You may know that one way I like to try and get the best quality food in my diet is to grow my own. It’s a great way to get the best quality, non-pesticide, fresh food you can.
This year I have had an abundance of fruit come into season, strawberries, raspberries, red currants and loganberry’s all fruiting and delicious. Now we all know that berries are the best choice from a fruit perspective, they are lower in sugar and nutrient packed, so I thought that as I was eating more than I usually would I might as well do an experiment by increasing my fruit intake overall to see how I felt.
If you go and read one of my previous posts you will see that I do advocate eating fruit but not to overdo it particularly from a weight control point of view, it does have some benefits from a nutritional standpoint but the sugar found in some like bananas is pretty high, could this have an effect on me as someone who only eats it occasionally?
As a fit, healthy and active person I think that increasing my fruit intake really shouldn’t make a difference. I don’t normally weigh myself but I weighed in at 81.2kg just to see if it has an effect. I kept my activity level and diet the same but just increased my fruit to two or three pieces a day for two weeks.
The result, my weight remained pretty much the same at 81.4kg so no real issue there. Perhaps if I did it for longer we would see more of an effect. My gym performance felt pretty much the same although we would assume I should have been able to perform at a higher intensity due to increased glucose stores?
But one major result I took from this was HUNGER!!
It only took two to three days for the hunger to kick in. Normally I don’t really get hunger and can easily last for 18 to 24 hours fasting but increasing the fruit really surprised me. I felt the old nagging pangs in my stomach at around mid-morning and the craving was for more fruit, otherwise known as sugar.
I had jumped back on the sugar train and once on it hard to get off. So three weeks later how am I feeling?
I am not going to lie it was hard to break the habit again as subtle as it was. The reintroduction of a higher sugar level stimulated the old signals to use the easy to burn energy as glucose and my body said more please.
So what did I do? Weaned myself off it again slowly, cut down to just the berries and removed the higher sugar ones like bananas and pineapple. Also when I got the cravings I ate some protein and fat and drank some water, which usually solved it.
I planned a couple of intermittent fasts to try and drop my blood glucose a bit quicker and get back to fat burning but found them hard after 8 or 10 hours. As I wright this I am five hours into a planned 18 – 24 hour fast so let’s see how it goes.
What to take from this:
This is very much an N=1 experiment so this is very specific to me, however it does raise the question of how much fruit you should be consuming? I would speculate that it really is a good idea to cut it down to a minimum, particularly if you are just getting started. Trying to get off the sugar highs and lows is difficult but can be done. Reducing slowly can be an idea as your body adapts but the continued stimulus of sugar is only going to keep the cravings there.
I’ve been eating this way for years now and I found it hard to come down again after a reintroduction so it’s clear that sugar even from “Natural” sources can be addictive and hard to come off.