Naturally sweet, colorful, and delicious—fruits are the only parts of plants that are specifically designed to be eaten. For those who can tolerate carbohydrate, fruits are the healthiest sources on the planet, but what if you are carbohydrate-sensitive and need to avoid fruit? Don’t you need all those vitamins and antioxidants? What are antioxidants, anyway?



Sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, etc)
Sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose)
Soluble Fiber

We believe fruits are good for us because they contain fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. While there is no evidence that humans require fruit in order to be healthy, of all the plant foods you can eat, fruits are the least likely to cause trouble. That’s because fruits are the only parts of the plant that are specifically designed to be eaten.

Since plants need animals like us to eat their fruits, most chemicals in fruits, including fruit antioxidants, are not designed to harm us (vegetables are not so innocent). Most fruits (with the notable exception of a wide variety of poisonous berries) are quite safe to eat whole.


What all fruits have in common are seeds. This means that some foods we think of as vegetables—cucumbers, tomatoes, squashes— are actually fruits.

Seeds can be large (peach pit) or small (apple seeds). Each seed contains a precious plant embryo (baby plant), which needs to find a fertile spot and grow into an adult plant. Since plants can’t move, they need you (or other creatures) to eat their fruits in order to disperse their seeds.

When you stop to pick an apple from a tree, you will probably eat the fruit and toss the core, with its seeds inside, onto the ground, hopefully somewhere not too close to the tree. This helps the apple tree spread its seeds a little farther away from its trunk, and increases the chances of finding fertile ground; therefore the tree may reproduce more successfully. If a bear snacks on an apple, he will probably eat the whole apple, core and all, in which case the seeds get to take a free ride through the bear’s intestines. By the time the seeds exit the bear, the bear will probably not only be very far away from the tree, but will also deposit the seeds onto the ground complete with a supply of natural fertilizer, as a parting gift.

So, ultimately, the fruit is there to serve the reproductive needs of the plant, and creatures like us are just unsuspecting taxicabs for their seeds.


Plants have evolved over hundreds of millions of years to use animals for their own purposes, and they know what they are doing. Not only have they made most fruits sweet, delicious, and easy to pick, they have also included in the flesh of the fruit sugar alcohols, like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol. If you have ever eaten “sugar-free” chocolates or candies that contain sugar alcohols, you know that they can have a laxative effect. This is no accident. Fruits contain sugar alcohols to speed the seed along its route through your body. This is also why prunes, which are high in the sugar alcohol sorbitol, are famous for relieving constipation. Plants want you to transport their seeds, they do not want you to digest and destroy them. The longer it takes for a seed to travel through an animal’s gastrointestinal tract, the higher the chance that it will be damaged in the process, so the plant would like its seeds to move through you as quickly as possible.


Plants know we have a sweet tooth, so they include sugars in their fruits. Fruits contain three types of simple sugar: fructose (fruit sugar), glucose (the same sugar we have in our bloodstream), and sucrose (table sugar—which is made from sugar cane and beets). Humans evolved from a fruit-eating primate ancestor, and most human populations have eaten fruit ever since, so we are probably very well-adapted for handling the amount of sugars found in whole fruits. Unfortunately, many of us have developed difficulty processing sugars, probably because we have been eating far too much refined carbohydrate as part of the Western diet for too many years of our lives.

There is a huge difference between eating whole fruits and eating concentrated and added sugars in processed foods and drinks. Fruits contain lots of fiber and water, so they are very filling and satisfying; it’s difficult to overeat fruit without feeling uncomfortable. However, it’s all too easy to drink a liter of fruit juice, eat a pint of ice cream, or polish off a king-sized candy bar. Most of us have not adapted very well to a high refined carbohydrate diet, since it is a relatively new trend in human history.

It is well established that diets high in sugars are unhealthy (see: carbohydrates page), but if you choose to include some sugar in your diet, the healthiest sources of sugar in my opinion are whole fruits—not fruit smoothies, not fruit sauces, not fruit juices, not even dried fruits—these are all much higher in sugar than whole fruits and too easy to overeat.

If you have trouble processing carbohydrate or if you are trying to lose weight, you would be wise to choose low-sugar fruits (such as berries), significantly limit fruit intake, or even avoid fruit entirely.

