith-based. In other words, there is hope that you are in good health. Biomarkers are one step higher than that!
I might have eaten 89 of the cherries that Dallas & Melissa brought to the AHS11. Just saying. I’m so going to fructose hell!
Dallas @ Whole9 says
I bet your liver is all fatty and your triglycerides are up already. The really interesting aspect to this discussion is whether short-term (i.e. only seasonal) consumption of very large amounts of fruit is actually harmful or not. I’m not pretending to know the answer, but I have some ideas. I think a major component to the fructose issues have to deal with the ongoing overconsumption of huge amounts of fructose (which may or may not even be from fruit). Just to muddy the waters even further… ;) Thanks for stopping by!
Melissa @ Whole9 says
Dr L: I’m careful with statements like this: “20g of fructose from fruit is the same as from soda…” As Pollan has written about extensively, reductionism isn’t an accurate way to look at food! It’s like saying the trans-fats found in grass-fed, organic dairy are the same as the trans-fats found in junk food. (Which are not the same at ALL.) We don’t eat nutrients, we eat FOOD. And fruit has a whole compliment of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (including fiber), many of which affect the way our bodies process that fructose, and none of which are present in soft drinks.
Jules: No, you only ate 74 cherries. You’re totally fine.
Why did she write this in the first place? Is she mad about fruits or something?
Brian Kerley says
I want a pomegranate.
mike lustgarten says
@jules, Yes I totally agree with you!
@melissa Your liver, when it sees 20g of fructose has no idea where it came from, whether from soda or fruit. That’s not food reductionism, that’s a fact. Now your kidneys, having to produce more base to neutralize the phosphoric acid in the soda, that’s a different story. Or, the caramel coloring, which is high in AGE products has to be detoxified, too. But, when is too much fructose bad? And then it comes down to biomarkers, just like @jules said…
I would never dispute drinking a soda over eating fruit, even if the fruit is calorie-matched. And I do eat 3 bananas in 1 sitting, 3 apples in 1 sitting. but I’ve had my TG’s HDL and liver enzymes checjed, and everything is good, there!
@melissa. But it’s also clear that you don’t understand fructose metabolism. You said in your response, “Can eating too much fruit contribute to metabolic issues? Yes, especially if you’re already insulin resistant, metabolically deranged and/or obese”. Fructose elicits a minimal insulin response, so if you have insulin related issues, fruit is not a problem…The fact is too much fructose (think fruititarian) can produce adverse metabolic effects (elevated TG, decreased HDL and increased liver damage) in the absence of pre-existing metabolic issues. And, then, again, the point of my article was, how much fructose is too much?
mike lustgarten says
The reference that too much fructose damages the liver, increases TG’s and decreases HDL is the same one that I cite in my article:
Badier "The Lazy Caveman" - Whole 9 EE says
Dr. L: You absolutely cannot use that study to show that the fructose in fruit is affects the liver in the same way that the fructose in soda does. It becomes a question of dosing and timing.
Say you do ingest 32.6g (from the study) of fructose from a 20oz. soda. Serum fructose rises at least 4x from it’s normal 1mg/dL (also from the study). Your liver sees an overload of fructose, does it’s best to convert some into liver glycogen and converts the rest into TG’s via lipogenesis to be stored around the liver. I’m pretty sure we agree here.
Now you ingest 32.6g of fructose from fruit. Because that fructose is bound with fiber, it cannot be treated the same way as the bolus of fructose from the soda is. Here’s a great paper from the Alternative Medicine Review: http://altmedrev.com/thorne/index2.php?option=com_sobi2&sobi2Task=dd_download&fid=115&format=html&Itemid=70
“The increase in serum fructose concentrations after ingestion of fruit or a mixed meal of whole foods has not been investigated. It is likely that such increases would be negligible, because of the relatively small amount of fructose present in natural foods and because the fructose in fruits and vegetables would presumably be absorbed relatively slowly. It might reasonably be expected that the small amounts of slowly absorbed fructose present in natural foods would be completely or almost completely metabolized by intestinal and hepatic enzymes, and that little or no fructose would escape from the liver into the systemic circulation. In contrast, the rise in serum fructose concentration that occurs after ingestion of a bolus of fructose or sucrose is probably due to an inability of the intestinal and hepatic enzymes to metabolize the load completely. Thus, there appears to be no evolutionary precedent for the substantial increase in plasma fructose concentrations that results from eating high-fructose (and, to a lesser extent, high-sucrose) diets.”
