August 31, 2008

You "Ask", I Answer: Fruit

I don't think eliminating (or limiting significantly) fruit from one's diet is such a terrible idea, IF fruits are replaced by vegetables.

When comparing nutritional data for 100g of broccoli to 100g of apple, for example, broccoli clearly wins out.

Broccoli has a bit less calories(18 cals less per 100g), less sugar (8g less) and significantly more of every vitamin and mineral than an apple.

Analyzing 100g of sweet red pepper yields similar advantages over the apple.

Sure, there are other fruits out there, but this brief comparison shows that by replacing fruits with veggies, one would not miss out on vitamins/minerals, would cut down on calories a bit, and would most likely feel fuller per gram consumed.

As far as phytochemicals are concerned, veggies have plenty to offer. When I make a salad, I usually make sure it's as colorful as possible - greens (lettuce, spinach), tomatoes (red), bell peppers (red/yellow/orange/green), garlic, etc., so as to include a variety of phytonutrients.

I wouldn't swear off fruit for the rest of my life, but I can see how a dieter would feel she's getting more bang for her calories out of veggies vs. fruits, especially on a 1200 calorie diet.

Just my two cents.

-- Anna

Via the blog

The problem with the comparison like the one you make above (between apples and broccoli) is that it has very little, if any, significance.

Okay, so roughly three ounces of apples contain 18 less calories than roughly three ounces of broccoli. What is someone supposed to do with that information? Pack broccoli in their bag instead of an apple for an afternoon snack?

The sugar you mention is insignificant, since the apple contains fiber which helps stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels.

Besides, other comparisons would "show" that fruits are "better" than vegetables.

An ounce of raspberries, for instance, contains 15 calories and 1.8 grams of fiber. An ounce of sweet potato, meanwhile, provides 26 calories and 0.9 grams of fiber.

And if you compare 100 grams of bananas with 100 grams of raw cucumber, you'll find that the bananas offer more vitamin C, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, manganese, potassium, and magnesium and only 70 more calories.

That doesn't make raspberries "better" than sweet potatoes, or bananas worth eating and cucumbers "useless."

All fruits and vegetables (yes, that includes potatoes!) are healthy. Shunning particular ones under the guise of "more nutrition" is very silly. There is definitely room for fruit in all diets.

By the way, Britney Spears mentions shunning fruit, but in the same statement says she eats avocados. Back to Nutrition 101 for her!


Alexander M Zoltai said...

O.K., so they're both good.

How about how much of each?

Are there recommended (Not by the FDA!) mixtures or "complementary" combinations?

~ Alex from Our Evolution

Andy Bellatti said...


If you eat approximately 2000 calories a day, you want to get 5 - 9 servings of fruits AND veggies a day.

A serving means one piece of fruit (or, in the case of berries, half a cup.)

As far as veggies are concerned... half a cup of cooked veggies equal one serving. If you're talking raw salad greens, then 1 cup is equal to 1 serving.

There are no complementary combinations that are healthier than others. The most important point is to eat fruits and vegetables every day.

However, keep in mind that since vitamins A, D, E, and K (as well as some phytonutrients) are fat-soluble, you are better off having a little fat with your veggies (ie: some olive oil or nuts or avocado slives in your salad).

Alexander M Zoltai said...

Thanks for the speedy reply!!!

~ Alex from Our Evolution

Mia said...

Let's not forget the most obvious reason to keep fruit in our diets: fruit is delicious! What would the world be without delicious crunchy apples or summery-sweet strawberries? Instead of replacing fruits with vegetables, we should try to replace processed sweets with naturally sweet fruit.

Anna said...


I think you missed my point. I am not advocating replacing fruits with vegetables. I am simply stating that if one *wants* to avoid eating fruits for whatever reason, it can be done safely by replacing them with vegetables, if done smartly.

Yes, certain fruits are more nutritious than certain vegetables (as in your comparisons), but, the reverse is also true.

In a perfect world, people would eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, etc. etc. every day, in just-right amounts. But, there are times when certain flexibility is required, as in the example of the 1200 cal diet that prompted my post.

To sum up. Fruits are great, I wouldn't stop eating them. But, should a person choose to replace them with veggies of high nutritional value, it can be done safely without worrying about vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, as you mentioned in your original post. In my original reply, I was not so much nitpicking about calories and sugar, as I was illustrating that one wouldn't be missing out while on a 1200 cal diet with smart substitutions.

Andy Bellatti said...


What I find truly puzzling about your post is that you think a 1200 calorie diet is a time when the flexibility of "giving up fruit" is required.

Why does a 1200 calorie diet have to mean no fruit? Particularly a 1200 calorie diet that, at least according to the person doing it, involves avocadoes?

It's not a matter of having vegetables instead of fruits. Giving up fruits to instead have lettuce and cucumbers (as many dieters do) is ridiculous.

Finding healthy substitutions for fruit just seems like a waste of time to me.

50 calories of berries, or a 90 calorie banana do not need to be replaced for "better" alternatives.

Anna said...

I agree, giving up fruits to eat lettuce and cucumbers is ridiculous. But, I haven't once mentioned that this is a smart thing to do. I also didn't say that a 1200 calorie diet should NOT include fruits. It definitely can.

My entire point was that should a person choose not to eat fruit for whatever reason, he or she can *safely* do it by choosing her veggies smartly (as in my initial example of broccoli and bell peppers). Never once did I say that *all* vegetables are better than *all* fruit. I simply don't agree with the view that not eating fruit while on a diet is a taboo, IF vegetables of comparable nutritional value are chosen instead.

As a last point, speaking from experience, to a person who is eating 1200 calories a day, extra 50 calories can be a big deal, which means time not wasted trying to find healthy substitutions.

Andy Bellatti said...

Anna, this just comes back to the fact that for a celebrity to equate "healthy eating" with giving up fruits so as to eliminate sugar from the diet is absolute BS.

I don't understand fruit-phobia, nor do I encourage it.