If you have IBS-D you may want to limit fruits, especially those highest in sugar alcohols.


Soluble fiber is a type of carbohydrate that gives fruit its shape. It is the scaffolding of the fruit. Its only purpose is to hold the fruit together.

PHYTOCHEMICALS (antioxidants)

Since phyto means plant, phytochemicals are just plant chemicals. You’ve probably heard a lot about “phytochemicals” or “phytonutrients” or “phytoestrogens”. We are told that colorful fruits and vegetables contain lots of phytonutrients, and that they are beneficial for our health because they are antioxidants.

What are antioxidants, anyway?

Antioxidants protect living cells from damaging “oxidation.” Oxidative damage is caused by things like radiation (sun rays), and the chemical reactions that naturally take place inside of living cells as part of everyday metabolism. These types of events have the power to remove electrons from stable molecules, thereby generating reactive oxygen species” (ROS) or “free radicals.” Free radicals are very reactive and unstable, because they are missing an electron (a negatively-charged particle). Molecules like to have a perfect balance of positive and negative charges at all times. So, these free radicals, in their mad search for an electron, will rip off electrons from vulnerable molecules in their path until they are happily balanced again.

So, the original free radicals are now stable (phew), but now we have two new problems:

First problem: when an electron is torn away from a molecule, the molecule can break apart or stop functioning properly.

Second problem: these neighboring molecules are now missing electrons and are now unstable themselves…and so they go looking for electrons…and a chain reaction can occur. If this chain reaction is not stopped, the cell could be damaged beyond repair.

This is why antioxidants are so important. All living things need antioxidants to protect them from the oxidative dangers of daily living. Luckily, Mother Nature provided us with plenty of our own human antioxidants within our bodies, many of which are quite different from plant antioxidants. These include things like uric acid and cholesterol.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Just because a chemical behaves like an antioxidant in a plant, or in a test tube, does not mean that it will behave the same way in our bodies. Many research studies show that plant antioxidants are poorly absorbed by our bodies, changed by our bodies into completely different compounds, or rapidly eliminated:

“Unlike the traditional vitamins, phytochemicals as dietary components are not essential for short-term well-being, and whereas the body has specific mechanisms for the accumulation and retention of vitamins, in contrast, phytochemicals are treated as non-nutrient xenobiotics [foreign substances that shouldn’t be there] and metabolised so as to eliminate them efficiently.” (Crozier 2009)

However, when scientists extract chemicals from fruits and give them to people in unnaturally high doses, they can be harmful. Nature intended us to eat the whole fruit, not purified concentrates of fruit chemicals.

The majority of fruit phytochemicals that you have heard about fall into two categories: the polyphenols and the carotenoids.

POLYPHENOLS (aka flavonoids)

Polyphenols are colorful plant chemicals that share a similar chemical structure. Most of them are just pigments, not toxins, so the polyphenol family is relatively mild-mannered, at least at concentrations found in nature. While you may have heard that these substances have magical anti-inflammatory properties and that they can “boost” your immune system, the truth is that the vast majority of scientific studies have been done in vitro (test tube conditions) and have used doses far too high to be found in nature. Even if polyphenols do have magical healing powers, we are unlikely to benefit from them, because they are poorly absorbed, and transformed by our small intestine, liver, and colon, into completely different substances. Below is a list of the most commonly-encountered fruit polyphenols:


These are blue, red, and purple pigments that give fruits like blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and concord grapes their beautiful colors. They also serve as natural plant sunscreens.

Based on experiments in test tube conditions (in vitro) and in laboratory animals, scientists think anthocyanins may have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, but there are no useful human studies yet that can tell us whether or not this is true.

Even if they were miracle molecules, eating bushels of berries would not help you, because less than 0.1% (one in a thousand!) of the anthocyanins you eat make it into your bloodstream, and those that make it disappear within a few hours.


This is the most common polyphenol pigment in the diet; many fruits and vegetables contain at least some quercetin. Capers, cranberries, black currants, apples, grapes, blueberries, and apricots are the fruits that contain the most quercetin.

Of all the polyphenols, quercetin is the easiest to absorb; about 20% of what you eat will make it into your bloodstream, but it only lasts a few hours.

There have been some human studies that suggest possible anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects for quercetin. However, the doses that are used in these studies are impossible to get from food. There are currently no clinical trials of quercetin as a cancer treatment drug.


