The Truth on Fruit & Fructose

A controversial topic in nutrition is wether fruit, specifically the sugar in fruit, posses similar health consequences as table sugar. People in the media often say things like “sugar is sugar” and “sugar turns to fat.” Although I will admit that people need to focus less on refined sugar but eating a whole carbohydrate source like a banana is just not the same as eating a candy bar.

One of the biggest reasons why fruit has gotten a bad reputation in today’s society is because of its association with fructose, the major sugar found in fruit. Fructose, just like glucose, share the same amount of atoms per molecule, 6 carbons, 12 hydrogens, and 6 oxygens. Unlike glucose, fructose is primarily metabolized in the liver, where it is phosphorylated on the 1-position and bypasses the rate-limiting step of phosphofructokinase (Bray, 2007). This later leads to the formation of triglycerides and lipogenesis (Bray, 2007). Fructose has also been suggested to induce hepatic fibrosis (Kohli, et al., 2010). However, some evidence show that these harmful effects are due to the consumption of industrial fructose and not fructose from fruit (Petta, et al., 2013). So is fruit the problem or just refined sugar?

Another reason why there is a stigma regarding fruit sugar is that people believe it will cause blood sugar issues just as refined sugar might. However, this is not the case with eating whole fruit. One study looked at the effects of glucose and insulin concentrations during 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 minutes after ingesting 35g of sucrose in 300mL of water, also known as table sugar, versus ingesting 35g of sucrose with 150g pureed berries or 300mL of nectar (Riitta, et al., 2012). The study concluded that the group that ingested the sugar with the berries had an improved glycemic profile (Riitta, et al., 2012). This was very interesting because the group that ingested the berries also ingested more carbohydrates in total. The authors stated that other studies found polyphenols and polyphenol-rich extracts to inhibit the digestion and the absorption of sugars and suppress postprandial glycemia (Riitta, et al., 2012).

In addition to the polyphenols found in fruit, fiber has also been shown to make a difference when it comes to the absorption of sugar. One study found dietary fiber, specifically soluble fiber, may reduce postprandial glucose by making the food in the GI tract thicker thus making it more difficult for the release and absorption of the sugar (Riitta, et al., 2012). This may also explain how another study found less insulin to be required for the maintenance of normal or improved postprandial glucose metabolism when white bread was consumed with berries (Riitta, et al., 2013).

So I suppose this means one should go for blueberry pancakes over regular ones, right? All I am suggesting is that whole foods most likely will have a different affect on the body than its refined counterparts. Although biochemistry may suggest a mechanism, we most likely will not see the same results as produced in a lab as people eat a combination of foods and within those foods contain a variety of nutrients. I believe the community that is affected the most by controversies like these are those who are suffering with weight and/or blood sugar issues. People may be avoiding healthy, whole fruits because they are scared that the sugar will make them gain weight and/or spike their blood glucose levels. This can be emotionally devastating for an individual who is determined to find success on their journey but are told to avoid fruits because they are high in sugar. Fruits, ideally whole fruits, are a perfect package of nutrients and simply looking at them as “sugars” or “carbohydrates” does not do them justice.

References

Bray, G. A. (2007). How bad is fructose? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86(4). Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/4/895.full

Kohli, R., Kirby, M., Xanthakos, S. A., Softic, S., Feldstein, A. E., Saxena, V., Tang, P. H., Miles, L., Miles, M.V., Balistreri, W. F., Woods, S. C., Seeley, R. J. (2010). High-fructose, medium chain trans fat diet induces liver fibrosis and elevates plasma coenzyme Q9 in a novel murine model of obesity and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Hepatology, 52(3). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hep.23797/abstract

Petta, S., Marchesini, G., Caracausi, L., Macaluso, F. S., Camma, C., Ciminnisi, S., Cabibi, D., Porcasi, R., Craxi, A., Marco, V. D. (2013). Industrial, not fruit fructose intake is associated with the severity of liver fibrosis in genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C patients. Journal of Hepatology, 59(6). Retrieved from http://www.journal-of-hepatology.eu/article/S0168-8278(13)00553-9/abstract

Riitta, T., Kolehmainen, M., Sarkkinen, E., Mykkanen, H., Niskanen, L. (2012). Postprandial glucose, insuline, and free fatty acid responses to sucrose consumed with blackcurrants and lingonberries in healthy women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96(3). http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/96/3/527.long

Riitta, T., Kolehmainen, M., Sarkkinen, E., Poutanen, K., Mykkanen, H., Niskanen, L. (2013). Berries reduce postprandial insulin responses to wheat and rye breads in healthy women. The Journal of Nutrition, 143(4). Retrieved from http://jn.nutrition.org/content/143/4/430.long

Why I Advocate a Vegan Diet & Life

The diet I eat is a 100% plant based diet that is primarily composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. I have been eating this way for almost 4 years now. I adopted a plant based diet when I started looking into the different ways I could improve my health and athletic performance. Not too long after, I decided to become a vegan once I learned about the benefits it had on the environment and the animals, even though nothing really changed about my diet. Since then, I have decided to become a strong advocate for this way of living.

