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Fruits and Diet
Fruits are plants that grow when a flower containing seeds is fertilised.
Classification of fruits
Fresh or aqueous fruit
These are fruits that contain more than 95% water. Here we have:
Fruit with pips: quince, medlars, apples, pears, grapes, melons, water melons
Fruit with kernels: apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, Mirabelle plums, greengages
Red berries: blueberries, strawberries, wild strawberries, red currants, raspberries, blackberries, bilberries, cranberries, blackcurrants
Citrus fruit: lemons, oranges, grapefruit, pomelos, mandarins, clementines
Oleaginous fruits and oilseeds
They contain so much fat that they are mostly used to make oil. In this category we find the following fruits: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, coconuts, pistachios, peanuts, cashew nuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cocoa beans, avocado pears, olives, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
These fruits contain a lot of complex carbohydrates (starch) so this places them in a sub-family of starchy foods. The main fruit here is the chestnut.
To be noted: before they ripen, bananas are also rich in starch.
Water having been removed from these fruits, they contain carbohydrates (sugars) and they are mainly considered as sugary products. They include dates, figs, dried apricots, raisins, dried papaya, prunes etc.
Exotic and tropical fruits
Bananas, passion fruit, kiwis, pineapples, papayas, mangoes, pomegranates, lychees, mangosteen, longans, rambutans, kumquats, acerola cherries, star fruit, soursops, guava, dragon fruit (pitahaya), custard apples, sapodillas, tamarinds, jujubes, persimmons etc.
How much carbohydrate is there in fruit?
Different fruits contain different amounts of carbohydrates so we can place them in several different categories:
Acidic fruits such as lemon and rhubarb contain at most 2.5g carbohydrate per 100g of fruit.
Red berries, citrus fruits, melons, water melons, quinces, passion fruit and papayas contain between 5 and 10g carbohydrate per 100g of fruit.
Cherries, fresh figs, grapes, persimmons and bananas have the most sugar and contain between 15.5g and 20g carbohydrate per 100g of fruit.
Any other fruit not listed above contains an average amount of carbohydrate (i.e. between 10 and 15g).
How much protein is there in fruit?
There is very little protein in fruit (1 to 2%) except in dried, oleaginous and starchy fruits. Digestive utilisation from these proteins is of poor quality and these proteins do not have all the qualities needed for the body to be able to use them.
The amount of lipids in fruits
The amount of lipids in fruits is negligible (less than 1%) except for oleaginous fruits that contain about 15 to 60% lipids (fats).
The energy value of fruits
Per 100g the average energy value of fruits is 50kCal or 200kJ. Due to their high water content and low fat content they do not provide much energy. However, do take care with the most sugary fruits which can contain 75kCal (300kJ) per 100g.
Their fibre content
Plants provide fibre that is mostly soluble (pectin).
On average the amount of fibre in fruits is 2g per 100g.
However, the fruits with the most fibre are red currants, guavas, pomegranates, bilberries and figs with 6 to 9%. Blackcurrants, quinces, raspberries and passion fruit contain between 2 and 6% fibre.
Soluble fibre's main job is to regulate bowel movements and it also brings down the amount of cholesterol in the blood by acting on bile salts. Soluble fibre also lessens postprandial glycaemia and plays an essential role in helping prevent cancer of the colon.
To a lesser degree, fruit contains some lignin and hemicellulose, insoluble fibre which is found for example in blackcurrants, red currants, and blackberries.
The amount of vitamins, minerals and trace elements
Minerals and trace elements (per 100g)
Sodium: a low content with 30 mg on average.
Potassium: 100 to 200 mg on average: some fruits such as bananas have lots of potassium. Potassium intake needs to be carefully monitored for anyone following a low potassium diet.
Calcium: 30 mg on average. The fruits with the most calcium are blackcurrants, oranges, red currants, blackberries and kiwis.
Magnesium: 10 mg on average.
Iron: on average 0.5 mg (except for red berries - 1 mg). This iron is non-heminic making its digestive utilisation very limited. However, as fruit contains vitamin C this means that the iron gets assimilated.
Vitamins (per 100g)
Vitamin C: 30 mg on average (200 mg for guavas and blackcurrants). For this vitamin to be properly assimilated the whole fruit including the skin needs to be eaten.
Vitamin B9: Melons (100 µg/100g) and blackcurrants, strawberries, raspberries, kiwis, lychees, mangoes, blackberries, oranges and papayas (on average 50 µg/100g) contain the most vitamin B9.
Beta carotene: 0.3 to 0.5 mg /100g. Beta carotene gives an orangey yellow colour to some fruits such as mangoes, apricots, melons, persimmons, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, cherries, nectarines etc.
Vitamin E: at most 1 mg in blackcurrants, mangoes and blackberries; it has an important impact on free radicals.
Phenolic acid is very much present in grapes and apples and has an anti-oxidising effect.
Recent scientific studies have proven that polyphenols have an impact on the prevalence of cardio-vascular diseases, cancers and osteoporosis.
Other organic acids
Citric acid (citrus fruits), malic acid (apples), tartaric acid (grapes) and oxalic acid (rhubarb and strawberries) are glucidic derivatives found in fruit and they contribute to the body's metabolic processes.
The benefits of eating fruit
Fruit plays a fundamental role in preventing:
Obesity and weight problems: this is very much down to the fact that they provide lots of fibre without many calories.
Cardio-vascular diseases: fruit helps to oxidise cholesterol
Type 2 diabetes: a complication that occurs with obesity
Cancers: by reducing the formation of tumours
Osteoporosis: antioxidants help prevent bone demineralisation.
