Episode #177: How To Eat Fruit Without Getting Fat

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In this January 4, 2012 free audio episode: “How To Eat Fruit Without Getting Fat”. Also: returning to running, the “thrifty” gene, short quads from cycling, healthy beans, phytoestrogen, crank lengths, is periodization dead, recovering from a 2 day relay, ancient wheats & grains, and advice for a beginner triathlete.

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News Flashes:

Today's news flashes are a bunch of fun workout challenges Ben put together for New Year's… but you can do them anytime!

#1: On December 31st: 100 Pushups or 100 Squats per hour from 8am to midnight

#2: Celebrate 01/01/2012 by swimming 1 mile, running 1 mile and biking 20.12 miles.

#3: Do this workout before you head out to your New Year's Party (allow 2 hours).

#4: Cycle through each of these 10 minute workouts every hour or every two hours.

#5: At 8am, do 8 burpees, 9am do 9 burpees, at 10am…you get the idea…and oh yeah, use military timing. What's a burpee?

#6: Do 6 rounds of my “Body Weight Workout For Triathletes“.

#7: If #3 wasn't good enough, do this workout before you head out to your New Year's Party (allow 2 hours).

#8: Swim 2012 meters as fast as you can. For added difficulty, do it with a bike tube around your ankles.

#9: Take a cold shower on New Year's morning, then do this “Metabolic Body Weight Workout“.

#10: Do 2012 medicine ball slams by doing about 200 an hour on December 31.

ALSO: Ben talked about some fancy toothpaste (powder actually) that he has been using. You can find it here: www.inneryu.com


Listener Q&A:A donate button that reads - keep the podcasts coming

Katie says:
I recently found your blog because I was researching information on Tim Ferris diet “4 Hour Body”. My main interest is in his opinion on eating fruit. I saw that you mentioned it a few times in different articles (you said not to eat fruit in the mornings if you are trying to lose fat). I'm wondering what your entire take on fruit is? I feel like fruit could really be a food for me that's a tipping factor – meaning I eat it, eat too much of it, and it completely destroys my fat loss attempts. I would hate to completely cut it out, if that leads to a lack of nutrients that are impossible to gain from other foods.

Tina Says:
A year ago I joined a “learn to run clinic” and achieved the “10 minutes run with a 1 minute walk” but as the distance progressed I found my self getting injured om my foot and hip. I took time to rest and strengthen my IT band (as you had suggested in my previous question “Clicking in my hip”). So, I stopped running, and just did some cycling and strength training. Then, when I felt I was ready to run again (after about a month off running), I started from the beginning, 2s and 1s, and progressed to 7s and 1s, I did a 5k and that went well, but I hurt my foot hurt again. The day after the run there was a burning sensation under my foot. So, I took more time off, took an adult learn to swim class, continued with cycling, strength training, and elliptical. Now, it's been three weeks, the burning sensation isn't in my foot anymore and I would like to start running again, my question is… do I start right back at the beginning i.e.: 2 minutes running, 1 minute walk or can I start at a 5 minutes run,1 minutes walk, or can I continue on from the 7s and 1s where I left off at?

~ Tina's original question about hip clicking was responded to in Episode #164.

Livingstone says:
I have been cycling for approximately 2 years and have made some significant gains using a structured periodization based plan. I train a lot on the road for Cross Country MTB. I have recently taken up the challenge of jogging for a bit of cross training as well as a quick morning session to trim my body fat down a bit. The problem I have is that my quads keep cramping. Not like an explosive, violent calf cramp but more of a consistent tightening of the muscles which make up my upper front leg muscles. It get so sore that I actually have to stop jogging and then it actually gets even tighter. Aerobically I feel great and just want to break out into a fast jog but my legs say NO! Can the quads muscles on cyclists get short from cycling? What could be the cause of my problem and can you suggest a plan to fix it?

Dylan wrote:
Is the so-called “starvation” gene, or “thrifty” gene, a myth? I'd like to start this year getting into competitive bodybuilding, but since no matter what I try I seem to be stuck at around 15% body fat, I was thinking of going on a very low-calorie diet. But you sometimes hear about the “thrifty” gene kicking in on starvation diets, making fat loss even more difficult. Is there really such a thing? What is the fastest way to go from 15% body fat to 5%?

Bill says:
My sister-in-law is taking Cross Fit classes and doing their diet. They tell her not to eat beans because it irritates the digestive track. Do you have any thoughts on this? I have always thought that beans are very healthy.

Deborah says:
I'm confused about phytoestrogens. Should I be avoiding them, or seeking them out? I am a 44 year old woman with a history of fibroids and atypical ductal hyperplasia in both breasts, so I'm quite concerned about managing estrogen. I would appreciate your views.

