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What Are the Best Fruits to Eat and Why? (The A-List of Fruits)

What Are the Best Fruits to Eat? 
(The 'A-List')

(this is one of the installments of the 'A-List' for carbohydrates)

fruit cartoon

Previously we’ve recommended you keep fruit to a minimum and this still applies - especially if you are fair sedentary. 

Why?

Because research has shown diet too high in fructose (the sugar found in fruit) promotes weight gain, high blood cholesterol levels and decreases insulin sensitivity.

In fact, if you have a decent brain and believe in science over advertisements, you might be concerned when evidence suggests that fructose turns into fat faster than any type of sugar.

Wait -

I Thought Fruit Was Good for Me?

From several years as a personal trainer (and sports nutritionist) in Los Angeles, every single person who claimed they "couldn't" lose weight would also tell me that they-

"...don't know that much about weight loss - but know they have to eat a lot of fruit in order to lose weight."

This is not uncommon.

Somehow fruit (sugar) has come to be associated weight loss in America.

(this is most likely thanks to "The Food Pyramid: The Biggest Scam of All Time")

Fat?

Eat fruit.

Still fat?

You probably need to eat more fruit!

fruit-and-sugar

Fruit Is Nutritious but Not a Weight Loss Food

The biggest misconception is that fruit is a weight loss food.

It's not.

In reality, fruits are nutritious foods that are otherwise full of sugar.

They are healthful because they contain significant amounts of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other goodies that you won't find too many other places- but they are full of sugar (and water).

Sugar, the same stuff that made you fat in the first place.

People mistake "nutritious" or "healthy" for diet/weight loss-friendly.

At best- fruit can be a substitute for foods such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, pizza and candy bars that are absolutely completely horrible for your weight food efforts.

While it's true that "nobody ever became a fat ass by just eating fruit," it's also true that nobody ever lost a significant amount of fat too quickly on a heavy-fruit diet.

Which bring me to another thing- nobody ever put on or preserved a significant amount of muscle while on a diet in which fruit made up the majority of calories.

Females on an 'all-fruit' diet tend to be fat-thin.

Men on an 'all-fruit' diet tend to be closer to females.

So lets recap-

Fruit is nutritious but it's not going to help you lose weight.

(commercial fruit juice is NOT nutritious or helpful to weight loss)

It's True -

Fruit Isn't As Bad As Candy/Ice Cream/Other Stuff

(But not because it has "natural" sugar)

To be fair, even though fruit is of sugar- as a whole food, it's not as bad as most of the processed garbage you can get at the grocery store.

Wait.

Hold up.

You don't know what I'm going to say.

(maybe you do if you spend a lot of time around here)

The reason that fruit is "better" than stuff such as pastries, donuts, candy bars, ice cream and frozen yogurt HAS NOTHING TO DO with the "natural" sugar in it.

There is no such thing as "Healthy Sugar" -

Sugar is sugar. Each type can get you fat.Sugar is sugar. Each type can get you fat.

In fact, fructose (the type of sugar in fruit), might be the very worst of all, according to Olympic strength coach, Charles Poliquin-

"Although added fructose may be the worst sugar because of how it slows metabolism and halts fat burning, there is NO nutritional value in any form of sugar except possibly honey. For optimal body composition, avoid ALL sugar. Be aware that “healthier” sweeteners are a myth—agave is one of the worst sweeteners because it is almost pure liquid fructose with an even higher fructose content (88 percent) than high-fructose corn syrup!"

I'm not going to try and argue that fructose is the worst, I don't care- I'm merely going to reiterate that THERE IS NO HEALTHFUL SUGAR. 

It's all the same- empty calories that raise your blood sugar.

The reason that the sugar in fruit can be "better" than the sugar in crap such as ice cream, candy, etc. is simply because there is LESS concentrated sugar per serving.

For example, a handful of watermelon slices would have less total sugar than a handful of watermelon Jolly Rancher candies.

You'd have to eat significantly more than 1 handful of watermelon to equal the effect that 1 handful (and equal amount) of watermelon Jolly Ranchers would have on your blood sugar levels.

Sound familiar?

That's right. Fruit tends to have a lower glycemic load than some other carbohydrates foods.