This is found in a variety of fruits, including blueberries and cranberries, and also in peanuts, but grape skins contain the most resveratrol, and are the most famous example.

Resveratrol is not a pigment (pure resveratrol is white). Plants use resveratrol to prevent fungus from infecting their fruits, therefore it is a fungicide. For more information about resveratrol, see: alcohol.


These are more common in vegetables than fruits, but some fruits, like grapes, persimmons and blueberries, do contain tannins, as do apple skins and pear skins. Tannins are bitter and have an astringent quality (they make your mouth feel dry).

Tannins are tannish-white in color but are not pigments; they are defensive chemicals designed to protect plants from harsh weather and all kinds of predators.

Tannins are destroyed in the drying process, so dried fruits (like raisins) do not contain tannins. Cooking reduces the amount of tannins in foods.

Tannins are hard to absorb; most tannins make it all the way to the colon (towards the very end of the digestive tract) without being absorbed, and by that time, most of them have been changed into different molecules by the digestive process.

Tannins have the ability to bind to proteins, which is what makes them good for tanning leather (this is how they got their name). However, this same power to bind proteins means that tannins can bind to proteins in our digestive tract. Since our digestive enzymes are proteins, tannins can interfere with proper digestion of foods, especially proteins.

Tannins also interfere with our ability to absorb “non-heme iron”, which is the form of iron found in plant foods. They do not interfere with our ability to absorb “heme” iron, which comes from animal foods.

Some tannins behave like antioxidants under test tube conditions (in vitro) but this hasn’t been proven in living systems (in vivo). Some tannins have antibiotic (bacteria-killing) and antiviral properties. A few animal studies suggest that tannins may be helpful in cases of diabetes and heart disease, but there have been no clinical studies yet. Some in vitro studies suggest possible anti-cancer activity, but there have been no clinical studies in humans.

In laboratory studies (in vitro), tannins have been shown to interfere with the activity of an important enzyme called Topoisomerase II. This enzyme is required for DNA to function properly. This makes sense because plants use tannins to protect themselves against predators. However there are no studies available to prove or disprove this activity in humans (in vivo).


Carotenoids are red/orange/yellow pigments that come in various forms, the most famous one being beta-carotene. Most carotenoids come from vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and in fruits that we think of as vegetables (such as pumpkins and squashes—see my post: Pumpkins, Squashes, Vitamin A and Cancer).  However, there is one carotenoid that is famous for being found in fruits—lycopene.


Lycopene is a bright red pigment found in watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, papaya, pomegranate and tomatoes. Unlike many other carotenoids, lycopene possesses no Vitamin A activity.

We are just lousy at absorbing carotenoids, especially lycopene, from raw foods. Only about 1% of the lycopene from a raw carrot makes it into your bloodstream! This is because the tough cellulose (fiber) of the plant’s cell walls is in the way. Cooking helps to free the lycopene from the food, but it also can reduce the amount of lycopene in the food. Eating fat with lycopene helps absorption. When eaten with some fat, people absorb an average of 5 mg of the lycopene from cooked foods, regardless of how much of the food they eat.

So, is lycopene good for you? Scientists would have us believe that it can help protect us from heart disease and cancer. However:

Studies in humans looking at lycopene and its effects on heart disease have produced conflicting results.

Most of the studies looking at the potential for lycopene to reduce cancer risk have been negative. The FDA reviewed the evidence and concluded that:

“…there was no credible evidence to support qualified health claims for tomatoes or tomato-based foods and a reduced risk for lung, colorectal, breast, cervical, or endometrial cancer. FDA further concluded that there was no credible evidence to support qualified health claims for lycopene, as a food ingredient, component of food, or as a dietary supplement, and a reduced risk of any of these cancers… there was very limited credible evidence for qualified health claims for tomatoes and/or tomato sauce and a reduced risk for prostate, gastric, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers provided that the qualified health claims were appropriately worded so as to not mislead consumers.” [Kavanaugh 2007]


These innocent chemicals are mainly found lurking deep inside the rugged pits of certain fruits, such as apricots, peaches, cherries, mangoes, and plums. These types of seeds are virtually indestructible without tools, and it’s a good thing we can’t chew them open. When these seeds are damaged, the nontoxic glycosides mix with an activating enzyme and poof—you’ve got cyanide. Other foods that can generate cyanide include: bitter almonds, marzipan, bamboo shoots, cassava root (tapioca), lima beans, sorghum, apple seeds and pear seeds. Luckily, proper processing of these foods by grinding, boiling and soaking can remove the cyanide and make them safe to eat.

