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Fruit, How bad is it really?

Yesterday was my cheat day, and the only cheat foods that I had was a smoked baked potato, cantelope and some popcorn in the evening.

(I decided to have a rather tame cheat day because my wife isn't feel well and we really couldn't enjoy it anyway. I also wanted to see if a tame cheat day will help me break thru a stall.)

While I was eating the cantelope with my steak, asparagus and potato dinner, I began to wonder how bad is fruit really? This is about the only time of year that I really enjoy eating fruit when the melons, berries and especially cherries come into season.

So, I guess my question is, how bad would it be to have a serving of fruit once a day with dinner?


The Best Answer

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ebacklund: I recently posted this to my support group:

From Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat: “When we digest the carbohydrates in starches, they eventually enter our bloodstream as glucose. Blood sugar increases, insulin is secreted, and calories are stored as fat. When we digest sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, much of the glucose ends up in the general circulation, raising our blood sugar levels. The fructose, however, is metabolized almost exclusively in the liver, which has the necessary enzymes to do it. So fructose has no immediate effect on our blood sugar and insulin levels, but the key word is “immediate” -- it has plenty of long-term effects.

The human body, and particularly the liver, never evolved to handle the kind of fructose load we get in modern diets. Fructose exists in fruits in relatively small quantities -- thirty calories in a cup of blueberries, for instance. (Some fruit, though, as I’ll discuss later, has been bred for generations to increase its fructose content.) There are 80 calories’ worth in a twelve-ounce can of Pepsi or Coke. Twelve ounces of apple juice has 85 calories of fructose. Our livers respond to this flood of fructose by turning much of it into fat and shipping it to our fat tissue. This is why even forty years ago biochemists referred to fructose as the most “lipogenic” carbohydrate -- it’s the one we convert to fat most readily. Meanwhile, the glucose that comes with the fructose raises blood sugar levels and stimulates insulin secretion and puts the fat cells in the mode to store whatever calories come their way -- including the fat generated in the liver from the fructose.

The more of these sugars we consume, and the longer we have them in our diet, the more our bodies apparently adapt by converting them to fat. Our “pattern of fructose metabolism” changes with time….. So, even though fructose has no immediate effect on blood sugar and insulin, over time -- maybe a few years -- it is a likely cause of insulin resistance and thus the increased storage of calories as fat. The needle on our fuel-partitioning gauge will point toward fat storage, even if it didn’t start out that way.”

Gretchen: THIS IS WHY, when eating so “healthy” (so I thought) by eating fresh fruit every day in addition to my vegetarian diet devoid of fast foods etc [NOTE: that was pre-SCD!], I lost only ONE stinking pound in 3 months! Fruit is NOT a help when one is as seriously overweight as I am, because the hormones and receptors are very messed up and we will not use that fruit in the same way that an already-healthy person would.

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This is a good article explaining the effects of insulin on the body. At the same time, it has a section where it explain HOW fructose affects insulin and liver and why we should limit it.


Hope this helps and hope that next cheat day is more enjoyable! :)

  • Gretchen Linden commented Jun 3rd 2012:

    hyperzx: FANTASTIC article! And from a site I had not heard of. Thank you for posting this. :-D

  • hyperzx commented Jun 3rd 2012:

    Charles Poliquin is a strength training coach and his site has a broad range or articles for nutrition and workout. He has several articles that promote limiting fast-digesting carbs and also discusses the effect of gluten on the body.



    and here are some of his previous articles,


    Good read and some include references (which I like) :)


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Depends on your goals and which fruits you're talking about. If you're prepping for a string bikini photo shoot in 3 weeks and/or you're the kind of person who freaks out when loss slows a little bit, then I wouldn't try it.

If you're in SCD for the long haul, and can deal with the possibility of slightly slower progress, then go ahead and experiment.

Which fruits also make a difference:

In-season fresh-picked berries (blueberries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries) in moderation (start with 1/2 cup) = worth a try

Out of season super sugary bananas, pineapples, etc. = save for cheat day

I'm not sure where melon falls on the spectrum, so I have been leaving it for cheat day for now, but I have had some in-season strawberries and cherries. Delicious. I'm in this for the long haul and am ecstatic about my slow, steady, sustainable progress I'm naturally more active in summer (shoveling and weeding the gardens, commuter cycling) so I think I can handle the little extra from a small serving of fruit.

Try it and post your results!


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I would check the nutrition for each fruit you want to eat, and weigh your options.

One cup that contains:

60 calories

1.6g fiber

13.9 g sugar


One cup that contains:

54 calories

5.2g fiber

2.2g sugar

The first is cantaloupe, the second is broccoli. If most of the calories are coming from sugar, it's best to avoid that food except for cheat day. I have a small fruit orchard though, and I will eat some fruit as it ripens, but I will also admit that during those times, I stalled. So I'd consider it okay during maintenance but not appropriate if you're determined to lose weight.

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