Many treatments fall under the umbrella of Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM. Some of the most commonly used CAM therapies include: Acupuncture Chiropractic Food counseling Herbalism Massa...
Growing up, many of us had parents, doctors, teachers, or guardians who always reminded us to eat fruits and veggies. Some of us could only leave the dinner table if we ate every last bite of greens or apples. Recently, the United States also declared September National Fruit and Vegetable Month, bringing awareness to the health advantages of eating plant-based foods.
Having said so, it may seem counterintuitive to discuss the reasons NOT to eat them. After all, a “colorful diet” has long been the heart of good nutrition, associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases, improved digestion, and overall well-being. Still, knowledge is power! Learning about the lesser-known health reasons to avoid fruits and vegetables can be beneficial, especially for people with existing health conditions and food sensitivities.
The Sweet Truth About Sugar in Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies have sugar, too. Some pack a higher sugar punch than others. For example, grapes, mangoes, jackfruit, apricots, and bananas contain more natural sugars than berries and citrus fruits. As for vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, and green peas have higher sugar levels than spinach, lettuce, and broccoli.
In general, whole fruits and veggies are healthy for most people. Even people with diabetes can eat most fruits. However, avoid replacing them with juices and dried fruits. Fruit and green juices have minimal to no fiber and do not require chewing to pace consumption. As for dried fruits like raisins and plums, they are low in water and highly concentrated.
Juices and dried fruits make consuming large amounts of sugar possible in one sitting. Ensure to follow appropriate portion recommendations, as excessive consumption could lead to:
- Unintended weight gain
- High blood sugar or worsening diabetes
- Tooth decay
In addition, most dieticians discourage following an all-fruit diet. Also called the fruitarian diet, it can cause chronic fatigue, anemia, and immune system dysfunction.
Related: How Is Your Blood Glucose?
The Explosive Reality of Vegetables and Leaky Gut Syndrome
When lectins stick to the intestinal wall, they compromise the typically tight junctions, increasing permeability. This heightened permeability allows harmful pathogens, glucose, and other plant toxins to infiltrate the bloodstream. Lectins in the bloodstream can also bind to glucose molecules in different body areas, contributing to chronic inflammation and conditions like arthritis.
Foods with fewer or no lectins include meats from grass-fed animals, poultry, and seafood. As for plant-based options, cruciferous veggies, celery, broccoli, and avocado are some of the best alternatives.
The Irony of Being Allergic to Fruits and Vegetables
Allergies to certain fruits and vegetables are more common than one might expect. Two of the most prevalent allergies involving these foods include:
- Oral allergy syndrome (OAS): This cross-reactive allergy occurs when proteins in certain fruits and veggies resemble allergenic proteins found in pollen. For example, individuals allergic to birch pollen may experience OAS when consuming apples, carrots, or celery.
- Latex-fruit syndrome: Proteins in latex and certain fruits – including avocado, plum, kiwi, strawberry, banana, chestnut, passionfruit, and tomato – share similarities.
Persistent itching or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat are the telltale signs of OAS and latex-fruit syndrome. In some cases, nausea or stomach pains can also occur.
A serious reaction, which manifests through breathing difficulties and feeling faint (anaphylactic shock), can be fatal without immediate treatment.
There is no denying that fruits and vegetables have multiple health benefits. However, some are less nutritious than others. Some can also be life-threatening, depending on circumstances.
Be mindful of existing health conditions, ensuring you understand the associated symptoms and appropriate precautions. Also, always consult a medical professional before making significant dietary changes.