The human body can detoxify tiny quantities of cyanide, but at higher doses, cyanide can interfere with iodine within your thyroid gland and cause goiter or hypothyroidism. At higher doses still, cyanide can suffocate your mitochondria (your cells’ energy generators), which can be fatal.


Glycoalkaloids are produced by nightshades—eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes, tobacco, and goji berries. People think of most of these as vegetables, even though most of them are fruits because they have seeds. These compounds will be explored in the vegetables section of the site.

The bottom line about fruit

Fruits, though delicious, are not required in the human diet.

The specialized plant chemicals found in most edible fruits are far less likely to bother most people than those found in vegetables.

There is no clear evidence that the naturally-occurring phytochemical antioxidants in fruits are beneficial to human health. In fact, some of these chemicals, particularly in concentrated forms, are potentially harmful.

Due to sugar and sugar alcohol content, many people may need to limit how much fruit they eat. However, if you do choose to include some sugar in your diet, whole fruits are the safest sources of simple sugars available in nature.

If you are at a healthy weight, do not have IBS-D, and do not have diabetes or any other carbohydrate-related health conditions, you are likely to be able to safely enjoy fruit.

To read my blog post about cranberries, click HERE.

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[1] Ithaca NY: Cornell University Department of Animal Science. Available from 2012; ,
Crozier A et al. Dietary phenolics: chemistry, bioavailability and effects on health. Nat. Prod. Rep 2009; 26: 1001–1043.
Gonzalez-Gallego J et al. Fruit polyphenols, immunity and inflammation. British Journal of Nutrition 2010; 104: S15–S27.
Gould KS et al. Why some stems are red: cauline anthocyanins shield photosystem II against high light stress. Journal of Experimental Botany 2010; 61(10): 2707–2717.
Kavanaugh CJ et al. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s evidence-based review for qualified health claims: tomatoes, lycopene, and cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 2007; 99: 1074–85.
Maiani G et al. Carotenoids: actual knowledge on food sources, intakes, stability and bioavailability and their protective role in humans. Mol Nutr Food Res 2009; 53: S194–S218.
Mordente A et al. Lycopene and cardiovascular diseases: an update. Curr Med Chem 2011; 18(8): 1146-63.
Prior RL and Wu X. Anthocyanins: Structural characteristics that result in unique metabolic patterns and biological activities. Free Radical Research 2006; 40(10): 1014–1028.
Rietjens IM et al. Molecular mechanisms of toxicity of important food-borne phytotoxins. Mol Nutr Food Res 2005; 49(2): 131-158.
Serrano J et al. Tannins: current knowledge of food sources, intake, bioavailability and biological effects. Mol Nutr Food Res 2009; 53: S310–S329.
Williams RJ. Flavonoids: antioxidants or signalling molecules?. Free Radical Biol and Medicine 2004; 36(7): 838-849.
  • Des

    Hello Dr. Ede, great post! What do you think about fruits potential to cause fatty liver disease due to high fructose levels? Isn’t this a way fruit “attacks” humans and animals that eat them?

  • Hi Des,

    Vegetable parts (and seeds) contain defense compounds designed to kill living cells and most fruits do not (there are important exceptions). However, this does not necessarily mean that fruits are beneficial to our health. I doubt that plants care whether or not we live a long and perfectly healthy life; they only care that we survive long enough to serve their own selfish purposes. If eating fruits happens to cause the gradual development of a chronic health problem for fruit-eating humans as a side effect, it does not impact the well-being of fruiting plants. Also, I think there is a big difference between eating a whole-foods diet that includes fruits and eating a diet loaded with fructose extracts.

    • Des

      Thank you once again, this blog is immensely interesting!

      • Glad you’re enjoying the blog, Des. Clearly you are devouring every page like a PacWoman!

  • Des

    If some of us choose to still eat some fruit, are pomegranates worse since you’re eating the seed along with the flesh of the fruit?