Jeffrey asks:
I just want to know your thoughts on crank lengths for triathlon. Currently I ride 175mm and I'm considering dropping down to 172.5mm. What are the benefits of doing this? Should I do this? I think I'm overcooking my quads with the 175mm cranks.

~ In my response to Jeffrey, I reference this crank length calculator.

Graeme says:
Is periodization dead? With the traditional view being:
– build a base, focussing on aerobic, long, slow, fat burning,
– then focus on more interval, muscular endurance,
– then a short pre race peak phase.
With the evidence pointing to HIIT being applicable for building aerobic base and also building VO2 and raising LT, can you just train with variations to interval training all year? Would that work? Are hard anaerobic or LT intervals as good to build a base aerobic foundation?

Susan says:
Couple questions. I am a triathlete currently training for my second Half IM race in April. I got talked into doing the RAGNAR Relay (in Arizona) at the end of February with my husband's team. This will include running 3x over the course of 48 hours, anywhere from 4-8 miles each time. How do I work this into my training plan and how do I fuel so that I have enough energy for each of the runs. I try to follow a Paleo(ish) diet due to stomach issues with gluten, so the all you can eat bagels and Gatorade would be a recipe for disaster. Sleeping will be an issue, as some of the runs are in the middle of the night and we only stop to sleep (either in the van or at a hotel) for 3-4 hours. Any advise as how to maximize my recovery so I am not trashed for my following week of triathlon training, and able to put forth a good effort for the team?

~ In my response I mention the supplements: MAP 30 minutes before, gel with amino acids during, proteolytic enzymes like Recoverease after.

Sam asks:
What is your take on wheat grass and the other grasses plus other sprouted grains? It seemed Dr Davis was tearing it all down so I am curious on your take and if you talked with him more and know more on his take.

~ In my response to Sam, I mention these studies: Toxicity of Einkorn Gluten and Alternative Wheat Cereals as Food Grains: Einkorn, Emmer, Spelt, Kamut, and Triticale

CHEEK asks:

~ In my response to Cheek, I direct her to www.rockstartriathlete.com

Closing music from “Prime Candidate” by Brock Skywalker.
Available on iTunes or at CD Baby.

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25 thoughts on “Episode #177: How To Eat Fruit Without Getting Fat

  1. joe says:

    Agreed… the idea that one nutrient can be the sole cause of obesity in such a complex system such as our human bodies just does not make sense. Maybe it is that nutrient (or any nutrient for that matter) in the presence of over consumption. Great podcast by the way… always some useful info!

  2. joe says:

    Ben, Dr Lustig never said not to eat fruit. On the contrary, he said to EAT fruit because of the fiber. He made a joke that when God made the poison (fructose) he wrapped it in the antidote (fiber).

    What he warned against mostly was high fructose corn syrup.


    1. joe says:

      Mainly the fat kids drinking the sport and energy drinks…

      1. Take-away point is this: it's overall calorie consumption NOT fructose that is the issue. And many people have taken Lustig's lecture and used it to villify fruit, which is why I used that lecture as my starting point.

        1. joe says:

          Agreed… the idea that one nutrient can be the sole cause of obesity in such a complex system such as our human bodies just does not make sense. Maybe it is that nutrient (or any nutrient for that matter) in the presence of over consumption. Great podcast by the way… always some useful info!

  3. Deborah says:

    Ben, thank you so much for your thoughtful answer to my question on phytoestrogens. I had been told 7 years ago that I should up my soy intake because the phytoestrogens would block the estrogen receptors. Now it seems it's not so certain, so I'm going to back off tofu. Never really liked the stuff anyway, so that's good news!
    I'm a recent convert to your podcast, and I'm finding it so interesting. It is certainly making the boring indoors winter biking sessions fly by.

  4. tribuddha says:

    Really good podcast!

  5. allen says:

    Ben the same request from me

      1. allen says:

        Many thanks Ben.. I just ordered.

  6. guerrillarace says:

    Ben, I've been listening to your anti-soy pronouncements and I am wondering if you can provide a link to any studies of soy and human consumption. All of the anti-soy research I've seen is based on rodent studies. There very well could be a difference in the way humans and rodents metabolize soy. As well, if we consider human populations, it seems Okinawans, who seem to have one of the highest, if not the highest, soy consumptions as a population in the world, have long, healthy lives–maybe the longest and healthiest. (As well, you mention dementia in the podcast, and Okinawans have a very low rate of dementia–even in those who are in their nineties.) I know you've mentioned before the difference between fermented soy, like miso, and non-fermented soy tofu, but not all of the soy intake in Okinawa is of the fermented variety. What I would like to see is whatever information you have that made you conclude so definitively that soy should be excluded from a healthy diet.

