Episode 56: Could Avoiding Fruit Be Harming Your Health?

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Thanks for joining us for episode 56 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show!

Today we are answering the following question from a listener:

“Hey Laura, I would love to hear about what you think about fruit? In my nutrition class today (I’m going to be an NTP) they demonized carbs all day and specifically fruit. I know going low carb caused major problems like hypothalamic amenorrhea and adrenal problems. It’s hard sitting in class all day hearing how carbs (even from whole foods) will cause insulin resistance and weight gain.”

When you think about fruit, does the refreshment of fruit salad on a hot day come to mind? Or do you think sugar, carbs, weight gain, oh no!

If you are like most, you long for fruit salad but the fear of its supposed negative effects on your health has relegated it to a top spot on your “beware” list. Fruit has become a food to be feared. This phobia has reached far beyond just the Paleo community to those with concerns about most health issues such as weight, blood sugar control, and digestive concerns.

But it turns out fruit is not a villain after all! Listen today to learn why the widely held belief that fruit is bad for your health is totally inaccurate and can actually harm your health. In fact, fruit is a welcome addition to a whole foods diet with proven health benefits. Tune in now for the refreshing truth!

Here’s what Laura and Kelsey will be discussing in this episode:

  • Why the widely held belief that fruit is bad for you is inaccurate and unproven
  • The inaccuracy of the assumption that you must avoid fruit to treat a digestive condition
  • How carbohydrate sources such as fruit are beneficial to support an active lifestyle
  • The importance of including fruit in your diet for reaching carbohydrate goals on a whole foods Paleo diet
  • The benefit of eating fruit to provide diversity of carbohydrate sources to increase nutrient variety and improve gut bacteria balance
  • Why the sugar content in fruit is not to be feared
  • How the source of sugar influences the impact it has your health
  • The infancy of nutrition as a science
  • Why it is necessary to think critically and take what you read and hear with a grain of salt
  • Proven benefits of a higher carbohydrate diet
  • How students of nutrition can best prepare to be the most effective practitioner for their clients

Links Discussed:


Kelsey: Hi everyone and welcome to episode 56 of the Ancestral RDs podcast. I’m Kelsey Marksteiner and with me as always is Laura Schoenfeld.

Laura: Hey Kelsey. How are you?

Kelsey: Good. How are you doing?

Laura: Good. We just had the most beautiful weekend in North Carolina. It was really, really amazing.

Kelsey: Lucky you. We had rain.

Laura: Oh, really? Saturday was like low mid 80s and sunny and Sunday was high 60s, maybe around 70. It’s funny because I thought Sunday was going to be cold and it turned out to be another beautiful day. We had the perfect weekend. And I spent a lot of time outside, and did some tennis, did some…I guess it was a hike. It was a weird jog, walk, sprint with my dog around a lake.

Kelsey: A weird jog, walk, sprint.

Laura: Yeah, it was like I just had a lot of energy and it was so pretty out that I ended up running for a bit, and then I stopped to let my dog swim a little bit, and then I ran a little more, and then I got tired and walked, and then we come up to these big hills as part of it.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I was like alright, I’m going to sprint up these hills, which now my glutes are super sore.

Kelsey: Of course.

Laura: I don’t do many hill sprints which I think could be a sign that I need to do more of them. But yeah, so that was Saturday. Then yesterday, what did I do? I just took my dog on a decently long walk and did some yard work. Oh, I did yard work both days.

Kelsey: Nice.

Laura: I’m trying to get the yard kind of set up for summer to be nice. Yeah, so I spent most of the day on both days outside and doing something kind of physically active that wasn’t my typical lifting session.

Kelsey: Yeah, I know. We had some rain and so my fiancé and I really wanted to go on a hike on Saturday. So we kind of slept in a little bit and hoped that the rain wasn’t going to happen. Then by the time we were ready to go, it was looking a little bit more ominous so we were considering not going. But we were like, whatever, we’re just going to go and if it rains who cares. We’ll just bring rain jackets and it’ll be an adventure, whatever.

So we went and actually it ended up not raining where we went because we went a little bit sort of north from where we are in the city. We went to Hudson Valley area for our hike. It was a gorgeous hike which I’ve never done before. We’ve been using this website… which I can’t remember the name of right now, but if anybody wants it, let me know in the comments… for all these hikes in the Hudson Valley area. Since we have a car here we can kind of get out of the city pretty easily and go do stuff like that.

