Sep 252015

I know lots of people who juice apples and oranges along with their veggies, to make the juice taste sweeter. Most juice bars do it, too — the menus hanging over the juice bar include apples in most recipes.

I always say, “No apples, please.” Here’s why:

Fruits have more sugar than vegetables. Yes, it’s natural sugar, but by juicing the fruits, I’m concentrating that sugar in a cup. I’m also removing something super-important that slows down the body’s absorption of that sugar: fiber.

In contrast, if I eat whole fruit, the fiber helps prevent it from causing a huge insulin spike. It’s also a lot harder to eat five apples than it is to drink the juice of five apples — and it takes longer to eat them, which slows down sugar absorption even more!

(As a side note, even one apple has about 15 grams of sugar, which is at the top end of what I like to consume in one sitting. And 15 x 5 = 75, which is way more than I allowed myself to eat in any normal day at the outset.)

Now let’s switch tracks and talk about vegetables. Because they are an entirely different story.

In general, vegetables tend to contain less sugar than fruits and more cancer-fighting compounds. Even beets, which have a lot of sugar, have been shown to help the liver work better. Carrots come with boatloads of natural beta carotene, which I’d much rather have than a supplement (synthetic beta carotene can actually harm smokers, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest). Spinach, celery and lots of other greens have relatively little sugar and are even more packed with cancer-fighters. THIS is the stuff I want to concentrate in a cup.

(Another side note: My doctor advised me it was better to lightly steam cruciferous veggies like broccoli and kale, rather than juicing huge quantities of them raw, because of possible thyroid effects.)

So early on in my cancer recovery, I decided to adhere to a simple principle: Eat fruits, juice veggies.

This simple principle served me well (at least, I think it did, since I’m still here!).

After about six months, I did start including low-sugar fruit smoothies in my program. Smoothies are different from juices because they involve throwing the entire fruit in a blender and liquefying it – but it still contains all of the natural fiber. So I’d go to my neighborhood health food store and order a coconut smoothie with an entire pack of organic red raspberries. This was a delicious treat that didn’t send my blood sugar spiking upward.

There was one exception to my no-fruit-juice rule: Periodically, I’d drink a lot of apple juice in the lead-up to a liver flush, or I’d do a two-day juice fast with orange, grapefruit and lemon juice. Yes, I did liver flushes and juice fasts — and I still do them. But for the vast majority of the time — for 340 days of the year — I eat fruits and juice veggies.

What are your practices? Do you juice fruits and think it’s awesome? Do you have a favorite veggie combo? Let me know — I’m listening!

Mar 252011

This post is in initial build-out status and may change.

General Information: Wikipedia entry

Studied Uses: General health

General Health

Fructose Evidence Summary - General Health -

Overall Score: -2.25

Behind the Score: The preponderance of studies show various negative effects from fructose consumption, although the score is not staggeringly negative because most studies to date have been animal 1 or in vitro 2 studies, with the notable exception of a small double-blinded parallel-arm study 3 (which showed a link to visceral fat and decreased insulin sensitivity) and a large cohort study 4 (which showed a possible link to gout). Moreover, it’s becoming conventional wisdom that high-fructose corn syrup is unhealthy 5, despite counter-arguments of the Corn Refiners Association. But what about whole fruits, fruit juices and sweeteners like agave nectar? The answer is complicated. (See the “Warnings and Special Notes” and “What Can I Do?” sections below.)

Warnings and Special Notes: A recent in vitro study 6 showed that fructose fed pancreatic cancer cells — so even organic or raw fructose-based sweeteners do not seem like such a “free pass” anymore 7. To minimize fructose, the answer seems simple: Favor low-fructose vegetables and fruits, and avoid high-fructose products. Note: To reduce pesticide and GM food exposure, eat organic fruits and vegetables.

What Now? Further study is definitely warranted, as the pancreatic-cancer study mentioned above was in vitro and did not involve human subjects. In general, most studies performed to date have found fructose has negative effects in animals, in vitro, and in humans.

What Can I Do? Keep eating whole fruits — they are widely acknowledged to have far more benefits than drawbacks. If you’re concerned about sugar intake, refer to the fructose chart and choose fruits that have relatively low amounts. (Note: Cancer patients may want to read the Warnings and Special Notes section above.) Compared to whole fruits, fruit juices contain relatively large amounts of sugars and much less fiber, so choosing whole fruits instead is probably a better choice.

Regarding sweeteners, regular table sugar is about 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. High-fructose corn syrup often has either 42 or 55 percent fructose 8 (plus, it is often made from genetically modified corn), and agave nectar can range from about 56 to 92 percent fructose 9. With regard to fructose-heavy sweeteners such as agave nectar, used in many raw and/or vegan food products, some in moderation may be acceptable unless further studies show definite negative effects. Proponents cite agave nectar’s low glycemic index, which means it doesn’t affect blood glucose as much as table sugar. However, use caution if you have or had cancer. If you would rather avoid agave nectar and fructose in general, there are (imperfect) alternatives, such as stevia and xylitol.