And funny enough, this paper came out 5 years before the one you cited, and a section of it appears to have been plagiarized :o.
Bottom line, we agree on the deleterious effects that fructose consumption can have on the body, but clearly disagree about the difference between free fructose found in HFCS and the bound fructose found in fruit.
With all due respect, anyone with a secondary school education once learned what normalisation is. You can argue that Lustgarten’s isn’t a scientific article for a journal but rather meant for a broader “Yahoo”-audience and that therefore, without understanding this concept, can be misleading. You have a valid point there, but that doesn’t mean Lustgarten did it on purpose and you seem to lose track of that from the get-go.
I would have agreed with this “Fructose Foolishness” article if its content had somewhat limited itself to the following;
– better explained the concept of mathematical normalization
– reiterated that one needs to eat excessive amounts of fruit because of this concept to come to the same calorie level of a can of soda
– explain the other benefits of fruits when compared to soda
– explained how the normalized fructose fractions can be confusing to the average “mom”
The above was done just fine, but unfortunately this “Fructose Foolishness” article went further and not in a good way. Clearly part of the agenda is trying to disprove and attack the credibility of a PhD. This is suggested by the overall writing; the use of parenthesized exclamation marks neighbouring academic indicators; and the use of words such as “food-lies”.
Just because Lustgarten made some grounding* assumption about mathematical terminology doesn’t mean his credibility has gone to waste. He’s probably used to addressing a different audience. I’m sure he realizes this mistake, which is why he’s partaking in the comments section here. He’s bothered that his point didn’t come across as intended, whereas you are going after him implying that he may have meant for it to be misleading.
Now the following part is crucial: he definitely did make a statement as to the amount of fruit one has to eat. This “Fructose Foolishness” article *conveniently* didn’t cite him on that. Here it is:
“But, because the amount of fructose found in fruit isn’t too far away from the amount found in calorie-matched soda, an argument could also be made that consuming too much fruit may also lead to adverse health conditions…”
Pay attention to the “too much fruit” here. This is exactly one of the things that Lustgarten set out to show. The point he arrives at is that eating excessive amount of fruits may be as bad for you as drinking a standard serving of soda. Nowhere does he mean to say it’s fine to drink soda to begin with or that Melissa’s mom should put a coke in her lunchpack in stead of an apple. He also hints at what normalization is by saying “calorie-matched”. For him as a scientist this probably sufficed.
To me it seems his conclusion is still “up your street”, opposite to what you put in your first paragraph in bold. In fact, the way I see it, his point is something you merely *repeated* after exlaining the concept of normalization better. So you are affirming his claims, but unnecessarily attack his credibility in the process simply because he made a grounding* assumption. Based on this I think you’re contradicting yourself.
So if you ask me this “Fructose Foolishness” article is quite foolish in itself and using so-called sound logic to go after Lustgarten in this way doesn’t quite attest to the level of intellect the author had intended.
* By grounding I mean grounding in communication / common ground or the “mutual knowledge, mutual beliefs, and mutual assumptions” essential for communication
mike lustgarten says
@Matt, yes, well done, good post.
Melissa @ Whole9 says
@Dr. L: GI and hepatic adaptations to fructose consumption make the case that obese individuals will be more sensitive to fructose. It has nothing to do with the glycemic index, nor fructose’s DIRECT actions on insulin. It’s got a lot to do with the hepatic changes that too much fructose will promote in the liver (which THEN gets back around to insulin). I’ve got a bunch of studies that suggest this to be the case, if you’re interested… although the fructose dose, duration of over-consumption and genetic factors all contribute. (I’m pretty sure Lustig talks about this as well – the proposed mechanism centers around JNK, a protein that attenuates insulin signaling.) The point is, if you’re already sick, fructose takes a toll on your liver in a more dramatic fashion than if you’re well.