It was so nice to just spend some time in nature because of course here we don’t get a whole lot of nature, unfortunately. We really do have to be conscious about getting it when we can. So this was a perfect opportunity to do that.

We try to go hiking a lot of the weekends that we can once it gets into spring or fall, but summer can be kind of gross because it’s too hot, and then winter of course is no fun to go hiking usually. So we really have to pack the weekends in with the hikes if we want to get them in when the weather’s actually nice out.

It turned out to be beautiful actually. It actually got more sunny as we got higher and higher on the mountain. It was awesome and it was just a great way to get that dose of nature that I feel like is missing a lot of the time in New York City.

Laura: Oh yeah. Well, where I live there’s definitely a lot more greenery than I think you probably have. Actually I shouldn’t say I think, I know this for a fact.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: But it’s still possible to get caught up in the idea of a workout being indoors, and in the gym, and that’s the only thing that counts as a workout. As I’ve gotten older, I feel like I’ve appreciated non structured outdoor type of workouts a lot more.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: A lot of times I think people will skip that kind of stuff because they don’t feel like it’s as good as going to the gym. I feel like people really miss out when they take that approach because yeah, the gym’s great and going to the gym a couple times a week is really a good idea, but if the weather’s really nice outside and you have the opportunity to be outside even if the workout itself is not as strenuous as what you would have done in the gym, I think the ultimate benefit really comes from being outside and doing something a little different than normal.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: When I was playing tennis on Saturday, I mean it was definitely tough. It’s something that I haven’t really done in a while and there’s a lot of movement aspects of tennis that is not something I train.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I don’t do a lot of random short sprints, and quick stops, and direction turns, and that kind of stuff. First of all, it was working on some muscle groups that I don’t really get worked on in my training sessions as much and I also got to be outside. It was beautiful out, it was sunny, and I got a little tan. I hope I don’t get sunburn even though it was pretty warm. It’s just if I had had a training session scheduled that morning, I probably wouldn’t have done either of those.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I probably wouldn’t have played tennis and I probably wouldn’t have gone for a run with my dog because I would have been tired. It’s one of things that people should be flexible about because if you’re too regimented with your particular type of workout, you can miss out on doing the more spontaneous and outdoorsy type things. Especially if you live in a place like where Kelsey lives where the weather is potentially unpredictable, you don’t have great weather year round, you have to take advantage of it when it’s available.

Kelsey: Right. I really do try to leave my weekends open from scheduled workouts. I mostly do my working out in a gym during the week so that I can kind of have the weekend days free and available to do whatever feels fun. Sometimes for me that looks like just walking around New York City neighborhoods that I haven’t explored yet, which I find really fun. A lot of times that involves eating too.

Laura:  Of course.

Kelsey: Because you discover new restaurants, or little snacks, or things as you’re walking around. But that for me is really fun, it’s something I can do with my fiancé, we’re bonding during that time, and it’s just a way to get some exercise of course, but also just enjoy what I’m doing. Not to say that I don’t enjoy working out, but it’s just a different type of experience I’d say.

Laura: Yeah, I mean I love my lifting sessions, but on a low 80s day like the weekend that I had, being outside, and having my music on, and being with my dog, and being around tress and everything, there’s just something that you don’t get when you’re in the gym lifting weights.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: And I’m not saying don’t lift weight because you’re inside, it’s just take the opportunity to get outside when you have that chance, and don’t be so concerned about how good the workout is and if it’s going to impair your training progress if you don’t do a lifting session on that day.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Now of course you can always do a lifting session and then do other things as well assuming that you’re not at risk for over training, but I think a lot of people out there wouldn’t handle a lifting session and then going on a multiple hour hike.

Kelsey: Right, might be a bit much.

Laura: Yeah. Just keep that in mind as the weather starts to warm up in the Northern hemisphere that you might want to leave some room in your schedule for spontaneous outdoor activity. Because I know if I’m scheduled so tightly with my workouts, I just won’t necessarily get outside as much as I want to.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I think it’s really important to get out when it is nice as much as you can.

Kelsey: Absolutely. It’s really nourishing I think to be in nature even if your “nature” like me is city sidewalks, it’s still different and you’re still getting fresh air, you’re getting sun. There’s a lot of things that I really do feel like are very nourishing to humans in general that you can get no matter where you are.