    1. Here is a good list of in vivo human studies that show both positive and negative results of soy: http://www.whatsinyourcart.net/ns/DisplayMonograph.asp?storeID=89421731439A489E8444B228509165F7&DocID=basic-interactions-soy.

      I suspect that if we were able to reduce xenoestrogens from environmental pollutants, we could probably get away with the amount of phytoestrogens from soy in the Okinawan diet.

      1. guerrillarace says:

        Thank you, Ben. That is indeed an informative site. However, after looking over much of the information contained there, I have come to the conclusion that we may have to agree to disagree about soy. I know you don't totally avoid soy, and I see no evidence to suggest I should eliminate it from my diet (my wife makes a hell of a tofu stir-fry), nor encourage my friends and clients who might drink soy milk regularly to end doing so. Like anything else, though, I do think knowing where your soy comes from may be best. And as you say often, we all are different people with different dietary needs and tolerances, so what works for me may not work for someone else. Thanks again for the information.

        1. Total elimination isn't necessary. The people who need to take most caution are soy-milk chuggin', tofu chompin' vegetarians.

        2. tribuddha says:

          Also, those "faux meats" that are all soy based are really processed.

  7. jeff Hoening says:

    Hi Ben – What brand of charcoal toothpaste do you use? Link? Thanks, j

  8. kem says:

    …but wait, there's more.

    A 1.5 litre bottle of fizzy drink in NZ contains 150 grams of sucrose. That's 75gms of fructose and 75gms of glucose. I see primary school kids drinking that much on the way to school. In the US, the drink is sweetened with HFCS and that means that it contains 82. gms of fructose and 67.5 gms of glucose… and 0 fibre. And that is on the way TO school.

    And if you want to know how much fruit our ancestors ate at a time that counts for our genetic expression (like 1-2 hundred thousand years ago, not 500) read Dr Richard Wranghams "Catching Fire" for a good description of fruit available on the savanah. It isn't very sweet or appetising by his first hand experience; wouldn't have been a daily staple.

    Sorry for the rant, but when you said fructose and you should have said sucrose…You can do better.

    I'll finish listening to the rest of the podcast now.

    1. The reason I said 500 years is because that is Tim Ferris's argument (the origin of the question). It could certainly be argued that paleo man had access to less fruit, but certainly not many of our ancestors in the 1500's.

      I am, just like you, not a fan of soda and fructose present in junk foods.

      But I have no problem with fruit…

      …although you are wrong that it is primarily sucrose. In many cases, sucrose is a fairly small percentage compared to free fructose:

      1. kem says:

        In the table, it's a wash. Pear and apple have a high ratio, plum and apricot a low ratio. Banana is 1:1. Nothing wrong with eating fruit, just finished a bowl of strawberries, cream and almonds… it's just the amount. The average american eats more than 70kg of sugar a year. More than half of that will be fructose an nearly all of it subsidised by the government. I dread to think how much we eat here.

  9. kem says:

    Ben, you would do well to have another look at fructose. In fruit, fructose is bound to glucose, a disaccharide called sucrose. A medium apple will have about 12 grams of glucose and the same of fructose. The 2 grams of fibre in the apple are about 5-10% of the US RDA requirement. If you had actually watched "Sugar, the Bitter Truth" you wold have heard that the amount of fibre in fruit keeps most of us from overeating most fruit.

    Dr. Lustig's day job is looking after obese children, whose calories mostly come overwhelmingly from sugar. Often sugar comes from welfare progammes handing out fruit juice (several pieces of fruit worth of sucrose in a small serving… and lots of servings) to mothers dependant on such programmes. One only makes use of fructose to make glycogen when stores are depleted… and how many of us ever deplete our stores. The rest is stored as fat and can lead to liver disease. Lustig explains fructose's parallel with alchohol with regard to metabolisis.

    1. I watched "Sugar, The Bitter Truth". I disagree with Dr. Lustig that fruit is primarily fiber – but you are correct that as a PERCENTAGE of daily requirements, fruit is higher in fiber than fructose.

      Are you saying the human body can't burn the free fatty acids and triglycerides formed from fructose metabolism in the liver?

      1. kem says:

        No. I am saying that unless you are in need of glycogen replenishment (or engaged in serious exercise) it metabolised to fat in your liver. The millions of people guzzling oj thinking it is somehow healthy are doing worse than fooling themselves, I'm not afraid of fat, I'd guess I get 60% of my calories from fat, but I don't think I need to stress my liver any more than I already do.

        I can't imagine a daily dietary requirement for fructose.

        1. when fructose gets metabolized to fat in your liver, you can burn that fat as a fuel.

  10. In my response to the fruit question, I misspoke. I said fructose is "half glucose". I was actually referring to high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is a mixture of glucose and fructose as simple sugars.

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