It's simply because there's less sugar per serving, it has nothing to do with the "type" of sugar.

If you had a hard time understanding what I just explained, don't worry about it.

Just know this -

Ultimately - the reason that fruit is better than crap such as ice cream, candy, etc. is because it is mostly water, doesn't have saturated fat, trans fat and is lower than calories.

In general, we suggest you eat fruit in moderation only.

In general, if you are trying to lose weight, we don't suggest you eat fruit at all.

Either way, you always have the option to avoid the sugar, quality-concerns, preparation and supplement the fruit with either of these AMAZING, wow wow wow Chris this is incredible, supplements-

With a couple of servings of either supplement, you will exceed your daily fruit and vegetables requirements.

Pay Attention to the Glycemic Load
(disregard the glycemic index)

To evaluate the impact of a carbohydrate-based food on your blood sugar, we will always remind you to go by the glycemic load and not the glycemic index. This is ESPECIALLY true for fruit. The glycemic index will suggest that certain fruit such as watermelon will drastically increase your insulin levels, this is not actually true.

For the most part, fruit tends to have a low to moderate glycemic load (5-15). If you eat a lot of it (or in concentrated form i.e. fruit juice) it can significantly raise your blood sugar.

glycemic load scalesource & incredible Glycemic Load lists available @ Mendosa.com

The following fruits are among our choices for the exclusive 'A-List' of Fruit, each fruit generally has less sugar, has an above-average nutritional profile and often unique nutrients that have a special function such as combating cancer.

As a very general statement - berries and whole fruits are more nutritious than melons which as mostly water.

As a second general statement- fruits that have a protective skin (banana, kiwi), don't require you to buy organic.

Without further ado, let us present to you-

The Best Fruits to Eat and Why

* indicates a super vegetable that has a specific purpose

Buy organic, preferably not from Mexico, unless noted.

Dried apricots are even higher in Vitamin A and beta-carotene than fresh apricots. Dried apricots are even higher in Vitamin A and beta-carotene than fresh apricots.

Apricots (Anti-Cancer)
Glycemic Load: Raw: 3  Dried: 7-8

Packed with nutrients. Contains the powerful antioxidant, beta-cryptoxanthin, which can reduce the risk of lung cancer by 30% and arthritis by just over 40%. Can also reduce the risk of colon cancer.Particularly high in certain nutrients, like vitamin A, when dried.

Apricots can be made into brandy or wine. Add them to chicken or vegetables to get a Middle Eastern taste.

* Avocados (Heart Health, Anti-Cancer)
Glycemic Load: 4

Rich and nutritious. They are high in good monounsaturated, omega-9 fat (specifically oleic acid). This fat helps lower your bad LDL cholesterol and raise your good HDL cholesterol. Has been shown to inhibit prostate cancer growth by over 50%.  Avocados are also great for your heart, eyes and skin!

The flesh can be used as a moisturizing shaving cream or to hydrate dry hair.

If the whole fruit isn't used at once squeeze some lemon or lime juice on it and store in the fridge to prevent browning.

Bananas (Electrolyte Balance)

Cheerful Cartoon banana characterGlycemic Load: 16

Packed with potassium.

Potassium protects cells, help maintain a steady heartbeat and helps balance electrolytes (specifically- sodium/potassium) and overall body fluids.

Bananas are given to endurance athletes (and steroid users) to prevent cramps or painful back and calf pumps. Taurine and potassium are the ultimate combination to restore electrolyte balance and fend off debilitating cramps.

The white, inner peal is loaded with nutrients. So instead of trying not to eat the little "stringy things" on your banana, do the opposite. Take them off the peal and throw them in your protein shake.

If you want to ripen the banana overnight, put it in a paper bag with a piece of apple or tomato.

Likewise, to delay ripening- put it in the fridge.

* Blueberries (Most Powerful Fruit You Can Eat!)Blueberry

Glycemic Load: 6

If kale is the king of vegetables, blueberries are the God(s) of fruit.

They have been nicknamed "the brain food," and for good reason! These tiny berries are STUFFED with powerful antioxidants, in particular the compound- anthocyanin, which is also an anti-inflammatory.

Blueberries are as good as it gets.