    • As long as the seeds aren’t ground up or pulverized, the majority of fruit seeds pass through us relatively intact. Whole, intact seeds are relatively harmless.

  • Des

    Hi Dr. Ede, I have a client who forces herself to eat bananas for the potassium. Is potassium essential?

    • Potassium is essential, but it is found in just about all plant and animal foods, so dietary potassium deficiency is rare. However, some people are prone to deficiency for other reasons. The most common causes are certain diuretics, certain antibiotics, GI illness (vomiting and/or diarrhea), certain kidney diseases, and eating excessive amounts of licorice.

      • Des

        Thank you!

  • Des

    What do you think about vitamin C?

    I’ve heard of studies where patients who were gravely ill were given high doses of vitamin C and became cured. It’s also said to help with colds.

    Is there any vitamin C in animal foods? Is scurvy a threat we face if we don’t eat foods that contain this vitamin?

    • Yes, there is vitamin C in animal foods, and we only need 10 mg per day to prevent scurvy. The rest of your question has to do with the antioxidant properties of vitamin C. I’ll be writing more about antioxidant theory in the future.

      • Des

        Thank you

        Des Diamantopoulos,
        Certified Renaissance Exercise Instructor

        21 Camden St. #100
        Toronto ON M5V 1V5


        Sent from my iPad

  • Hi Dr. Ede, I had an allergy test done yesterday and found out I’m allergic to Citrus (along with trees, grass, weeds, and basically all the other environmental allergens) however the Citrus allergy was definitely a surprise because I assumed all of my food issues were probably intolerances. The doctor mentioned that I may find that nuts bother me because of the citrus allergy, but didn’t really explain himself. Are the families somehow related? He also said that raw vegetables and fruits in general may bother me since I am allergic to pollen and trees etc.. just confused now about all of this!

    • Hi Elaine

      I’m not an allergy specialist, so I would recommend that you consult again with your allergist for more specific guidance. However, I do know that allergies can be complicated due to cross-reactivity (i.e. the protein you are allergic to can look very similar to a seemingly unrelated protein from another food). I did look into your question out of curiosity and learned that citrus SEEDS contain an allergenic protein that cross-reacts with peanut allergen, and that tree/weed proteins can look similar to certain proteins in subsets of fruits and vegetables.

  • Rick Stewart

    Hi Dr Ead- I’m currently on a zero carb diet where I eat meats, fish, eggs, dairy, bone broth, offal, etc. I’m 46yo, 5″10, and 165lbs and feel great! But I’ve been wondering about adding fatty fruits to my diet such as avocado, nuts, and olives for no reason other than just variety of texture and portability. Do you see any nutritional benefit for me adding these fatty fruits or should I just leave well enough alone? Thanks.

    • Hi, Rick, and thanks for the great question!

      I doubt it is medically necessary or beneficial to add fatty fruits to this type of a zero carb diet, because, theoretically, the diet you describe should provide everything you need. This theory is supported by the fact that you are feeling so good. However, I am not aware of any experimental or historical evidence that can help us to understand the differences between those two dietary patterns. Based on everything I know about food, my opinion is that fruits are the second safest food group on earth (with animal foods being the safest), and low-carbohydrate fruits are the safest of all fruits, particularly for those with carbohydrate sensitivity/insulin resistance (which is the majority of us these days). Low carbohydrate fruits include avocados, olives, cucumbers.

      Nuts, however, are another story entirely (see grains/beans/nuts/seeds page). I do think there may be health risks associated with this food group, and therefore, if you were to try adding fatty fruits and nuts, I would recommend adding them separately so that you can evaluate how each food group affects you. Ideally, you’d even want to add each fruit individually, since avocado is a fruit eaten fresh, whereas olives are fruits eaten preserved, and they are from different plant families. If you decide to try any of these experiments, I would be very interested to hear how they go, if you’d care to share!

      • Rick Stewart

        Outstanding. I hadn’t thought about separating the fatty fruits based on fresh vs preserved, or classifying nuts separately but I suspect you’re right. Good points! :) I think I’ll stick to my current plan – It works. BTW, I really enjoy your site- it’s fair, logical, reasonable, and full of real science. Keep up the great work.

