What is bad or good for you to eat? It can be hard to know sometimes

Health and Fitness Advice

It seems like you can’t turn on your TV or open your social media without being bombarded with some program or article lambasting you with views that some sort of food is 'bad for you'; often with very one-sided views and ulterior motives.

Somewhere along the line, we even had a pop at fruit and decided, you know what, that Granny Smith is the reason you can’t lose weight!! You may even have been told this yourself at some stage.

I know I’ve worked with people in the past who are genuinely afraid of eating fruit after being told that the fructose content (the sugar found in fruit ) gets stored as fat. They’ve been told that if they stood any chance of progress, the poor auld Granny Smith needed to get the chop!! This wasn’t even from some mad lad off the internet either. It was from nutritionists and personal trainers. No wonder people get confused when it comes to fitness and nutrition.

So where does it all stem from? Fructose from fruit goes to your liver first to be converted to glucose and then your body can use this glucose for energy. If your liver glycogen stores are full, fructose will then be stored as body fat. However, liver glycogen stores will only be full if you are not regularly exercising and eating a calorie controlled diet.

The reason fructose gets a bad rap lies in the fact that it’s a sweet, naturally-occurring sugar that gets added to a lot of processed foods (sweets, sugary drinks etc ) to increase the sweetness and palatability. This obviously makes these foods easier to consume and can potentially increase your overall calorie intake. And we all know what happens if we consistently eat in a surplus - we gain body fat.

Also, we need to not overlook all the other benefits to fruit that we haven’t even mentioned yet. Fruits contain an array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibre which all contribute towards better health markers.

So it’s not fructose (or fruit ) in itself that may be the problem, but the combination of regularly over-consuming calories through food and drink and being inactive on a daily basis. Herein lies the issue and not with your fruit of choice.

The same goes for people who blame carbs in their diet as a reason for lack of progress. The lens of scrutiny is pointed at the wrong target.

Instead of blaming a food type or even a macronutrient (protein, fats or carbs ), the focus should be averted towards the quality of your diet as a whole.

Micheál Penston is the Head Coach at FM Fitness & Nutrition based in Westport, Co Mayo. They specialize in helping busy men and women to create the healthiest versions of themselves through educating and empowering around all areas of their lifestyle from fitness, nutrition, recovery and behaviours. You can grab a FREE copy of the 5 Stage Health & Fitness Kickstarter or find out more about their online and in person coaching methods at www.fmfitnessnutrition.com or social media handles @fmfitnessnutrition


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