Laura: Yeah, definitely. Now are you sure you get fresh air in Manhattan?

Kelsey: Maybe not fresh air, but you get air.

Laura: You get some air.

Kelsey: Right. We’ll leave it at that.

Laura: Well, anyway let’s hear a word from our sponsor and then we’ll get into our question for today.

Alright, so this question actually was posed to me on my Facebook page and originally we weren’t going to talk about this today. We had another question we were going to cover, but when Kelsey and I, when I shared the question with her, we realized that we both felt pretty passionately about this topic and that we should talk about it because we’ve seen a lot of clients have this question and now apparently we’re seeing nutrition professionals getting taught misinformation about this.

We didn’t prepare anything for this so we may be a little of the cuff today, which I guess is kind of normal for us. But, we definitely wanted to talk about this issue because it’s been on my mind lately, and I know both Kelsey and me have both had clients that are struggling with this question, and it really is not something that should be struggled with. Alright the question is:

“Hey Laura, I would love to hear about what you think about fruit? In my nutrition class today ( I’m going to be an NTP) they demonized carbs all day and specifically fruit. I know going low carb caused major problems like hypothalamic amenorrhea and adrenal problems. It’s hard sitting in class all day hearing how carbs (even from whole foods) will cause insulin resistance and weight gain.”

Kelsey: Oh boy.

Laura: I just have to give full disclosure. I’ve already had three pieces of fruit today and it’s not even 12:30.

Kelsey: I had a smoothie full of fruit this morning.

Laura: So just in case anyone’s curious about what are thoughts are about fruit.

Kelsey: Yeah. That will answer it for you real quick.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: You can shut the podcast off right now.

Laura: Yeah, we’re done.

Kelsey: That’s all you’ll want to hear.

Laura: Done and dusted.

This question comes up so frequently with my clients and I’ve actually been working with a lot of clients lately on getting their carb intake up to a much higher amount using mostly Paleo type foods, also gluten free grains, and things that maybe wouldn’t be considered Paleo but they are good sources of carbs. I can’t even tell you how many clients have been like there’s no way for me to get up to this much carbs without eating fruit. And I’m like I never said you couldn’t eat fruit.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Like why would you not eat fruit? There is just this pervasive belief in the Paleo community that fruit…and I think it goes beyond the Paleo community too. I think obviously with this NTP program, I don’t think that they specifically teach Peleo, but apparently there’s at least one professor in this program that thinks fruit is bad to eat. I just think it’s such a damaging belief for people to have. I don’t know if I ever was afraid of fruit, but when I was on the low carb bent and kind of avoiding carbs excessively, obviously fruit falls into that category.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I’m not sure why this particular person thinks fruit is especially bad, and we can talk about this a little bit that there is literally no evidence to support that philosophy. But just in general people thinking that fruit because it contains sugar and fructose is not good for them and that they should avoid it is just a hundred percent inaccurate.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: And it really frustrates me knowing that there’s not only clients and people in general that believe this, but knowing that there is nutrition professionals being taught that information as something that they should share with clients, that scares me. So that’s why we wanted to talk about this today. So what do you think, Kelsey?

Kelsey: Yeah, I mean I think this is a really important question because like you Laura, I have so many clients, I can’t even tell you how many who not only ask this question, but it really comes from a place of fear. They really do not want to eat fruit, and even when I tell them that fruit is okay, I do get a lot of skeptical looks and people who really are not quite sure whether they should believe me when I tell them that they don’t need to be worried about fruit.

I think today should be all about some myth busting here surrounding the topic of fruit, and carbohydrates of course because I don’t think there’s a podcast that goes by where we don’t mention carbohydrates. So why not? We’ll throw that in here too.

Laura: I’m sure people are not sick of it yet.

Kelsey: No.

Laura: Because there’s still people that need to hear this message.

Kelsey: Absolutely. My opinion on fruit is that it does not need to be restricted at all for any normal, healthy person. For someone who’s trying to lose weight, I don’t think they need to restrict it. The only time that I would really start to think about even remotely restricting fruit is for someone who has a sensitivity to a particular fruit, is dealing with some sort of digestive condition that they are, again, reacting to fruit in a negative way that we’ve replicated, we know that it’s actually happening and it’s not just being used as some sort of diet that will help to cure them of this condition, whatever it is that they have.