They are one of the best defenses against serious neurological disorders, like dementia, because they actually help old neurons in your brain communicate with each other. AND they help build new neurons!

Phenomenal!

So, basically, they are like the genius bar for your brain! SO EAT UP! Blueberries are the highest scoring fruit on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) test of all time! Which tests their antioxidant power. They have been one of the highest scoring foods in the world several times.

Blueberries last 7-10 days in the fridge, longer than any other berry.

If you were to eat no other fruit, except blueberries on a daily basis, your antioxidant intake (and probably your overall health) would be greater than just about all the humans you see on a daily basis.

As you might expect, the Barlean's formula that I won't shut up about contains organic blueberry extract.

* Cherries (Anti-Cancer)

Glycemic Load: 4-7 

Loaded with potent cancer-fighting agents, like quercetin, as well as several other anti-inflammatory and anti-aging compounds!

Shown to actually inhibit the growth of tumors because they are rich in perillyl alcohol.

Buy organic cherries because in 2003 the Environmental Working Group listed cherries as one of the top twelve foods with the most contamination of pesticides (and I'm sure it's just as bad now, if not worse). So it's worth spending the extra dollar or two if you can afford to buy organic.

Remember we are talking about REAL cherries, not maraschino cherries (the kind that you'll find on an ice cream sundae).

candy cherriesMaraschino cherries are closer to candy than cherries. 

* Coconut (Energy)

Glycemic Load: 1-3

Noce di Cocco Cartoon-Coconut-Vector

Coconut is really cool.

Although many people stay away because of the high saturated fat content, the saturated fat is actually unique and not bad. It is good because it is made up of medium-chain-triglycerides (MCTs), rather than long-chain-triglycerides in unhealthy saturated fat.

The MCTs in coconut are easily digestible and more readily used for energy rather than being stored as fat. Not to mention, lauric acid makes up half of the fat in coconut and it is antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial.

Most people aren't going to run out and buy a bunch of coconuts and figure out how to open and store them so just know that you can get a lot of the coconut benefits from Extra Virgin Coconut oil and organic coconut flakes.

Commercial coconut milk and coconut water are good for you, but they are mainly made of water. Their nutritional value can't be compared to the whole fruit or extracts from the whole fruit such as coconut oil or coconut flakes.

Cranberries (Antibacterial)

Glycemic Load: 2

Prevents urinary tract infections because of their antibacterial agents. These agents also prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth, which helps prevent plaque build-up. Cranberries contain compounds that have been shown to be toxic to certain kinds of tumor cells related to

lung cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia.

Although friends claim that taking cranberry extract supplements have "definitely" helped them beat drug tests, I am highly skeptical and I think these supplements, similar to supplements that "clean" your liver, are completely useless.

Red Grapefruit (Stable Blood Sugar)

Glycemic Load: 3

Grapefruit is one of only foods that can legitimately claim that it has a direct effect on weight loss. The fruit helps keep blood sugar low which can keep your body from storing unwanted calories as fat.

It has been shown to lower triglycerides (blood fat that raises risk of heart disease), lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and has anticancer benefits.

Grapefruit has a unique compound (3a4) that can increase the bio-availability of certain drugs and how long it stay active in your body. In most cases, it won't make a drug "stronger" but rather prolong it's effect.grapefruit

Like with most vegetables, the most nutritious fruit is going to be the deepest colored. You will want to opt to red grapefruit over white grapefruit. I never like grapefruit growing up, in fact- I hated it. If you sprinkle Stevia or Splenda on it, it tastes like candy. Seriously, it's really good.

* Guava (Anti-Cancer)

guava fruitGlycemic Load: 7

Has more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable, which is a carotenoid that provides more protection against free radicals than any other type of carotenoid.

This fruit can significantly reduce prostate cancer, among other cancers. Helps repair damaged cells and reduce aging. Guava leaves have been used medically for diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders.

Chances are, you'll have to go searching a little bit for organic guava.

It's rarely in ready-to-eat fruit salads at most grocery stores since it lasts only about 36 hours once it's cut.

