10

votes

Apples = "bags of sugar"?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 25, 2010 at 5:26 PM

I had been reading around online, and came across the "Get Started" page on PaleoNu.com. -- number 10 on the list that Kurt Harris has created caught me by surprise.

"Most modern fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Go easy on bags of sugar like apples."

I'm not saying he's wrong -- I'm actually trying to see what the consensus is. I generally eat 1-2 Granny Smith apples per day (we always have them at my restaurant) and up until this point regarded them as a healthy snack and alternative to other crap I could be eating.

Should this mean that one should solely eat organic apples? Not bother with apples at all? I feel that the only sugars I'm ingesting now are natural ones from fruit.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 02, 2012
at 06:15 PM

So why don't I get fat when I eat lots of apples??? I don't understand why someone has to get fat to tolerate cold. When I was heavier, I actually had way more problems with the cold : wounded hands etc. Going low-carb gives me a sensation of warmth.

8f08fb03fc5c2f44b7d5357e8a3ab1c5

on March 05, 2011
at 03:18 AM

Maybe... or maybe not. See about Kitavans and their fruit and sweet potato intake.

8f08fb03fc5c2f44b7d5357e8a3ab1c5

on March 05, 2011
at 03:17 AM

"They are designed for that purpose alone" - How arrogant of us to think that apples are designed for us!

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on August 02, 2010
at 03:07 PM

But we've seen that they are not quite so natural

C76eced60ac16a6a95551cf2f319820f

(401)

on April 17, 2010
at 08:51 PM

just becuase they're not essential doesn't mean they're not useful!

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on April 17, 2010
at 08:02 PM

Really interesting link, thanks. I didn't mean they were sweet, just that they don't come from the tiny crab apples as use to be thought.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on April 17, 2010
at 07:58 PM

Interesting link, thanks.

B289fd8670257e77badb0c77709f8572

(10)

on April 17, 2010
at 07:24 PM

Pollan tells of tasting this cultivar: "....imagine sinking your teeth into a tart potato, or a mushy Brazil nut sheathed in leather ("spitters" is the pomological term of art here), and then tasting one that starts out with high promise on the tongue—now here's an apple!—only to veer off into a bitterness so profound that it makes the stomach rise even in recollection." http://www.michaelpollan.com/article.php?id=54 Tom

1e68c6909db3ce6c272a7a0bf2c2978b

(320)

on March 29, 2010
at 01:33 PM

"hunk of grass-fed ruminant jammed on a stick and charred... washed down with a glass of organic cream" Sounds fantastic to me! ;)

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on March 26, 2010
at 12:48 AM

"organic oak fire" -- love it! :-)

Cbf9ad6e645dc8d655259658fc972e58

(321)

on March 25, 2010
at 06:35 PM

"There are no essential carbohydrates necessary for life"... that's certainly the dogma in certain corners of paleoland, but most athletic bodies run a lot better if they don't have to feed the brain via gluconeogenesis. A small amount of carbs can make a huge difference.

8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

(2517)

on March 25, 2010
at 06:00 PM

I see what you're saying -- when I say "natural sugar" versus something else, I'm referring to processed versus unprocessed.

15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on March 25, 2010
at 05:59 PM

Just eat the skin

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10 Answers

best answer

13
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on March 25, 2010
at 07:43 PM

Two apples a day seems a lot. It's probably not disastrous, but it seems unnecessary. 2 medium apples is just over 40g, which is just over what Peter at Hyperlipid describes as the reasonable upper limit for a LC diet. Now, 40g isn't an unreasonable about of carbohydrate for a paleo diet per se, especially if you're exercising, but getting it's an amount of fructose probably worth avoiding (around 6% of calories I'm guessing).

Aside from the various downsides of fructose, it's also not going to serve all the goals you might be after with a small daily dose of carbohydrate. If you want a source of glucose for a small spike of insulin to drive into your muscles, or to run your brain in the presence of palmitic acid, you're not going to get that from something that's directed straight to the liver for metabolism.

It also just seems a bit of a waste. Apples are pretty nothingy nutritionally: quite lacking in micronutrients and with a few (possibly interesting but nothing striking) polyphenols. For 40g of carbohydrate you could eat a veritable field of veg or quite a lot of berries.

