There’s a wealth of information about food and nutrition on the internet, but there’s also a lot of misinformation out there too.
One common misconception is about the right time to eat fruit, and here are five myths that relate to it – along with the truth.
1. Myth – It’s Best to Eat Fruit on an Empty Stomach
This myth says that eating fruit with meals can slow your digestion down, causing the fruit to sit in your stomach and ferment, causing gas, discomfort, and other digestive issues.
The fiber in fruit can slow your digestion down a bit, but the other claims are false. Fruit doesn’t cause food to stay in your stomach and ferment – fiber doesn’t slow your digestion enough to allow food to rot in your stomach, but it does slow it enough so that you feel fuller for longer.
Your stomach acid has a pH of around one or two, which is too acidic for most microorganisms and bacteria to survive.
There is also no scientific evidence that fruit eaten with meals can cause bloating, diarrhea, or other digestive problems.
2. Myth – Eating Fruit Before or After Meals Reduces the Nutrient Value
Somewhat similar to the first myth, this claims that you need to eat fruit on an empty stomach in order to gain the most nutrition from it.
This just isn’t true, as you gain the same amount of nutrients whatever time you eat fruit or any other food.
When you eat, your stomach acts as a reservoir, releasing only little amounts at a time, so that your intestines can digest it easily. Not only that, but the small intestine is designed to absorb as many nutrients as possible.
Studies have shown that human intestines have the ability to absorb twice as many nutrients as the average person consumes each day.
3. Myth – Diabetics Should Eat Fruit 1-2 Hours Before or After Meals
This myth says that as people with diabetes often have digestive problems, eating fruit separately from meals will improve digestion.
This is not the case, however. There is no scientific evidence supporting this claim, and it may mean that sugar in fruit can enter the bloodstream faster, which is actually bad for diabetics.
Instead, they should try eating fruit with a meal, or pairing it with a high-protein or high-fiber food, in order to release food into the small intestine more slowly.
This means that a smaller amount of sugar is absorbed at a time, meaning a lower rise in blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that only 7.5 grams of soluble fiber can decrease the rise in blood sugar after a meal by around 25%.
4. Myth – It’s Best to Eat Fruit in the Afternoon
There isn’t any logic or scientific evidence to support this claim.
It is said that the metabolism slows down in the afternoon, and eating high-sugar foods such as fruit raises your blood sugar levels and stimulates your digestive system.
Any carb-containing food will temporarily increase your blood sugar while glucose is being absorbed, whatever time of day it’s eaten. There’s no need to “wake” your digestive system, as it’s always prepared to receive food once you start eating.
5. Myth – You Should Avoid Fruit After 2 P.M.
This myth directly contradicts number 4, saying that you shouldn’t eat fruit in the afternoon.
The theory is that eating fruit or any carbs after 2 p.m. raises your blood sugar, which your body doesn’t have time to stabilize before you go to bed, causing weight gain.
Any carb-containing food will raise your blood sugar, but there is no evidence that your blood sugar will be more raised after 2 p.m. than at any other time of day.
There are several factors that determine whether calories are burned as energy or stored as fat, but eating at a certain time of day isn’t one of them.
Fruits and vegetables are healthy, nutritious and should be a staple part of your diet.