@Matt: I’m not sure if you’ve read a wide range of our articles, or if this is your first visit to our site. Regardless, the point of the article wasn’t to present a math lesson, define “normalization” or discredit an obviously smart and accomplished man. Nowhere in the article did we suggest he wasn’t a credible source – quite the opposite, in fact, calling him a “credible PhD scientist.” And I think we hit the salient points in your “I wish you wrote it this way instead…”
But perhaps we went too far to suggest in that very same sentence that he had an agenda. That’s our bad. I’m going to change that part of this text as a result of these discussions here.
Finally, “The point he arrives at is that eating excessive amount of fruits may be as bad for you as drinking a standard serving of soda.” His point can only be effectively illustrated if he details exactly how much fruit is “excessive.” The manner in which he made the comparison in his article doesn’t serve his audience – or ours – very well. That’s the major take-home here, we believe.
Thanks to all for contributing.
Forgive my dense-ness… but if 55% of the sugar in HFCS comes from Fructose, what is the other 45% of sugar in HFCS?
Melissa @ Whole9 says
Maury, that’s not dense at all. HFCS is made up of 55% fructose, the other 45% is glucose (another form of simple sugar). Most commercially used sugars are a blend of these two simple sugars. For example, table sugar (sucrose) is 50% fructose, 50% glucose.
OK, I reread it all and figured it out…sorry
Badier "The Lazy Caveman" - Whole 9 EE says
I don’t know if Dr. Lustgarten is still looking at this comments, but I was referred to this study by Angelo Coppola of Latest in Paleo http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0026049511000953. Scientists took two groups of people and put one on a low fructose (<20g/day) and another group on a moderate natural fructose diet (50-70g/day) and monitored weight loss and other metrics. The moderate natural fructose group lost more weight overall and both groups had improvements in biomarkers. That's a pretty strong case for fruit in the diet.
mike lustgarten says
Good post, Badier. it’s nice to know that 50-70g of fructose from fruit didn’t negatively affect TG or HDL. But, they didn’t measure liver markers (ALT, AST), and fructose goes directly from the blood to the liver. Even though there was weight loss, the study population was obese, and I’m more interested the metabolic effects of fructose in healthy people. Nonetheless, good post!
BTW, you can easily find me @mike_lustgarten on Twitter.
Danimal RX says
As a cardiologist and paleo eater, as well as avid cook, hippie wanna be, crossfit enthusiast, and scientist, I love the information that is being developed on diet these days. You all have very good points, and I am sure you all are aware of the old adage that there are three types of liars: Liars, Damn Liars, and Statisticians. Scientists are quite good at bending their studies to their wills. So all of these studies are great, but they do not replace something the world seems to have lost (particularly the world here in Cleveland)…common sense! Do you really need to eat 3 bananas at once? Or 100 cherries? And why are we drinking a whole 20 oz of soda when we were fine with 12 oz just a few years ago? (That’s almost double what it was when I was growing up!)
From a young age, I suspect many of your parents raised you with the premise of moderation. Shouldn’t we apply that now? I wish I could have my patients not eat that extra can of sodium laden soup, those three glazed doughnuts with breakfast, or not even entertain the idea of a “midnight snack”. Knowledge about fructose metabolism is important, no doubt, and helps us with moderation of intake. But if you use common sense, experiment with your own diet, and enjoy eating the way we should, with good friends and loved ones sitting around the table and taking our time, we will likely eat a whole lot less and a great deal healthier.
With this all said, it’s the right time of year to at least be thankful for the fact that we have choices in what we eat, let alone food to eat at all!
You hear so much different by scientist these days, that I just seems to get more and more confused. Guess science insnt’ an insurance for good/bad health.