* Kiwi Fruit (Heart Health, Organic Not Necessary)

Glycemic Load: 8

Double the amount of vitamin C of oranges. Acts as a blood thinner, without the side effects of Aspirin, which can improve heart health and might be useful to steroid users that are running oral steroids or strong injectables such as trenabolone on cycle.

Stimulates cellular repair and reduces oxidative damage to DNA. Made the Environmental Working Group's top 12 foods least contaminated with pesticides in 2003.

A lot of people avoid buying kiwi because they think they have to take time to remove the skin- you don't. You can eat it with the skin on, just make sure to wash it well. The skin is packed with nutrients and fiber.

kiwi fruitYou can eat kiwi with or without the skin. 

Lemons (Anti-Cancer, Organic Not Necessary)

Glycemic Load: 4

Squeeze organic lemons into water and drink two glasses a day to boost your digestion, liver and bile. Add grated lemon peel to hot black tea to decrease chance of skin cancer. The peel also contains chemicals that are chemopreventative against lung, liver and UV-induced cancers.

Although buying organic is not necessary because lemons have a nice tough, edible skin- it's important that you WASH the skin.

If you've been a bartender or worked in most restaurants- you'll know that most places DO NOT wash their lemons thoroughly (if at all). They just cut them up and throw them into drinks.

Pineapple (Organic Not Necessary)

Glycemic Load: 6

Sweet with relatively low GL. The stem is super nutritious. Throw parts of the stem in a shake because it contains bromelain- digestive enzymes, found in many digestion supplements. They break down amino acid bonds in protein. The fruit also contains these enzymes, just not as much. The fruit does wonders for skin, cartilage and bone formation.

Canned pineapple is usually sitting in sugar water- avoid it.

Pineapple will last 4+ days in the fridge and even 2 days at room temperature.

melons_medMelon are certainly healthful but they are mostly water and lack the nutritional profile that berries and other whole fruits have.

* Raspberries (Anti-Cancer, Buy Organic)

Glycemic Load: 3

Fight cancer cells without harming good cells, with ellagic acid- anti-carcinogenic and antimutagenic.

One of the highest fiber foods in the world gram for gram. Have been shown to alleviate arthritis and are high in antioxidants.

Raspberries lasts only 2 days in the fridge, you need to eat them ASAP.

* Strawberries (Anti-Cancer, Buy Organic)

Glycemic Load: 3

Super high in antioxidants! Inhibits tumor initiation in certain types of cancer, including liver cancer.

Contains ellagic acid (cancer-fighter, like raspberries). Enhances short-term memory.

Strawberries will last for 3-4 days in the fridge as long as you leave the caps (green leaf head) on.

strawberries

* Fruit (and Vegetable) Juice

We are talking about 100% REAL FRUIT JUICE with NO ADDITIVES.

Literally- solid fruit changed in liquid form, with no alterations, modifications are added "helpers".

If you are lucky, your regular grocery store will carry one or two options that are actually fruit juice and not "fruit juice".

Organic, 100% fresh fruit and vegetable juice or a mix of both is a great way to get in all of the wonderful fruits and vegetables that dramatically boost your health.

Buy either juice that is 100% fruit and/or vegetable (make sure to read the ingredients label) or juice them yourself. If the ingredients list anything more than ONE ingredient- it's probably NOT REAL JUICE.

Just don't buy processed, sugar loaded crap labeled "fruit juice" or "fruit beverage" because it does WAY more harm than good to your health. 

Welch's Mini Fruit JuiceThis is closer to soda than real fruit juice.

Remember- it takes several (sometimes hundreds) of pieces of fruit to make REAL fruit juice.

You can bet that is has a lot of sugar and you'd be wise to consume any sort of juice in moderation, if at all. If you are concerned about your body composition I'd avoid it entirely.

Final Thoughts

If you learn nothing else from this discussion, remember-

Fruit is nutritious but not a weight loss food.

From that alone, you will have a higher nutrition IQ than the majority of humans and animals wandering around planet earth.

If you are trying to gain weight or manage your weight, eat it in moderation, at most.

If you are trying to lose weight, don't eat it.

Regardless of your fitness goals, like vegetables, you probably doesn't consume enough quality fruit and might want to consider supplementing it.