Many people are skeptical when it comes to the health benefits of a plant based diet. There are many myths out there that claim vegan diets are not healthy or optimal. However, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans included vegan diets under their “Examples of Other Healthy Eating Patterns” and stated that plant based diets meet all nutrient standards of the Healthy U.S. Style Pattern as well as scoring higher in calcium and dietary fiber (HHS and USDA, 2015). The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also stated that a vegan diet is nutritionally adequate, appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, and may prevent and treat certain type of diseases (Craig, et al., 2009). I personally have noticed many benefits from eating this way such weight loss, improved digestion, and increased energy levels. A whole food, plant based diet that contains little or no processed foods is best package of the vital nutrients our bodies require in order to be healthy.

Eating a plant based diet does not just provide health benefits. Switching from a “standard American diet” that contains a lot of animal products and processed foods can also significantly help lower one’s carbon footprint. The World Watch Institute stated that animal agriculture contributes to 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than all transportation combined (Goodland, et al., 2011). Livestock also requires a lot of water. About 56% of the water used in the U.S. is for growing feed crops for livestock (Jacobson, et al., 2006). Animal agriculture has had a negative impact on the environment as well. Approximately 91% of the Amazon’s destruction has been due to cattle ranching (The World Bank, 2004). It is very difficult justifying this after learning about all of the resources animal agriculture requires.

I think a big and undeniable argument for eating a vegan diet is the impact that it has on the animals. It is estimated that more than 6 million animals are killed for food every hour (A Well-Fed World, n.d.). This is not something I really gave much thought to before I went vegan. However, once I realized that eating a plant based diet can be healthy and benefit the environment, I could not justify the unnecessary death of an animal. Being the care taker of four animals, I had to extend my circle of compassion to all living beings.

Justifying this way of eating, and this way of living, is very simple. It is one of the most gratifying feelings knowing that the choices I make have such a positive impact on my health, the environment, and the animals. We all have the power to make a difference and it starts with what is on your plate.

References

Craig, W.J., Mangels, A.R., American Dietetic Association. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets, 109(7): 1266-82. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

Goodland, R., Anhang, J. (2011). Livestock and Climate Change. Retrieved from http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6294

Jacobson, M., Center for Science in the Public Interest. (2006). Six Arguments for a Greener Diet. Retrieved from http://www.cspinet.org/EatingGreen/pdf/arguments4.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). (2015). 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Retrieved from http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/examples-of-other-healthy-eating-patterns/#vegetarian

A Well-Fed World. (n.d.). Factory Farms. Retrieved from http://www.awfw.org/factory-farms/

The World Bank. (2004). Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2004/02/02/000090341_20040202130625/Rendered/PDF/277150PAPER0wbwp0no1022.pdf

Riding the Festive 500 on a 100% Vegan Diet

A photo posted by Bananiac (@bananiac) on

The Festive 500 is a Strava/Rapha cycling challenge where participants must ride 500 km (311 miles) between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. This is how I did it on a vegan diet.

A photo posted by Bananiac (@bananiac) on

Prior to the Festive 500, I had not even done 500 km IN A MONTH! The most miles I had ridden was 388 km (241 miles) and that was in July 2014. So this event was quite a big step forward for me as a cyclist.

A photo posted by Bananiac (@bananiac) on

Not only was I able to ride more miles in a month but I was also able to beat my last record of 97 miles in a day. On day 4 of my Festive 500 challenge, I rode 180 km (112 miles) which is equivalent to the cycling leg of an Ironman Triathlon. It came down to making sure I was eating enough calories, mostly from GoMacro BarsClif Energy Gels, and Clif Energy Bloks, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep. A good shower at the end of the day was also quite nice 😉

  A photo posted by Bananiac (@bananiac) on

I am AMAZED as to what the body is capable of when you provide it with the right nutrition & care. It has only been 1.5 year (8/2013) since I have started cycling and over 2.5 years (4/2012) since I changed my diet. I am so thankful for how far I have come. I give all the credit to my whole food, plant-based diet & vegan lifestyle for all the incredible changes I have experienced, both on and off the bike.

Ariana Grande Weight Loss Transformation on a Vegan Diet

Actress & singer, Ariana Grande, has been getting a lot of attention lately about her weight loss journey over past year. Many people have been accusing the 21-year old of being anorexic and having an eating disorder. Although the young girl who starred in Nickelodeon’s Victorious did not have a lot of weight to lose, she is without a doubt a lot leaner and thinner now as an adult. Ariana gave this statement in the Daily Mail about the accusations:

“Yes, I lost a bit of weight last year. It’s because I stopped eating junk food and started making healthy choices. I was happy with the way I was before and I’m still happy now! Just healthier!”