7
96b5f168645de8a65ff034a03bc0b654

(230)

on March 25, 2010
at 05:40 PM

Fruit today isn't the fruit of long ago. It is now bred to have much more fructose so we like it more and eat more. Fruit sellers are just responding to the American consumer. I try to go easy on the fruit for that reason.

5
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on April 17, 2010
at 06:39 PM

On a slight deviation from the main question:

Modern apples are not as far removed from wild apples as many people belive. Domestic orchard apple trees were domesticated from the wild apple Malus sieversii a native of Central Asia. The fruits of this wild species produces fruit upto 7cm in diamiter, similar in size to many modern cultivars. These trees can form forests in their native mountains.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malus_sieversii

I just thought it was an interesting bit of information when talking about modern apples.

B289fd8670257e77badb0c77709f8572

(10)

on April 17, 2010
at 07:24 PM

Pollan tells of tasting this cultivar: "....imagine sinking your teeth into a tart potato, or a mushy Brazil nut sheathed in leather ("spitters" is the pomological term of art here), and then tasting one that starts out with high promise on the tongue—now here's an apple!—only to veer off into a bitterness so profound that it makes the stomach rise even in recollection." http://www.michaelpollan.com/article.php?id=54 Tom

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on April 17, 2010
at 07:58 PM

Interesting link, thanks.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on April 17, 2010
at 08:02 PM

Really interesting link, thanks. I didn't mean they were sweet, just that they don't come from the tiny crab apples as use to be thought.

5
Cbf9ad6e645dc8d655259658fc972e58

on March 25, 2010
at 06:36 PM

It is possible to come away from a casual look at Dr Harris's blog with the sense that he looks with great disdain on anyone who would feel the need to eat anything that isn't a hunk of grass-fed ruminant jammed on a stick and charred over an organic oak fire, washed down with a glass of organic cream.

He is, however, frequently at pains to explain that, while he prefers a simple diet, his recommendations are much more inclusive. I think an apple a day is probably fine if you're keeping total carbs within reasonable limits -- under 50g a day, give or take, maybe a bit more if you're happy with your weight -- and I will be surprised if he disagrees.

1e68c6909db3ce6c272a7a0bf2c2978b

(320)

on March 29, 2010
at 01:33 PM

"hunk of grass-fed ruminant jammed on a stick and charred... washed down with a glass of organic cream" Sounds fantastic to me! ;)

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on March 26, 2010
at 12:48 AM

"organic oak fire" -- love it! :-)

4
72cf28e37a38f43991566df2409ae750

on March 25, 2010
at 05:46 PM

An apple or two a day should not be a problem if you're eating mostly paleo. The paleo diet does not contain a lot of fructose, and unless you're drinking a lot of alcohol daily, your liver should easily handle the task of breaking down the fructose in real, whole fruit. The fiber in the apple should also slow the rate of absorption of the fructose. That said, fruits should be consumed in moderation because they have been bred for a higher sugar content than their wild progenitors.

4
03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on March 25, 2010
at 05:41 PM

Whole fruit is obviously better than the fructose found in processed foods. But Kurt's point is that it's still a form of sugar--with all that entails. (Fruit found in the wild is seasonal, not year-round. Plus, modern fruit is bred to be bigger and sweeter.) So I think Dr. Harris is just advising moderation.

I have a few berries every morning. Two apples per day would be a bit much for me.

3
33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2

(7073)

on March 25, 2010
at 05:56 PM

Apples (and other fruit) are nature's gift in the late summer; consuming them enables us to store fat on our bodies for the winter. They are designed for that purpose alone, so, I try not to eat any fruit at any other time of the year, but 'indulge' in autumn - after all, it would be a crime to say no to fresh raspberries or peaches or apple 'pie' and cream in late summer wouldn't it? Waiting all year makes them taste just that much more delicious too.

Eating fresh, organic apples in season is OK, but they do contain sugar, I certainly would not eat one every day, nor give one to my children every day, once in a while yes!! and in autumn yes, yes!!