Protecting our immune defence system: this is due to the antioxidants fruit contains
Fruit throughout the seasons
Over the months of the year, the fruits most commonly found are:
In January, February and March you will mostly find bananas, lemons, clementines, kiwis, mandarins, oranges, nuts, apples and pears
In April, you will have apples, kiwis and rhubarb
In May, you can eat strawberries and rhubarb
In June the summer fruits start to appear and shop displays will be overflowing with apricots, almonds, cherries, figs, strawberries, raspberries and melons.
In July and August, as well as all the fruits from June you will also now find nectarines, blackcurrants, Mirabelle plums, blackberries, blueberries, water melons, peaches and plums
In September all the summer fruits are still available with the emphasis now on chasselas and muscat grapes and plums.
In October autumn fruits start to appear, for example, chestnuts, quinces, nuts, wild peaches, apples and pears
In November, once again you have dates, persimmons, mangoes etc.
In December exotic fruit comes to the fore, for example lychees and mangoes. You can also buy more common fruit, for instance, clementines, dates, kiwis, mandarins, oranges, grapefruit and apples and pears etc..
Vitamins are lost when fruit is prepared and cooked
Vitamin C content (the main vitamin in question) is reduced when fruit is dealt with in the following ways:
Washing: fruit must be carefully washed but this has to be done quickly (without soaking the fruit)
Peeling removes any skin that is full of pesticides. Any peeling should be very superficial as the nutritional goodness in a fruit is mainly found by its surface.
Peeling and grating fruit: this encourages oxidation of vitamin C so you are advised to do any peeling or grating just before you want to eat the fruit.
Different ways of cooking fruit: About 30 to 40% of the fruit's vitamins are lost once it is cooked; so you are advised to eat a minimum amount of raw fruit every day.
Fruit jams, jellies and marmalades
Fruit and sugar based products are made by cooking these two ingredients together.
Jam is made from fruit pulp. The fruit content has to be at least 350g per 1,000g of jam.
Jellies are made by mixing sugar with the strained juice from the fruit. The fruit content has to be at least 350g per 1,000g of jelly.
Marmalade is a citrus fruit mixture (pulp, purée, juice and rind) that is cooked with sugar. The fruit content has to be at least 200g per 1,000g of marmalade.
Such products contain between 60 and 70% carbohydrates and as such now have to be classified as sugary foods and can no longer be classified as fruit.
Commercial low-sugar jams have 45% carbohydrates.
Fruit based drinks
These products belong to the drinks food category and here again there are several statutory definitions:
The name "fruit juices" can only be used for natural products made by mechanically squeezing fruit that is fresh, sound, ripe and unfermented.
Fruit juice from concentrates is obtained after the juice has been pasteurised and up to 80% of the juice's water content has been evaporated.
Fruit nectars are obtained by mixing juice or purée (between 25 and 50 depending on the fruit) with water; sugar or honey are added. Added sugar must not exceed 20% of the finished product. Colourings and preservatives are not allowed.
Concentrated and dehydrated fruit juices or in powder form are produced from one or more types of fruit juices by eliminating at least 50% of the water they contain to make concentrates and almost all the water to produce dehydrated juices (or powders). These are the juices used mostly in catering and with blending machines.
Water based fruit drinks contain fruit and/or fruit juice in widely varying quantities. They can be sweetened, carbonated and flavoured. The water may be replaced by milk.
Fruit juices are labelled in accordance with the general regulations set out in the EU directive 2000/13/CE that covers foodstuffs.
Fruit in the Dukan method
Pierre Dukan is particularly keen that rhubarb and Goji berries are used throughout his method.
For several years now, these berries have been exported to all countries in the West where they have become enormously popular.
Delicious to eat, Goji berries originate from China and are naturally high in vitamins, trace elements and anti-oxidants. Many health-giving properties are ascribed to them including their ability to strengthen our immune defence system, to lower our blood pressure and blood sugar levels and to stimulate digestion and bowel motility.
Goji berries have been hailed as a panacea with outstanding properties. Just how true is this?
What is certain and enjoys international scientific consensus, is that Goji berries have a tremendous antioxidant potential. This is because they contain high amounts of vitamins, mineral salts and micronutrients, including some of the rarest ones and in a very high concentration. That these active ingredients can be found in such a concentrated form and in a small fruit that is totally natural has led to these berries being ranked alongside the few other "most nutritious foods in the world".
In addition to being able to help prevent cardiovascular risks, premature ageing, maintaining skin quality and tonicity, Goji berries also help strengthen our immune defence system and so work very effectively at combating fatigue.
Goji berries are recommended for any long-term slimming diet, to guard against any deficiencies and most especially to offset any tiredness due to excessive stress, heavy periods or if the weight loss is significant enough to cause hair to fall out, or skin to go flabby or recurrent infections to occur during the winter.
Rhubarb has a lot of vitamin C (12 mg per 100g) and magnesium, which means it can make you feel both energised and relaxed. It is also helps keep the bowels moving.
In the attack phase:
One tablespoonful of Goji berries a day is tolerated.
In the cruise phase:
We would advise you to eat 100g rhubarb on PV days and one tablespoonful of Goji berries on PP days and two tablespoonfuls on PV days.
In the consolidation phase:
We would advise you to eat 2 pieces of fruit per day except on protein Thursdays. For your celebration meals you are free to eat whatever you want, however, you must be sensible especially if you are thinking of eating fruit with a very high sugar content.
In the stabilisation phase:
When you return to eating freely what you want you can eat all fruits again and have a minimum of 3 fruits a day.