Does Fruit make you fat? ‘No Fructose Diet’ – final verdict!


Here’s the reason I started this experiment:

Here’s the results from week 1:

What have I done so far? 

  • 2 weeks, no fruit (at all!) including no fruit drinks, nothing fruit flavoured, I checked everything I ate for fructose content. ·       I replaced fruit with rice cakes, small quantities of nuts, or ham or something similar.
  • I drank water / black coffee instead of fruit drinks
  • I have still followed the 3-2-1- rules with regards to meal balance

During this week (week 2) I added back in sports drinks, but only to use during hard or long sessions.

How was it eating like this?

As I have already said, I found this type of diet exceptionally hard. It didn’t get any easier towards the end of week 2. In fact, now, where I would normally crave fruit, I am now finding my cravings have switched to cakes and biscuits. When I first gave up chocolate, it took 2 weeks to ‘get it out of my system’. All that seems to have happened in this case is somehow I have rationalised the fact that it’s ok to eat biscuits and cakes, because they are not fruit and its fruit I am not allowed!! Of course, this is a ridiculous train of thought! Clearly, there is a real risk here to my wellbeing, health, and training fuel mix!I still found exercise harder at times, and to be honest felt a lot more lethargic during morning pre breakfast sessions. Some people say it was psychological, I honestly don’t think it was because it didn’t change at all throughout the past 2 weeks. It is also worth noting this, the most important thing. During the past two weeks I have been ill, or one kind or another. First I got an eye infection, and then no sooner was I done with that, I got an ear infection. Now it needs to be noted that I am usually a very healthy person, and very rarely visit the doctor. I honestly cannot remember the last time (if ever) that I had an ear infection. It certainly seems a very large coincidence that the main food group that delivers vitamin C is omitted, and I become ill. I would definitely attribute this to eating less fruit. I quite honestly am relieved to be ‘back to normal’ so to speak!
The results after 7 days

Weight difference: -2.5lbsBMI difference: -0.1Body fat % difference: no change Water content difference: no change

The results from week 2 (compared to the result at the end of week 1)

Weight difference: no changeBMI difference: no changeBody fat % difference: no change Water content difference: no change

TOTAL RESULTS after 2 weeks on a no fruit diet:

Weight difference: -2.5lbsBMI difference: -0.1Body fat % difference: no change Water content difference: no change

What does this mean?

I had no idea what to expect when I started this experiment. I was I must admit, convinced by the research I had read. When I look back, a lot of research on this topic is USA based, and I read that they use a lot of high fructose corn syrup. It is also worth noting that the research quoted in my previous blogs does tend to focus on people with a much higher body fat % than me. I tried to understand why the research suggests that fructose may be more likely to convert to fat, yet I had seen no change. Victoria Haigh (@fitvic on twitter) a nutritional advisor, reminded me that it may take up to 12 weeks to see a change, much like when you first start exercising? I guess she may have a point. It is also worth noting that everybody is different, therefore the results will not be the same on everyone that tries this. You can see that by the comment Kris made on the first blog on this topic:

‘I actually was looking into this several months back – because I was doing all this good stuff and not “seeing” any changes. Then I started looking into the glycemic index. As a result, I actually did no fruit & no starches for 3 weeks – it was tricky, but I based my meals/snacks around protein and low GI veggies. And I totally noticed a difference. Now I eat fruit and starches (but they aren’t the centre of my meals) – but the fruits I eat are typically apples, pears, berries & melons.’

However, there is no getting away from the fact that it actually made NO difference at all to me, and in fact I believe contributed to a weaker immune system. Many people have said that surely the benefits of fruit outweigh everything else? I tend to agree. I was sent this article, which, although the research is in very early stages, is suggesting that polyphenols and flavanoids (found particularly in fruit) are key to rebuilding muscle. Is this why I ache so much more than normal?

‘In a 2006 edition of the prestigious science journal Cell, Lagouge and colleagues published a study whereby mice underwent a 15-week diet and exercise programme where they were either supplemented with resveratrol or a placebo. After the supplementation period, the results were striking. The mice which had been supplemented with resveratrol had a 33 percent higher peak oxygen uptake, and a near 50 percent greater run time to exhaustion.’