As a rule of thumb, I buy apples that are grown in my region and are small and on the sour side - this is most like the small bullets I also pick from apples trees gone wild around the place (the taste improves if you stew them a little before eating). If they have come from any further away than this and especially if they arrived on a plane, I probably shouldn't be eating them and usually don't.

I would say try not to snack between meals on anything if it is at all possible; if you are eating a good and hearty paleo diet, you shouldn't want to anyway.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on August 02, 2010
at 03:07 PM

But we've seen that they are not quite so natural

8f08fb03fc5c2f44b7d5357e8a3ab1c5

on March 05, 2011
at 03:17 AM

"They are designed for that purpose alone" - How arrogant of us to think that apples are designed for us!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 02, 2012
at 06:15 PM

So why don't I get fat when I eat lots of apples??? I don't understand why someone has to get fat to tolerate cold. When I was heavier, I actually had way more problems with the cold : wounded hands etc. Going low-carb gives me a sensation of warmth.

3
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 25, 2010
at 05:45 PM

All sugar is natural. There is no unnatural sugar. You probably would not eat a teaspoon or two of white sugar a day but most think nothing about eating two apples a day.

Any carbohydrate that turns to sugar and straight sugar ingested spikes the insulin. It is surmised that our paleolithic ancestors ate fruit in season but was low in sugar...quite unlike our current year round fruit that has been hybridized for its sugar--appealing--content.

Just remember, there are no essential carbohydrates necessary for life. Eating meat and fat will make enough sucrose from our ketones to supply the body with all the necessary nutrients to sustain life.

C76eced60ac16a6a95551cf2f319820f

(401)

on April 17, 2010
at 08:51 PM

just becuase they're not essential doesn't mean they're not useful!

Cbf9ad6e645dc8d655259658fc972e58

(321)

on March 25, 2010
at 06:35 PM

"There are no essential carbohydrates necessary for life"... that's certainly the dogma in certain corners of paleoland, but most athletic bodies run a lot better if they don't have to feed the brain via gluconeogenesis. A small amount of carbs can make a huge difference.

8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

(2517)

on March 25, 2010
at 06:00 PM

I see what you're saying -- when I say "natural sugar" versus something else, I'm referring to processed versus unprocessed.

2
F1e5ff10797e0e35cda081a4221cb614

on August 25, 2010
at 03:24 PM

If one???s liver/muscle glycogen "tank" is low (due to exercise and/or fasting), eating a couple of apples will have little to no effect on body fat formation. This will be so even though two apples have close to 30 g of carbohydrates, more than 20 g of which being from sugars. The liver may in fact grab everything for itself, to replenish its 100 g glycogen tank. Fructose in fruits is probably good for you, especially if you are low in glycogen:

http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2010/06/fructose-in-fruits-is-good-for-you.html

What happens when we consume excessive fructose? (And this usually comes from things like sodas, juices, and table sugar.) The extra fructose, not used for glycogen replenishment, is converted into fat by the liver. That fat is packaged in the form of triglycerides, which are then quickly secreted by the liver as small VLDL particles. The VLDL particles deliver their content to muscle and body fat tissue, contributing to body fat accumulation. After delivering their cargo, small VLDL particles eventually become small-dense LDL particles; the ones that can potentially cause atherosclerosis.

8f08fb03fc5c2f44b7d5357e8a3ab1c5

on March 05, 2011
at 03:18 AM

Maybe... or maybe not. See about Kitavans and their fruit and sweet potato intake.

2
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 25, 2010
at 04:02 AM

My feeling is eating several a day probably is not contributing good things to your diet. The smallish amount of nutrition an apple brings will be provided sufficiently on just a few per week or by eating something else with more nutrition in it. That is why I try to avoid eating tons of the same thing, especially if that thing is not highly nutritious. YOu might be better served to eat an apple sometimes, some berries other times, an orange another time, etc. Why put all your eggs in one basket? A variety of fruit in moderation will provide better nutrition than just a bunch of the same one over and over, and many fruits have less sugar and more nutrients than apples. On the other hand, if you really love apples above all else, then I don't think any major harm will come of indulging in them to an extent. I just wouldn't call it ideal. -Eva

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