So if they think they have SIBO, or know they have SIBO, or Candida, or whatever and they’re hearing that they shouldn’t eat fruit, to me that is not something that should be followed. You never use diet as a treatment for a digestive condition. And that’s where personally, at least in my practice, I see most people with the fruit aversion coming from.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: They’ve heard this from somewhere else that because of their digestive condition, they need to be restricting fruit because it will heal that condition.

Laura: It’s funny because I feel like even if they have to restrict certain types of fruit because of their gut symptoms, and like you said, it should be temporary in general if you’re fixing a gut problem, eventually fruit should be something that the person can eat. That doesn’t mean that they have to avoid all fruit.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: But I think fruit in general just has this big red flag attached to it when it comes to digestive issues that really isn’t appropriate for a lot of people.

Kelsey: Yeah, and I would say it’s not even that helpful for a lot of people either. For most people with digestive concerns that I’ve been restricting fruit because of that, I find that at least in my practice I’m pretty much always getting people to introduce new foods into their diet because they come to me where they’ve been restricting for a long time and it’s not getting them anywhere. So that’s when they come to me and so often times I’m having them add things back in and a lot of times that includes fruit.

I will tell you that I have very few clients who respond poorly to fruit, and if they are responding poorly to fruit, like I said, it’s usually like a particular kind of fruit or something like that. Or let’s say they’re sensitive to FODMAPS right now, so maybe we need to be a little careful with the higher FODMAP fruits. But other than that, there are plenty that they can tolerate and do quite well with and are a great source of carbohydrates for someone that I typically am trying to, like you, increase their carbohydrate intake.

Laura: Yeah. I tend to work with a lot of people who are some type of…athlete is a weird word because obviously an athlete kind of makes me think of certain types of exercise.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: But people that are just very active, I would say.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Maybe they’re worried that fruit is going to cause them to gain weight. For those people, I feel like not only is fruit not a problem, but they actually really need it.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: This is something that I in my own life have been really finding to be very helpful is being able to eat fruit throughout the day. And I’ve even gotten to the point where I have a jug of organic orange juice in my fridge just in case there’s a day that I’m going to work out that I’m like oh I didn’t have a chance to eat enough carbs today. Let me just have a cup of orange juice before I go to get some carbs in.

Kelsey: yeah.

Laura: (Jokingly) Juice? Oh my gosh. Juice is like concentrated sugar that is just so bad for you.

Kelsey: (laughs)

Laura: But for my clients who really need those high carb diets to support their activity levels, and actually to also help them lose weight, that ability to have fruit as much as they want can actually help them reach their carb goals very easily.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I think this is a big problem for a lot of people who maybe understand that the low carb approach isn’t working for them anymore and they want to start adding carbs back in, but all they want to have is sweet potatoes or something because those are the only carbs that are like Paleo approved.

Kelsey: And you get bored of those real fast.

Laura: Oh yeah. I love sweet potatoes and I try to get different types of sweet potatoes to not get bored. I will say that I don’t think that eating tons of sweet potatoes is super healthy for people either.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I mean there’s a lot of oxalates in sweet potatoes and that hypothetically a sensitivity that could come up if someone is eating too many of them. We always talk about variety being important and variety in carbs is definitely important for not only preventing excessive intake of any certain compound that could cause a toxicity like an oxalate or something like that.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: But also because there’s a lot of different nutrients in the different plant food that contain carbs and getting a variety of them is not only going to help you get a bigger amount of micronutrients, but also can help improve your gut bacteria diversity because of the different fibers that they contain.

We talk about variety in all foods, but i think carbs are one of things that people can get really easily lazy with as far as variety is concerned. I know I have that problem too because I get stuck in these ruts where I’m like alright, rice, sweet potatoes, and bananas.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: And those are like the only carbs I eat. And honestly I’ve had to kind of make a point to get as much variety as I can because if I don’t think about it, it’s easy to just get stuck in those typical carb sources.

Kelsey: Yeah, I know. I agree. I think with carbs for whatever reason, and maybe it’s because the people that were working with including ourselves, have come from that low carb background where once you kind of take out carbs for a while, I think it’s kind of hard to add them back in and get used to the variety that maybe was there at one point.