      • Rick Stewart

        Hi Dr Ede- Hope you are doing well. Over the last year or so, I’ve experimented with nuts, olives, and avocados. I’ve found I can’t do nuts because they cause carb cravings and give me horrible digestive distress- peanuts (and other legumes) cause terrible gastric pain and “other-ahem-issues” . Olives make me retain water. Avocados seem to be OK for me but don’t really add anything to my nutritional profile. Lately I’ve been trying to keep my daily protein down below 80gms so I’ve cut down the amount of meat I eat by about half but I’ve added low calorie, low carb vegetables. One thing I absolutely adore now is the humble radish- baked or stir fried in butter with salt and pepper- low carbs, high nutrient content and tastes GREAT! Also I take simple romaine lettuce and cook it in to about a half pound of bison with some butter, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. My favorite meal ever!

  • Melchior Meijer

    Dear Georgia,

    Many paleo folks – myself included – are fond of avocado’s. Recently one of my
    readers (a type 2 diabetic woman) mentioned that her blood sugars would rise and
    stay elevated for several days after consuming avocado’s. She then stopped
    eating them (blood glucose came down again). A quick search learned that avocoado’s contain an exotic sugar called mannoheptulose, which is known (and used) to block insulin secretion. If this is good or bad depends, of course, but since learning about this effect my fondness of avocado’s has chilled down a bit. I don’t know if you have
    addressed this yet. It seemed appropriate to mention it here. Curious what you think.

    • Hi Melchior,

      Avocado is a plant food I had not yet researched or written about myself, so I found your comment fascinating. I personally don’t tolerate avocado very well, so I don’t eat much of it. I found only one article on PubMed about mannoheptulose, and here is the abstract, which completely supports what you are saying (I have the whole article if you have any questions or do not have access to the article yourself):

      “Isotonic solution of MH was ingested by normal volunteers in 18 studies. MH
      caused significant though minor elevations in blood glucose between one and
      one-half and four hours after ingestion, without significant change in plasma
      insulin levels. Reduction of K values was noted when intravenous glucose was
      injected two hours after MH ingestion. Compared with control studies, there was
      also a reduction in the mean initial plasma insulin levels following glucose
      injection. No evidence of toxicity or unpleasant symptoms were noted at lower
      doses, but nausea and diarrhea were produced at a dose level of 20 gms. The
      quantity of MH excreted in the urine was not related to ingested dose. In a patient
      with islet cell carcinoma, the ingestion of 15 gms produced no clinically significant
      change, hypoglycemia developing at the time of peak blood MH concentration.Although orally administered MH is unlikely to have any clinical value, it has been demonstrated to exert effects in man similar to those noted in animal preparations.” (Johnson & Wolff. Trial of Mannoheptulose in Man. Metabolism 19: No. 5, May, 354-362, 1970)

      • Jo tB

        Hi Dr Ede, I am the woman who Melchior is referring to. He put the link to the article on his site, which is why I got to know about it. What struck me is that Mannoheptulose suppresses insuline excretion. And I am taking tablets to increase insuline secretion. No wonder my body was confused as to what it should do. My Sugar levels stayed higher every day and that obviously had its effect on my HBa1C reading. That went up and so my doctor’s response was to increase my medication (Catch-22 situation). And as far as I was concerned, it was having absolutely NO effect on my Sugar levels. I was eating avocados 5 out of 7 days a week, so you can imagine what that did to my overall Sugar levels. Luckily I test my Sugar levels every day, so I noticed the change in my meter readings. And after wondering what I was doing differently than a year ago, and the answer was regularly eating avocados. When I stopped it took about 4 days to come back to normal. I started having hypos every other day, and so had to reduce my medications. I am one experience richer.

        • Hi Jo
          I really appreciate your sharing this experience here with us–it is very valuable and intriguing! I hope it will help others who may be having similar issues with avocado. We are all one experience richer because of you:)

  • Terri D

    I’ve only begun skimming the site, and I may have missed it. But what about salicylates in fruits? It seems they are problematic for some. Hope you are great and all is well!

    • Hi Terri
      You are correct that I have not yet written about salicylates, and yes, you are absolutely right, they can be culprits for some of us. I will write about them in the future, I promise! There is some information about salicylates in my blog post about ADHD and food sensitivities.