Either way, fruit WILL ALWAYS be a better choice for dessert than traditional desserts such as ice cream, apple pie or fried cheesecake dipped in chocolate syrup.

Also, it's important to distinguish 100% FRUIT JUICE from "Fruit Juice".

100% FRUIT JUICE is literally fruit in a concentrated liquid form with all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

"Fruit Juice" (or Fruit Juice from Concentrate) is mainly sugar water that flavored with added to taste like whatever fruit it is supposed to be.

Both will be quite high in sugar and are closer to Gatorade with most nutrients than any sort of weight loss friendly, appetite suppressing health food.

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Comments (28)

  1. boxxy

I was wondering about fruits! Another great article. Thank you!

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  1. Good Looking Loser    boxxy

Thanks dude

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  1. Boy Toy

Yeah, I agree - fruits are generally overrated. Dude you can almost start your own nutrition-school soon! Thank you very much for your work! I'm sure you change the nutrition for tons of people for the better!!! :-)

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Boy Toy

THanks BT- hope you are good brotha

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[...] unique cancer-fighting phytochemicals in herbs and spices that arent even in our A-List fruits and [...]

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  1. dennis

hate to ruin the parade but I lost a lot of weight on a high carb low fat mostly fruit diet. All of our cells run on sugar. If you don't feed your cells sugar, you're not going to have any energy. The reason why people get diabetes is if they...

hate to ruin the parade but I lost a lot of weight on a high carb low fat mostly fruit diet. All of our cells run on sugar. If you don't feed your cells sugar, you're not going to have any energy. The reason why people get diabetes is if they consume high amounts of fat. Fat blocks the insulin receptor sites from creating enough insulin to get sugar into our cells. Our cells need sugar. You can choose fat over carbs if you like. The problem with fat is that it is a secondary backup source to carbohydrates. Fat takes a lot of your body's energy to convert it into carbohydrates. That's right, when you're eating a high fat diet you're really eating carbs but it uses up a lot of energy for your body to convert fat into an energy source. If you want more energy, lower your fat intake and increase your carb intake. I tried this high meat high fat low carb thing and my heart was all fucked up, was depressed, low blood pressure and passing out while standing. I could barely function as a human being. I switched to try a high carb high fruit diet and all of my health problems went away. I have tons of energy to work out and burn fat, I lost weight, my brain function improved, and I ditched the anti-depressants. Fruit has the most human nutrition on the planet.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    dennis

Fruit is healthy, I don't deny that. It doesn't support weight loss because it has fructose. It's not impossible to lose weight and eat fruit. ive done that before too. It's just easier when you avoid fruit.

Some people don't do well on low...

Fruit is healthy, I don't deny that. It doesn't support weight loss because it has fructose. It's not impossible to lose weight and eat fruit. ive done that before too. It's just easier when you avoid fruit.

Some people don't do well on low (~zero) carb diet, most do.

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  1. dennis

Fruit is alkalizing on the blood system. You want to keep your blood alkaline. Refined sugar is acidic. There is a big difference between refined sugar preservative juice and eating fresh fruit either wholely or in smoothies.

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  1. C Man

I was under the impression that cane sugar or any raw, un(der?)proecessed sugar is better than white refined sugar, isn't that at least slightly true?

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  1. Good Looking Loser    C Man

nope, sugar is sugar. it all raises blood sugar, naturally or not. i suppose it's 'better' but hardly something you'd want to eat

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  1. Jon

Another ace post along with the one on spices. Comprehensive & well researched! Thank you for sharing.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Jon

Thanks very much Jon

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  1. Big Ninja

I wouldn't have guessed that pineapple would be on the list, I've always been warned to stay away because it's one of the sweetest fruits.
Shows what they know, eh?

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Big Ninja

it packs a punch, it's more nutritious and all the melons. I love it, provided its ripe

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  1. Spencestar

Another really great list. We don't get all of these where I live but we get some of these really easily. I think mentioning which ones we should shell out organic price for helps a lot too.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Spencestar

Thank you Spencer

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  1. Badonkadonk

Packaged fruit juices are terrible. Just reading about what happens to them before they land on store shelves almost made me sick. I still prefer juices to eating fruits, so I just buy fruits & make my own.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Badonkadonk

You are so right

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