So i think it’s hard to not get in a rut with carbohydrates and that becomes a hundred times harder when you’re restricting fruit because that’s a lot of the choices that you have when it comes to carbohydrates. At least here in America we don’t have as many of the different starchy tubers. Or for a lot of people, some of those are not found as easily like taro or yucca. I have some clients in the Midwest where they can’t find those things. For those people especially who don’t have as many options in their grocery stores or their farmers markets for different types of carbohydrates, fruit can be a really, really wonderful way to open up that variety a little bit more easily.

Laura: I think if you’ve ever traveled before, which I know you and I have and I think a lot of the people listening to our podcast have probably at least left their hometowns, if you go anywhere near the equator at all there is so much fruit that people eat.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: When I was in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, every meal had either fruit or some kind of like, I don’t know, fruit beverage or something with the meals. Breakfast half the time was mostly fruit.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I just feel like it’s something that in a lot of other cultures is totally normal to eat a lot fruit. For whatever reason in our country, fruit has gotten this…well, I guess it depends on where you’re getting your nutrition information from.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: If your kind of like normal American healthy diet type of things that most RDs would be promoting, most people think fruit is great. You always hear, oh eat your fruits and vegetables, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, all that stuff.

Kelsey: Although even in there I feel like lately fruit has gotten a little bit more of a bad rap because people just associate it with high sugar fruit, like that sort of thing. I mean it’s way worse in the Paleo communities, but even within standard American diets, I kind of feel like that is becoming a little bit more pervasive at this point.

Laura: Yeah. There’s this big pendulum swing from saturated fat and cholesterol into sugar. I honestly don’t think sugar is really that big of a deal. That might be nutritional blasphemy, but I think in the context of a whole foods diet that doesn’t contain a lot of omega 6 vegetable oils, I really don’t think a little sugar…and when I say a little, I mean I don’t even know what little means because I think if you’re eating whole foods you’re not going to get a ton of sugar anyway even if you’re eating a lot of fruit.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: But if you’re eating lots of fruit, if you’re having fruit juice, if you’re having honey, maple syrup, that kind of stuff, I honestly do not think there’s anything wrong with eating that, especially for people who are active.

Now if you already have blood sugar issues or diabetes and you can’t tolerate those foods right now, that’s one thing. And there are therapeutic ways to improve insulin sensitivity in someone with type 2 diabetes so that they can tolerate fruit and even things like honey or maple syrup.

But I think to say that all of these foods that contain sugar naturally are bad for us because sugar is bad for us, and even thinking about even like plain sugar, I just really feel like people have demonized it to the point to where people are just terrified of it.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: People always think oh sugar feeds cancer, and sugar makes you have diabetes, and it makes you gain weight.  And honestly, I don’t think any of that stuff is black and white, you know?

Kelsey: Right. I totally agree.

Laura: I’ve seen some articles about protein actually contributing to tumor growth and cancers. I’m sure there will be a subset of people that say too much protein causes cancer. Then there will be people that say too much fat causes diabetes and heart disease and all that stuff.

It’s just so frustrating because I think people just completely lose sight of the kind of food that humans were designed to eat. If you think about all the different foods available all across the earth, yeah there’s going to be different macronutrient constitutions, and some diets will be super high carb and not much fat, other diets will be high fat and not much carbs, but ultimately everyone is just eating the food that exists in their area.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Up until the last 50 -100 years, I don’t think people thought about this stuff as much. They just ate what was available, because what other choice did you have? But now we live in this society that we just have access to so many different types of foods that suddenly we have to use this “nutrition information” and nutrition science to make decisions. Honestly nutrition science is not that great of a science.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I think science is a bit of strong word when we talk about a lot of this stuff that nutrition science comes up with. A lot of it is theory. A lot of it is basic studies that haven’t been replicated. A lot of it is studies in animals that don’t have the same type of metabolic function that humans do.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I’m not saying all that stuff is useless, but I think to draw conclusions from a rat study, for example, on fructose where they gave the rat the equivalent of multiple gallons of high fructose corn syrup or something as part of its diet, and yeah it got cancer or whatever. It doesn’t apply to the way that humans eat and the kind of food that humans eat. I know we were kind of laughing a little bit about this before we got on the phone and I mean it’s kind of funny, but it’s also kind of terrible that I’m just so sick of this real food demonization of certain foods.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I don’t think any food should be demonized. I think adding morality to nutrition decisions is a really slippery slope. But even if we think about just saying any food that naturally occurs that humans have been eating for thousands of years could be terrible for us, I just don’t really think there’s any foods that we can say that about.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: That are naturally occurring, that aren’t poisonous. Honestly, other than things that would literally kill you if you ate one piece of it, there’s really nothing I can think of that you could find in nature that’s a food that would be something you should never eat.