When the researchers took samples of the mice muscle and attempted to look further into the mechanisms behind these increases there was a 2.5 times greater area of mitochondria in the muscle.’ http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/article/nutrition-can-fruit-make-you-fitter-28854

I certainly think that without fruit and vegetables, I would eat a much less healthy diet. When I searched ‘does fruit make you fitter’ on the internet, I got an article that writes exactly that! Here, they say fruit and vegetables stave off other cravings. http://www.peertrainer.com/diet/why_fruits_and_vegetables_help_you_lose_weight.aspxWhen you ask Google can fruit juice make you fat, the answer you will get is yes, because of the amount of sugar that is added to it during production! I found someone else who tried this experiment too. This will show that different people will get different results: http://www.fitbuff.com/does-fruit-make-you-fat-the-truth-revealed-workout-recap-september-28-october-5-2008/It’s interesting to note that when he decreased calories, he gained weight. I have in the past been told that in fact, the body goes into starvation mode if you don’t eat enough, and therefore you are more likely to store fuel as fat. It is also worth noting that his workload increased by around 15-20 minutes a day. David Sutton, my strength and conditioning coach (@PerformTrain) would, I imagine, say that is all you need of strength training to make a difference, regardless of diet. There is no getting away from it, people are still saying excessive fructose consumption is bad for you. ‘Fructose, especially its excessive consumption, may increase:

  • the risk of abnormal blood clotting ailments and hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • total blood cholesterol levels (it serves in part as the raw material for the synthesis of cholesterol within the body)
  • LDL-“bad” cholesterol levels, and
  • blood triglyceride levels, especially in diabetics (fructose has a greater propensity to increase serum triglycerides than glucose).

Excessive consumption of fructose may also cause:

  • fatigue, especially in persons who are fructose intolerant
  • insulin resistance, and
  • obesity.

It is estimated that up to 33 percent of persons are unable to completely absorb fructose due to fructose intolerance (also known as dietary fructose intolerance (DFI) which may cause

I do not, however, believe that I excessively consume fructose.

What now?

I’m told that eating fructose based foods with protein Slows down conversion to glucose & regulates release of insulin. Insulin is needed to properly utilize the energy stored in carbohydrate. This process can be better explained here: http://www.shapefit.com/diet/sports-nutrition-during-exercise.html. Although this talks in an exercise context, the principles are the same. I’m also told that depending on whether an individual is acid or alkaline based determines where you get your Vitamin C from.Interestingly, except for my early morning apple, I don’t often eat fruit on its own, certainly not in large quantities. Perhaps this is why I have seen no change. In future, I think I might keep some of the habits (e.g. less fruit juice, snack on rice cakes, natural yoghurt rather than the likes of Muller light) however I will not be omitting fruit from my diet, I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives. I also read that strength training is the best way to reduce body fat %. But I think that’s a topic for another blog, perhaps! And then there’s also the different fruits and how they have different fructose levels….

My conclusion: Science may suggest that fructose contributes to body fat, but science also suggests that it contributes in part to sports performance, stronger immune systems (as well as many other things I expect)! So where you gain in one area, you might lose in the other.

5 Comments on “Does Fruit make you fat? ‘No Fructose Diet’ – final verdict!

  1. Melanie – thank you for your detailed entries. I have so enjoyed reading about this experiment of yours. Although I do not have any expertise from a performance perspective, I was highly interested in just following. Again many thanks.

  2. Thanks Ellyn! It was interesting for me too, and to be honest became much more of a discussion topic on social networks than I thought!! It also opened up many more questions!With Weight watchers' new ProPoints system that has 0 points for fruit, I was curious to see what happend myself!! I'm glad you found it interesting. regards, Mel

  3. So I'm doing a similar experiment.I've recently become a raw vegan/fruitarian and my diet is 80% carbs 10% fat and 10% protein. Because of this I eat a LOT of fruit!People keep asking me about getting fat off of fruit, blood sugar levels, insulin etc etc so I've ordered a blood/glucose testing kit to see what happens when I have a meal that is solely fruit…I'm expecting to see next to no change…

  4. Fascinating post- its interesting that with no fruit your weight went down, but no your body fat %. So no fruit let to a loss in muscle (fascinating!)I definitely couldn't go without my fruit!

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