All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

carbohydrates

  • Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose - Sugars in Plant Foods

    • Fructose and glucose are simple sugars, monosaccharides, with the general formula C6H12O6
      • Fructose, or fruit sugar, occurs naturally in fruits, some root vegetables, cane sugar and honey and is the sweetest of the sugars. 
      • Glucose, dextrose or grape sugar, occurs naturally in fruits and plant juices and is the primary product of photosynthesis. Most ingested carbohydrates are converted into glucose during digestion and it is the form of sugar that is transported around the bodies of animals in the bloodstream. 
    • Sucrose is a compound sugar, disaccharide, with the general formula C12H22O11
      Sucrose is found in the stems of sugarcane and roots of sugar beet. It also occurs naturally alongside fructose and glucose in other plants, in particular fruits and some roots (carrots). A molecule of sucrose is formed by the combination of a molecule of glucose with a molecule of fructose, and it is split into these parts during digestion.

    The different proportions of sugars found in plant foods determines their sweetness

  • Fruit and Diabetes Type 2

    Researchers in Denmark randomized 63 patients to high fruit or low fruit intake, and after 12 weeks, the 2 groups had similar drops in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, weight, and girth. They enrolled patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes who had been referred for nutritional counseling. The patients were an even mix of men and women, with a mean age of 58 years and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 32.  

    Allan S. Christensen, the lead of the research group: 

    We conclude that advice to restrict fruit intake as part of standard [medical nutrition therapy] in overweight adults with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus does not improve glycemic control, body weight, or waist circumference.

    The 32 subjects in the low-fruit-intake group were advised eat no more than 2 pieces of fruit a day, whereas the 31 subjects in the high-fruit-intake group were told to indulge in 2 or more pieces of fruit a day.

    A piece of fruit was defined as the amount that contained about 10 g of carbohydrate - for example, an apple (100 g), half a banana (50 g), or an orange (125 g). The subjects were also instructed to eat whole fruit, skip dried fruit, and not drink fruit juice.

    Over the 12 weeks, on average, fruit consumption rose from 194 g/day to 319 g/day in the high-intake group and decreased from 186 g/day to 135 g/day in the low-intake group.

    Patients in the high-fruit-intake group had a significant drop in HbAIC levels, from 6.74% to 6.26%. They also lost about 2 kg (from 92 kg to 90 kg) and trimmed their waist by about 4 cm (from 103 to 99 cm). Similar results were obtained by patients in the low-fruit-intake group, and there were no significant between-group differences in these 3 outcomes.

  • Nutrient-Dense Food

    Nutrient-dense foods are foods that have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories.

    Nutrient-dense foods and beverages contain: vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other beneficial substances that may have positive health effects.

    They are also naturally lean or low in saturated fat, and have little or no added saturated fat, sugars, refined starches, and sodium.

    Examples of nutrient dense foods are: beans and peas, fresh fruit, unsalted nuts and seeds, vegetables, whole grains - most fruitarian foods are nutrient-dense.

  • Whole Fruits for Satiety

    For satiety choose whole fruit over smoothies and juices.

    Solid fruits affect feeling of fullness more than pureed fruit or juice. Adding naturally occurring levels of fiber to juice do not enhance satiety.

  • Microflora Differences in European and African Village Children

    Gut microbial composition depends on different dietary habits just as health depends on microbial metabolism, but the association of microbiota with different diets in human populations has not yet been shown.

    Significant differences were found in gut microbiota between European children (EU) and that of children from a rural African village of Burkina Faso, , where the diet is high in fiber content, and is similar to that of early human settlements at the time of the birth of agriculture.

    Burkina Faso children showed a significant enrichment in Bacteroidetes and depletion in Firmicutes, and a unique abundance of bacteria from the genus Prevotella and Xylanibacter, completely lacking in the EU children. Enterobacteriaceae (Shigella and Escherichia) were significantly underrepresented in Burkina Faso children.

    In addition, we found significantly more short-chain fatty acids in Burkina Faso children. 

    Gut microbiota might have coevolved with the polysaccharide-rich diet, allowing to maximize energy intake from fibers while also protecting from inflammations and noninfectious colonic diseases. 

  • Food Energy

    Food energy is chemical energy that animals derive from their food and molecular oxygen through the process of cellular respiration. Humans and other animals need a minimum intake of food energy to sustain their metabolism and to drive their muscles.

    Organisms derive food energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins as well as from organic acids, polyols, and ethanol present in the diet. Some diet components that provide little or no food energy, such as water, minerals, vitamins, cholesterol, and fiber, may still be necessary to health and survival for other reasons. 

    Using the International System of Units, researchers measure energy in joules (J) or in its multiples; the kilojoule (kJ) is most often used for food-related quantities. An older metric system unit of energy, still widely used in food-related contexts, is the "food calorie" or kilocalorie (kcal or Cal), equal to 4.184 kilojoules. 