Kelsey: Yeah. And I think with that in mind when we think about all of the different types of macronutrient ratios that humans have survived off of in our history as humans, it just goes to show that we can survive and in fact thrive. All these cultures, traditional cultures are very, very healthy. We can thrive off of many, many different macronutrient ratios. So to me at least to say that one type of macronutrient ratio is better than another inherently for the general population makes absolutely no sense.

Laura: Yeah. I’m very tired of it. I think that’s why we’ve been talking about carbs so often because as much as we’ve had this conversation over and over and people might be getting sick of it, it’s mind blowing how many I work with that just are still stuck on this idea that sugar and carbs are bad for them. And again, when I say sugar I don’t mean you’re going to eat a 16 ounce bag of Skittles and that’s fine, you know?

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I think when we talk about the foods in nature that contain sugar, things like fruit and honey, and maple syrup and stuff, and molasses, and any of those sweeteners that you could potentially think of that come from natural sources, it’s just those are all wrapped up in, there’s fiber, there’s micronutrients, there’s antioxidants and polyphenols, there’s lots of water in the fruit. So even if the fruit is kind of large you’re not really getting that many calories in general.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: And it’s just like all of those factors play into the impact that the sugar has. If you’re having a handful of different fruit throughout the day, the amount of sugar that you get from a couple of pieces of fruit is not anywhere near the amount you would get from something like a soda.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Just to get people an example, a 20 ounce bottle of Coke contains about 36 grams of fructose. And that’s just fructose. That doesn’t cover all the sugar that’s in a 20 ounce bottle of Coke. But if you think about the fruit comparison, so for example a banana contains 7 grams of fructose. A cup of strawberries contains 4 grams of fructose, and a medium size apple contains 13 grams of fructose. And apples are definitely some of those higher fructose fruits.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Which can maybe be a problem for people with digestive issues, but that’s a short term issue that should be dealt with. But what I always want to know is when is the last time somebody ate 4 to 5 bananas in one sitting?

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I mean I know there’s people that do it. I know there’s a lot of raw fruitarians out there and stuff that could potentially eat 5 bananas in one sitting. But honestly for me, I’ve had like 2 bananas in one sitting and that’s usually about as much as I want.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: After that I’m like okay, too many bananas.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: If you’re thinking about how much sugar and fructose that you get from fruit compared to a 20 ounce bottle of Coke, which I’m confident that most people if they drink Coke could easily finish a 20 ounce bottle of Coke within 30 minutes or something if they were thirsty.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: So just thinking about whether people actually could even physically consume that much fruit to even be close to the amount of fructose that they’d be getting from soda, let alone the kind of fructose loads that you’re seeing in rat studies and trials that show an impact of fructose, it’s just not even, I almost feel like it’s not even relevant.

Kelsey: Yeah, it isn’t.

Laura: Because it’s like you just would not be able to eat much fruit.

Kelsey: It does make me really sad that people are kind of hearing these studies be distorted a little bit. I don’t know if, Laura, have you seen the recent “Last Week Tonight” where he talks about the scientific studies?

Laura: Yes.

Kelsey: Okay, so if you have not seen this, we’ll link to it in the show notes. What is his name, I’m blanking on his name right now.

Laura: John Oliver.

Kelsey: John Oliver does this amazing piece on how scientific studies are just totally warped in the media to make people think that all these crazy headlines that you see everywhere are true when in fact the actual study showed pretty much nothing of the sort.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: I think we get a little bit confused about nutrition facts because we’re seeing all this stuff in the media. Then even people that we trust online or in a program that someone is taking, everybody has their own opinion and you can cherry pick studies to kind of make this seem really on point for any of these different dietary philosophies. And that’s a bit of a problem and it goes back to what Laura was saying about how nutrition science is…we kind of want to say science in quotes almost because it’s just really an infant science at this point and that’s because it’s just really hard to kind of make these studies appropriate and make them applicable to everyday life for the majority of us.