I have no problem eating 9 cups of strawberries in a day and also eating five bananas but that would also be a few meals for the day. So would 2 pepsis be equal to a few meals in a day? I don’t think so. So then I might eat all those fruits in the same day after drinking those cans of pop. So pop does not replace a meal in any way. It just adds to the total sugar and caloric intake.
Forgive me right now for not having numbers at hand to help illustrate this point.
When I was dieting I learned that as a rule of thumb you are always better off eating “whole foods” as opposed to partial or derivatives of natural foods.
The example that stuck with me is that eating an orange (whole) is better than drinking orange juice (partial) but that is still better than eating something “made with real oranges” (derivative).
In this case I think the comparison would make sense if you were comparing the fructose to calorie ratio of orange juice to Pepsi as they both get all of their calories from sugars and neither has any fiber. With this comparison you would probably see that 240 calories of OJ is probably no different than 240 calories of Pepsi. But it is the other components in an orange the fiber (and whatever calories are lost to pasteurization) that both increase the feelings of “fullness” that stops us from overeating, which now it has been shown that calories from fructose are not as likely to do.
With all of that said HFCS is not “the enemy” it is adding sweetenersto and/or removing fiber from almost everything in the supermarket that is contributing to the obesity epidemic. Of course portion sizes in restaurants (and prepared foods) are probably the biggest issue (since potential caloric intake far exceeds the maximum caloric expendeture, unless you are Michael Phelps) and it will probably take a generation or 2 until proper portioning returns to the dinner plate. Well that or a food shortage.
I think the whole argument goes away if you substitute Fruit Juice, which so many people seem to believe is a healthy alternative but is actually just about as good a way to overdose your liver on fructose as a soda would be
Another missed point here is in HOW HFCS is produced. It is FAR from a natural process, and so the sugar we are comparing is also more accurately akin to comparing ‘natural’ versus ‘science project’. Fruit is nature’s original dessert — and most historical ‘Paleo’ humans did not have access to it 365 days a year, making it highly doubtful they were insulin resistant, metabolically deranged and/or obese as a result of fruit consumption due to its limited availability, which is why your ‘fruit in moderation’ approach is a good one.
Rajeev Samuel says
Coke bad. Fruit good. Unless you are overweight/obese, which if you are I advise a strict ketogenic diet (low carb) and HIIT every 3 days till your weight normalizes.
The reason behind articles like the one found on Yahoo is because of the enormous amount of false and misleading information people like Chris continue to regurgitate. There is this belief that there is something inherently more dangerous about the fructose and/or glucose in Soda via HFCS-55 and that simply is untrue. The fructose/glucose is no more harmful in itself than the glucose/fructose found naturally in fruit. The problem is it is significantly more concentrated in soda vs. fruit as you pointed out. In other words. The real issue is moderation of sugar whether found in Soda or Fruit.
Less so for the bananas, but for the others I can EASILY eat the amounts specified – I’ve been getting a 600g pack of strawberries recently and will eat that in one. 3 apples is common too, if I have 3 apples to eat.
Typically I wouldn’t drink a whole 500ml bottle of coke at once, however.
I, like most people, have to control my fructose consumption (I have fructose mal-absorption). At first glance, I too would have thought “cherries, strawberries, apples, and bananas are off the table for me.” But, as my GI likes to remind me, it’s all about quantity. If I’ve had a low fructose/fructan day (we should all aim for these, although the palate is boring), I can eat half an apple and be okay. But I can never (and will never) consume anything made with high fructose corn syrup. I’d be in horrible pain and in the bathroom all night. Who wants that? No food is worth making me sick again. Not even an apple.
Mike Ward says
In my opinion the fact that this comes to us from Tufts throws a pall over the entire piece.
I’m sure that I’ll spell his name wrong: In the 70’s a professor , Jean Meir, also from Tufts, tried to tell us that sugar was actually healthy, especially for kids. Tufts may be a very fine medical establishment but their nuitritional work, in my opinion is litter pan lining materisl