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[Comments] (8) Grapefruit Riot: I've told this story before, but when I was a kid my father would eat grapefruit halves for breakfast and I thought it disgusting. But recently I had the other half of a grapefruit my mother ate and it was still disgusting but not after I'd put sugar on it. Previously even sugar was not enough to disguise the foul taste of the grapefruit, but with sugar it was pretty good. Now I eat grapefruit all the time, though I don't yet have a special spoon for it. I guess your taste buds do change as you get older.

Then I started thinking about sugar and fruit in general and got totally lost. Why exactly is fruit good for you? I have been eating more fruit than I used to to satisfy my sweet tooth, but that's because it's chock full of fructose. The sugar named after fruit.

Obviously a mango is better than a slime moldcandy bar, because in addition to sugar the mango has fiber and vitamin chemicals, while the candy bar has fat and preservative chemicals. But is the mango really a good nutritional investment in an absolute sense? And what about fruit juice? This canned (bleah) 100% fruit juice on my desk says 180 calories and 37 grams of sugar. That's more calories and more sugar than a can of ginger ale. What does the fruit juice have that moves it from the tiny space on the top of the food pyramid into the middle?

I tried to figure this out with web searches but all I got was people telling me to eat fruit. I'm eating fruit! I just want to know what's in the fruit that makes it so great.

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Posted by Susie at Thu Mar 31 2005 14:46

Fruit is much better for you than fruit juice, mostly because of the fiber, and potential added sugars. It's the actual fruit with the fiber in it.

As for why fruit is better than a candy bar, you hit it right on- fiber and vitamins. Also, it has much fewer calories. If you eat a candy bar, you'll get full and, while your caloric intake is fine (probably too much even), you are wasting calories on food with little nutritional value. Sugar isn't bad, it's just usually found in foods high in calories and low in nutrition.

Posted by Leonard at Thu Mar 31 2005 14:51

So would you say that I should drink water instead of fruit juice if I already eat fruit, so as to consume fewer calories?

Posted by Susie at Thu Mar 31 2005 15:49


Posted by Leonard at Thu Mar 31 2005 15:51

Now fruit makes sense! Thank you, Susanna!

Posted by Josh Myer at Thu Mar 31 2005 20:08

On the Ginger Ale vs Fruit Juice debate, the issue is High Fructose Corn Syrup Considered Harmful. The gist of it is: high quantities of fructose can seriously harm your metabolism. Despite what cautious people say, there is evidence of a positive correlation between corn syrup and diabetes, etc. If you just google around, you'll find lots of nutcases, but a fair number of lucid anti-HFCS info.

This, combined with the nastiness of caffeine, is why I'm perpetually in a state of quitting soda or lapsing in my most recent attempt to quit.

Posted by Brian Danger Hicks at Thu Mar 31 2005 21:10

You should eat mroe fruit!

Posted by Leonard at Thu Mar 31 2005 21:35

I must have this exotic "mroe-fruit" of which you speak!


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