So really take everything with a grain of salt that you see in the media, and even on blogs and things that you’re reading, or in your programs. You want to think critically about the things that you’re seeing and if you don’t have a science background, that can be really, really hard to do. You do want to work with someone that you trust and who really kind of takes all of the information out there and thinks about it critically, and I like to think that Laura and I are in that camp, or we try to be as much as possible.

Laura: That’s our goal at least.

Kelsey: Yes. We’ve been in your shoes before. We kind of both followed that low carb strict Paleo sort diet and then eventually realized that that didn’t work for a lot of people.

Laura: Ourselves included.

Kelsey: Ourselves included, right. And that’s something that you learn from doing it on yourself, but also walking clients though that sort of process and realizing why isn’t this working for everybody? Or why isn’t this even working for the majority of people?

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: And so that leads you to think  a little more critically about this whole philosophy of being low carb, and what we’ve come to realize is that it honestly just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Laura: Yeah. I’ve been doing so many higher carb diets with my clients over the last couple months and seen some really awesome results not only in physical performance and weight loss, but also in health issues. I had a client that they thought he has MS because of all these neurological symptoms he’s having. And we put him on a high carb diet around 250-300 grams of carbs a day and now he’s like back to normal.

Kelsey: That’s amazing!

Laura: Yeah, and I have another client that couldn’t lose weight for…she’d been trying to lose weight for really long time being very conscientious about her diet and we switched to a higher carb Paleo approach that was calorie controlled and she’s losing weight now and it’s pretty effortless, like she’s not hungry.

Kelsey: Awesome.

Laura: I’m not patting myself on the back here, I’m just sharing that because I really feel like people need to know that this approach is helping people.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: And it’s not just that you and I are fed up with the whole low carb, sugar free everything.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Sometimes I’ll see recommendations from certain unnamed Paleo gurus that they say like don’t eat normal ketchup because it has sugar in it.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I’m like are you kidding me? How much ketchup are you going to be eating that you’ll be getting that much sugar from that?

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: You know? And it’s just so dumb and I feel like people are so afraid of everything that they don’t eat anything that has sugar in it, and it’s like anytime they do eat sugar, they’re self-flagellating because they feel so guilty about it.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I even had a client recently who asked me to talk her off the ledge when we were adding carbs back in because she had some friends at cross fit that were like, what! How are you going to be eating 250 grams of carbs? That’s crazy! She felt really torn about whether that was appropriate for her.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I was like just trust me! I promise, I’ve seen this work really well for people.

The depth of how much the anti carb, anti-sugar, anti-fruit concept has been ingrained into people’s heads, it’s just like, I don’t know. It’s really, really bad.

Kelsey: Yeah, and you use it everywhere now too, you know?

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: Like we said, people with digestive concerns, absolutely I would say more than 90% of the time they’re thinking that fruit is not okay for them. You were talking about athletes who are thinking that fruit, or sugar, carbohydrates in general are not going to necessarily help them especially within the Paleo community.

I’m trying to think, oh weight gain. We’ve talked about that too. I mean that’s probably one of the biggest things I’d say for people. Anybody who has been anywhere near the Paleo dogma just associates adding carbohydrates with weight gain, and if you’re trying to lose weight it’s the last thing you want to do. But I would totally disagree with that. And obviously, Laura, it sounds like you would too given the result you just had with that client you mentioned.

Laura: Yeah. I mean even my own weight, I’ve lost probably between 10 -15 pounds in the last year after my car accident. I’d gained weight after my car accident and I’ve lost all of that at this point. I eat mostly carbs I would say as a good portion of my calories. I’m not saying I should be an example for everyone else. I really hate the idea of other people saying well I’m going to eat what Laura eats because she has the results I want.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: That’s something that really frustrates me. That’s a podcast for another day.

Kelsey: Topic for another day.

Laura: Yeah, seriously. But I do think knowing that there are people out there that do well with a high carb diet, and benefit from it, and actually see the results that they want, and also feel better, I mean I don’t care that much about weight loss. If you feel like garbage, then we’re going to fix that first.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: If someone’s on a low carb diet, and they have zero energy, and their workouts are crap, and they have brain fog, and sugar cravings, and that kind of stuff, and of course the typical Paleo recommendation is, oh well, just go lower carb and that’ll be fixed.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Which is so dumb.

