Fruit and the Lowcarb Diet

I’d like to clarify how I have come to view fruit and its effect on those who eat lowcarb.

The whole lowcarb eating concept is a Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) proposition. And a basic element of that proposition is that natural and unprocessed beats manufactured every single time. So in that sense fruit, if your body can handle it, is an absolutely ideal thing to include in your eating.

But there are two potential problems with this.  One is that if you are counting carbs and are eating at or near induction levels, fruits (especially anything except berries) provide a relatively high carb count without providing nearly the amount of fiber and micro-nutrients that vegetables do.  In other words, if you eat 8 carbs from a serving of fruit, that leaves only 2 for say, a small salad (assuming you’re only getting half your carbs from veggies). That’s one reason why fruit is not permitted on induction. The induction carb count is so (temporarily) low that it is important that the carbs consumed be quality, nutrient- and fiber-packed ones.

So I would suggest that if you find yourself wanting to add fruit to a really low carb diet, I would replace things like coffee, Splenda, cream and cheese carbs to do it, not vegetables. I’d still make sure I got at least 10-15 net carbs from vegetables every single day.

The second potential problem with fruit is that some bodies seem to have been much more compromised by eating incorrectly over time. Our problems and sensitivities with sugars and other foods, some of them lowcarb foods, are more serious and insidious than others. For those individuals (I am one of them) eating fruits can trigger our sleeping inner dragon and slowly reawaken him. Eating fruits (immediately, or slowly over a few weeks or months) just makes us want more more more.

One of the elements of lowcarb that made it seem almost magical and easy to stick with was that this dragon had gone to sleep. In those of us who are super-sensitive and reactive, eating fruit rattles that inner dragon’s cage, and suddenly (or oh-so gradually) we become “unbalanced” again.  And that can initiate the process that leads us to fall flat on our face. And let’s get real here…way more than 75% of lowcarbers end up falling on their faces somewhere in the process. I sure did.

Seeing some of the more subtle things that may have led to a slow change is the way some of us have eventually figured out how to make this easier on ourselves, and therefore much more long-term feasible and livable. We find that fruits—as well as all kinds of artificially sweetened and ersatz lowcarb foods—can cause us to slowly sink back into the old life-long war with foods and our bodies.

Therefore, I think it’s important before we test our body on fruits (as well as grains and nuts and a few other YMMV natural lowcarb foods) that:

FIRST, we make sure our dragon has been to sleep long enough that we can really feel the difference when he gets even a little restless. Make sure we’ve simply had a good long spell of time to truly realize that we have both enjoyed and benefitted from keeping him asleep, so we can see that it might be a better thing for us if we keep making choices that keep him that way. We’ve had time to really feel and appreciate the simple, new, profound inner peace that not eating any personal dragon-feed blesses us with.

SECOND, we are calm and steady and ready to take a patient, very long view of these foods and all that they could be doing in our body, in our own individual science project.

You need to be careful, keenly observational and patient with fruit and grains and a few other things like artificial sweeteners, as well as things like nuts (especially peanuts, which aren’t true nuts) and legumes.

You also need to keep in mind that this is not exactly “your” decision, it mostly belongs to your body.   You only get to decide to support or ignore its best interests.   Hopefully you already know too well the results of ignoring what your body has tried to tell you.  Even after more than 17 years maintaining at goal, MY body does better without, or with very little, fruit.

adele@leadwiththediet.com