    <>Fats and ethanol have the greatest amount of food energy per mass, 37 and 29 kJ/g (8.8 and 6.9 kcal/g), respectively. Proteins and most carbohydrates have about 17 kJ/g (4.1 kcal/g). 

    Conventional food energy is based on heats of combustion in a bomb calorimeter and corrections that take into consideration the efficiency of digestion and absorption and the production of urine. 

  • Secondary Metabolites in Leaves and Stems

    Leaves and stems of plants, green vegetables or leafy greens, are widely consumed by humans. The protein contents are higher than in fruits, and they contain low amounts of sugar.

    Some green vegetables produce secondary metabolites that have bitter or astringent properties and may produce toxic alkaloidal and other compounds such as hemoglutenens. Others produce intestinal enzyme inhibitors, such as lectins, which bind to mucosal surfaces and inhibit digestion, especially that of proteins. 


    Plant secondary metabolism produces a large number of specialized compounds (~ 200.000) that do not aid in the growth and development of plants but are required for the plant to survive in its environment. Specialized compounds from secondary metabolism are essential for communicating with other organisms in mutualistic (e.g. attraction of beneficial organisms such as pollinators) or antagonistic interactions (e.g. deterrent against herbivores and pathogens). They further assist in coping with abiotic stress such as increased UV-radiation.

    The broad functional spectrum of specialized metabolism is still not fully understood.

    Well known specialized compounds include alkaloids, polyphenolsincluding flavonoids, and terpenoids. Humans use quite a lot of these compounds, or the plants from which they originate, for medicinal and nutraceutical purposes.

  • Free Fructose Functions Similar to Fiber

    Fruits contain mostly sugars and fibers, such as pectin, that are extensively fermented in the large intestine. Certain fruits, especially apples and pears, are concentrated in fructose. Apples contain 6% fructose and 3% sucrose and pears are 6.5% fructose and 1.3% sucrose; these values would be consistent in apple and pear juices. Free fructose is poorly absorbed and would function similar to dietary fiber, escaping absorption in the small intestine while being fermented in the large intestine. This results in SCFA production, which is linked to small amounts of energy being absorbed in the colon. 

  • Fruits and Vegetables

    Fruit and vegetable consumption is a focus of research and nutrition education, but there is no universal agreement on the meaning of 'fruits and vegetables'. Foods that require specific instruction include rice, dried beans, potatoes, tomatoes and fruits and vegetables in mixtures and condiments. 

    Fruit and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet, and their sufficient daily consumption could help prevent major diseases. A recently published WHO/FAO report recommends a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables per day (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers) for the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, as well as for the prevention and alleviation of several micronutrient deficiencies. 

    Fruits and vegetables are universally promoted as healthy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommend you make one-half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

    Fruits and vegetables include a diverse group of plant foods that vary greatly in content of energy and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables supply dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals to the diet and are sources of phytochemicals (phytonutrients) that function as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and antiinflammatory agents and through other protective mechanisms. 

    FruitsVegetables

  • Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products, one of the basic food groups.

    Sugar is the generalized name for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. They are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (or dextrose), fructose, and galactose. The table sugar most customarily used as food is sucrose - hydrolyses into fructose and glucose in the body. Other disaccharides include maltose and lactose. Longer chains of sugars are called oligosaccharides. 

    Starch is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants as an energy store. It is the most common carbohydrate in human diets and is contained in large amounts in staple foods such as potatoes, wheat, maize (corn), rice. Pure starch is a white, tasteless and odorless powder that is insoluble in cold water or alcohol. 

    Fiber is consists of non-starch polysaccharides such as arabinoxylans, cellulose, and many other plant components such as resistant starch, resistant dextrins, inulin, lignin, chitins, pectins, beta-glucans, and oligosaccharides, and are derived from plants. Dietary fibers are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, changes as it goes through the digestive tract, where it is fermented by bacteria, partially into physiologically active byproducts - healthful compounds. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and stays intact as it moves through your digestive system, can be prebiotic and metabolically ferment in the large intestine. Dietary fibers can change absorption of other nutrients and chemicals. Some soluble plant fibers can modulate intestinal inflammation and are contrabiotic. Many types of so-called dietary fiber are not actually fibrous.

Charles Darwin

There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher animals in their mental faculties . . . The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.

Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid.

Provided by diet, phenylalanine can be converted into another amino acid, tyrosine, in the body. Tyrosine is used to synthesize two key neurotransmitters that promote alertness: dopamine and norepinephrine. 

It has 3 forms:

  • D-phenylalanine;
  • L-phenylalanine - most common, the form in which phenylalanine is incorporated into the body’s proteins;
  • DL-phenylalanine.

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