 

There is absolutely NO way someone with such demanding responsibilities can afford to starve themselves. Her dietary changes undoubtedly have helped her shed off the excess pounds. Ariana has ditched her traditional Italian/American diet and has embraced a 100% plant-based (vegan) diet.

By eating a vegan diet, not only has Ariana been able to load up on fruits & veggies but she has also decreased her overall fat intake from animal & processed foods. This is KEY for losing weight as the fat you eat is the fat you wear! A great resource for anyone who is looking to transition to the plant-based lifestyle and wants to do it right is the evidence-based documentary Forks Over KnivesSo if you want to get lean like Ariana Grande, ditch the meat & dairy and EMBRACE the plants!

Bananiac goes to DC VegFest 2014!

So finally went to my first DC VegFest and I had a blast! DC VegFest did a great job this year hosting a variety of great cruelty-free vendors that provided great food, clothing, vegan pet food, entertainment, speakers, advocacy groups, and much more. Ate a bunch of good vegan food. Mostly from a vendor called the Vegetable Garden. AMAZING vegan chinese food! Listened to some great speakers such as Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Betty Smith, Robin Quivers, and many more. Also, interviewed Dr. Barnard for my YouTube channel Symposium Films! Met some cool vegan advocates & bodybuilders such as Robert Cheeke and Derek Tresize. Seriously, recommend checking out DC VegFest if you are vegan, vegetarian, or just veg curious. Go #vegan!

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Free Stuff from DC VegFest 2014

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From Vegetable Garden at DC VegFest 2014

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From Vegetable Garden at DC VegFest 2014

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Bananiac & Robert Cheeke at DC VegFest 2014

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Derek Tresize & Bananiac at DC VegFest 2014

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Robin Quivers at DC VegFest 2014

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Dr. Betty Smith & Bananiac at DC VegFest 2014

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With #Bananiac fan Christy at DC VegFest 2014

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With #Bananiac fan Dan at DC VegFest 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about DC VegFest, please visit www.dcvegfest.com. We’ll see ya there next year!

2015 VEGAN DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS?!

▶ 2015 VEGAN DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS?!

Every 5 years, the United States Department of Agriculture published new and updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans that reflect what Americans should be consuming. This is a clip from the full length testimonial video of some health professionals who state their arguments for a plant-based diet to be considered for the new dietary guidelines. Will the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans lean towards a more healthy whole food, plant based vegan diet? A lot of people such as Susan Levin (PCRM), Dr. Michael Greger (nutritionfacts.org), and Ted Barnett, thought so.

“Let Food Be Thy Medicine” ~ Hippocrates, Father of Medicine ☤

Introducing Symposium Films

Introducing my second YouTube channel, Symposium Films.

Symposium Films is going to be centered around conversations, interviews, and lectures about the benefits of a plant-based diet/vegan lifestyle. The symposium will be lead by bananiac as he speaks with many leaders in the vegan movement to provide the general public with logos and reason of why this diet and lifestyle is the solution to the suffering of the health of the people, the animals, and the planet.

Featured speakers will include Dr. John McDougall, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Douglas Graham, Durianrider, Freelee, Mac Danzig, Alan & Janette Murray, Adam Russell, and many more. If there is someone who you would like to see on this channel, simply post your request in the comments section.

Also, be sure to check out the Bananiac YouTube channel for more videos on the vegan lifestyle!

FDA Nutrition Facts Food Label to Promote High Fat Diet?

A lot of exciting things happened this week for the vegan and nutrition world. First, Chipotle has announced that they are going to make the Sofritas available national to every retail restaurant. Always excited to hear about restaurants promoting more vegan and plant-based options for their customers. This greatly helps reduce meat and animal protein intake, which is related to many diseases.

An article in The New York Times stated that rates of obesity among 2- to 5-year old children has dropped by 43% in the past decade! An increase in breast feeding and fruit & vegetable intake, as well as a decrease in sugary drinks, fruit juices, eggs, and cheese intake was credited for the change in childhood obesity.

The most exciting news was the FDA’s new revision of the Nutrition Facts label, which would be implemented into the system within a two year time span. The new label is supposed to have a bigger emphasis on calories and serving sizes, as well as the addition of “added sugars”, “vitamin D”, and “potassium.” I do agree that added sugars on the label is a great idea, as well as adding potassium since 98% of Americans are deficient in this nutrient. However, they are proposing to remove “calories from fat”, “vitamin A”, and “vitamin C.” In my opinion, I think the way the FDA is revising the new label is going to targeting a low carb, high fat foods, as well as fortified foods. Unfortunately, we will not know the final version of the label until it is released.