Going Primal Day 28: Juice and Dried Fruit

So, we’ve talked about sugar. And carbs. And insulin. We’ve talked about how berries, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, and grapefruits are better fruit choices than melons, mangoes, papayas, and citrus fruits.

What else is there to learn, really?

Well, just like not all fruit is created equal, fruit comes to us in lots of different forms that are not created equal either. Just because dried fruit and fruit juice can be created from the “good fruit” list does not necessarily make them the best snack choices.

Dried Fruit

The good thing about dried fruit is that the drying process only takes out the water content of the fruit, leaving behind plenty of fiber and nutrients. The bad thing about dried fruit is that the drying process takes out all the water, leaving behind plenty of sugar and a much smaller snack than its fresh original. It is very easy to eat double or even triple the amount of dried fruit than you would fresh fruit, which also means you are then ingesting double and triple the amount of sugar.

On top of that, many dried fruits have added, processed sugars to make them even tastier. Dried berries seem to be the worst culprits here, so ALWAYS read the nutrition and ingredient labels before buying a bag of your favorite dried fruit. I have found some pretty delightful dried cherries at Trader Joe’s and dried apricots at Costco that don’t have added sugar; I don’t frequent Whole Foods often because of their prices, but I’m sure they do too.

Fruit Juice

On the other end of the spectrum, we have fruit juice. Fruit juice, like its dried counterpart, still has lots of vitamins but maintains the water content of the fruit. However, in juicing, you lose the fiber from the “meat” of the fruit which aids in digestion and helps stabilize insulin levels. Mark Sisson says it best: “Juice is not fruit. That is like saying broth is chicken.” They just aren’t the same. Unfortunately, even when you are 100% drinking fruit juice, not some dyed and sugared “juice drink”, its essentially just vitamin enriched sugar water. (Note: I’m just talking about juice fruits, not juicing vegetables. That’s a whole other Primal pool of knowledge that I have yet to dive into.)

If you really love juice, like my husband does, a better alternative would be to either make a home-made fruit smoothie  or find a 100% fruit smoothie at the grocery that is made from fruit puree instead of fruit juice or concentrate. Fruit smoothies don’t have the same thin, smooth texture, but it will allow you to drink your fruit instead of eating it, if that’s your thing. We have been buying Naked brand fruit smoothies in “Blue Machine” flavor.

While Naked smoothies have a much higher fiber content than juice (about 30% of your daily needs in an 8oz serving), they still have a high sugar content (I mean, that same 8-oz serving of Blue Machine has 14 blueberries, a blackberry, over one full apple, and half a banana!), so it should still be drank in moderation, or perhaps how John Mark does it, one swig or two straight from the jug a day 🙂

Tomorrow: Primal fruit recipes!

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