Sunday, September 4, 2011

Eat Fruit? DON'T Eat Fruit? It's ALL About the Timing & the Glycemic Load!

by Nell Stephenson

There seems to be a lot of confusion about if and when eating fruit is Paleo.

Some eat WAY too much, and others eat none! Others still, not only don't eat enough fruit, but they also don't eat nearly enough veg. The latter case, incidentally, tends to warrant the complaint of "my digestion is off since I'm 'no longer getting enough fiber without my cereals/breads/grains' ".

There are many permutations of Paleo that I've witnessed clients implementing, but if the macro nutrient balance is not followed (roughly 40/30/30 in favor of unprocessed carbohydrate for all meals NOT before & after endurance training) and foods with high glycemic loads, like certain fruits, are eaten at the wrong times, THAT is where one can run into problems.

My favourite example is an endurance athlete's beloved bananas. Bananas tend to be higher on the glycemic index chart and lower in fiber, so they make a great snack, or part of a snack to have before or after a run. Conversely, cherries tend to be lower in sugar and higher in fiber, so they'd be a great choice to have as part of a salad, with some grilled turkey breast, avocado and meslun greens.

ALL fresh fruit IS part of the Paleo diet- just keep it in balance. For ALL meals not around training, follow this simple formula and you won't go wrong:

Start with veggies- the greener and/or darker, the better, and the more variety, the better. You choose- raw, steamed, sauteed.. whatever you're in the mood for.
THEN, add some clean protein- wild fish, free-range poultry, grass-fed meats or shellfish.
NEXT, add some good fat- avocado, or olive oil or coconut oil.
FINALLY, add a bit of fruit- a small apple, a handful or berries or some grapefruit segments.

Try not to think about snacks any differently than meals, as far as portion sizes and balance. I advise clients to get some veggies in each time they eat, and I do the same myself. I'm also a fan of eating small meals, often, throughout the day. If you're someone who needs 2,000 kcals/day, then try five, 400 calorie meals spaced out evenly.

BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE!

Think about it- does it make sense to eat six bananas as a meal while you're sitting still at your desk, working? Doesn't it sound like a better option to have steamed kale, wild salmon, avocado, topped with some strawberries instead?

Fruit is NOT off limits; rather, it's an important, nutritious source of many micro nutrients!


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