      • Terri D

        Sounds good! Thanks! I just remember salicylates because for some reason, when I started my search, it seems the “Failsafe Diet” kept coming up over and over on Google! It was the first thought I ever had about food beyond typical IgE mediated food allergies! So that book is still on my shelf as a reminder of the beginning of this interesting path. Okay. I need to read the vegetable post next, as I’m a big fan of those–agree with me better than fruit for now (and currently undergoing the GAPS experiment here myself and those are a big part of that).

  • Stephy

    if one would be having problems with Fruits one would have to notice that on blood-sugar levels or where ? My Hba1c levels used to be 4,7 on a high Protein diet and r now (only eating fruits and veggies … also eating 100 g of avocado per day…just to be mentiond coz i read the comment of someone here saying avo raises bloodsugar?) 4,0 . …. so that means i dont have problems with a lot of fruits right ?

    • Hi Stephy
      We are each different in our ability to tolerate carbohydrates. It sounds as if your tolerance for fruit is pretty good–at least compared to mine:) I don’t know what else you were eating on your high protein diet but whatever you are doing now is at least better for your blood sugar levels. Too much protein can certainly turn into too much sugar in the body.

  • Stephy

    i have noticed that i have problems with Fruits like apple, nectarines, peaches and pears. But bananas, melons, mango etc dont cause me digestive wise any problems. I have also measured my blood-sugar levels short after eating fruits…. no raise. NEVER above 100 …. mostly just 80-90 (if even) ….

  • What’s your thoughts on the Low FODMAP diet?

  • Afshin

    if we cook fruits then the sugar alcohol is not problem even for IBS-D.

  • Ria

    No evidence to require fruits? Why then do we have a sweet tooth? Why are we drawn visually to eat fruits?

    • Leandro Oliveira

      I wish she had answered this… Because since we naturally have sweet tooth, shouldn’t we follow our instincts? (Natural!) sweet foods makes me thing that we should eat them. Actually, if we didn’t eat them, we would just ignore them as we ignore a mere rock on the sidewalk. They are very attractive for us not like their leaves or root. They want to be spread and we are an excellent transport for them. For example, I think a lion doesn’t care at all about fruit, so he doesn’t eat them.

      • Hello, Leandro (and Ria)

        My apologies to Ria for not answering last year; I had an unexpected increase in work responsibilities in my psychiatry position last year which were finally reduced last summer, so there were quite a few comments from last year that I never had the time to respond to.

        These are great questions–there is no biological evidence that humans require fruit in order to survive, thrive, or be healthy. However, yes, we do absolutely have a sweet tooth and are naturally drawn to fruits and all other sweet foods (unfortunately). Fruits are an excellent source of energy and are relatively safe for us to eat, so I suppose from an evolutionary standpoint, it would make sense for us to be drawn to them. But this lion question is so good–I had to look into it a little more. I found a nice article in Scientific American that explains that cats are the only mammals who can’t taste sweet:

        It may be that, like alcohol and other plant-derived substances like cocaine that are clearly not healthy for us, just because we want something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for us. It could also be that plants are exploiting us for our sweet tooth weakness. But I think the most likely explanation is that, as omnivores, we evolved to take advantage of available calorie sources that were least likely to harm us–meats and fruits. We evolved a bitter taste receptor to avoid plant foods that could potentially harm us, like many stems, roots, leaves, and bark.

        • Leandro Oliveira

          Hi Dr. Ede,

          First of all, I’m really thankful and honored for your deep attention and answer. Really thank you.

          “like alcohol and other plant-derived substances like cocaine that are clearly not healthy for us”

          I think our body clearly tells us that alcohol, for instance, is something that we don’t want it. At least, everyone has this little story about alcohol: firstly it tasted really bad. Then, eventually, we adapt to the taste, but if we think, there was clearly a message from our body when I taste it for the first time.The same example can be applied to a baby that eat something bitter. He doesn’t like it. Of course, babies are not a scientific proof, but I find them a good example sometimes.

          “just because we want something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for us. It could also be that plants are exploiting us for our sweet tooth weakness.”

          However, it’s interesting to consider that the main ingredients in mother’s milk are fats and sugars. If sugar wasn’t that appropriate for us. the Mother Nature would want us killed as soon as we are born

Last Modified: Dec 3, 2015