Just the number of things that happen when someone is on a low carb, anti-sugar, anti-fruit diet that is so unnecessary, it just really frustrates me.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: This is turning into more of a rant than answer, but Kelsey and I are just so tired of it because we work with so many people who have really gotten a lot of health problems come up from this fear of fruit, of sugar, of carbs.

If nothing else, just having that neuroticism about your diet for not reason, like literally no reason, there’s absolutely no scientific reason to be afraid of fruit. It’s just really unfortunate and I would hate for people that listen to our podcast to not understand that completely. So we’re going to keep sharing this message and staying on this soapbox as long as it takes to not have clients come to us anymore that are scared to eat fruit.

Kelsey: Yeah, and I really appreciate this person writing in to you asking about this because obviously they’re starting to think critically about what they’re being taught in school. And I think that’s amazing.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: Because the last thing I want for people to do that are going through programs like this is to learn things that aren’t true, that carbs inherently bad, but then pass that on to their future clients.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: So thank you for thinking about this critically and asking this question because I think it’s really important for not only future practitioners to hear, but also anybody out there who has been taught or told that fruit or carbs are inherently bad for them.

Laura: Yeah. I think RDs get a lot of flak because of the way that our programs tend to demonize cholesterol, and saturated fat, and meat, and that kind of thing.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: And I’m not suggesting that an RD program is the perfect program. We were saying before we got on the call that there really is no perfect nutrition program in our opinion.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: But I do think it’s interesting to see that another nutrition program that’s very popular that people assume is giving really good information, if this is the case then, I don’t think that they’re giving good information about this.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: There’s no perfect nutrition program, and if you’re thinking of becoming a nutritionist or going to school for nutrition, just keep that in mind. I honestly would think finding what the laws are in your state about how you can practice what you want to do would be more important to picking the right program than what the information is that they’re teaching. Because honestly, in a nutrition program, yeah, you learn good stuff and in our RD program we learned about biochemistry, and clinical nutrition, and that kind of stuff. And there’s a lot of information that’s not accurate because it hasn’t been updated from new evidence.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: But the most important thing is that you learn how to question what you’re being taught and test it against the anthropology where you can see what humans have been living on for thousands of years. You test it against biochemistry, or you test against your own personal experience, or experience that you’ve seen other people have. Once you start taking clients, then you can test it against your clients’ experience.

And just keep open minded and not think that just because you’re in a program that you thought was the best decision to join at that time, that doesn’t mean it’s infallible and that all the information that they’re going give you is 100 percent correct.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I mean I think this girl that wrote the question definitely understood that the information was not right. She even said it was hard to sit in class all day hearing about carbs causing all these problems. But not everyone is going to have that awareness of the accuracy of what they’re getting taught.

So no matter what kind of program you go into, you really need to stay skeptical. Not like obnoxiously so, like don’t argue with your professors about everything. But just remember that there’s a lot of stuff that we don’t know about nutrition.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: There’s probably for every black and white and statement anyone could ever say about nutrition, like oh sugar is bad for you, there’s probably someone out there that actually is like, no, sugar is really good for you, you should eat lots of sugar.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: The only thing I can think of is omega 6 fats not being good, but even there our government is promoting the use of omega 6 fats as a healthier fat to use.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Honestly, anything is going to have someone that says black and the other person that says white. So just keep that in mind. You really just need to be thinking critically about this stuff and if something sounds wrong to you, then pay attention to that feeling and do the research for yourself and don’t just accept what your teachers are saying because they’re the authority position.

Kelsey: Yeah, and you should be doing research ongoing once you’re in school, once you’re out of school. All that information that’s available, even though it’s an infant science and it’s not perfect by any means, there’s still a lot that you can think critically about. You can go back to okay, what did I learn in biochemistry? How does this pathway work? Does this make sense given the findings that they have in the study? You really do start to kind of pull everything together, your knowledge, your experience, new studies and how those fit into to everything. You look at that whole picture and then you can really start to make correlations and statements that make more sense to you and what you’ve seen and what you know.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: If you just kind of blindly follow anyone, or if you just took one study for example, and said this is true 100%, maybe you’d be right, but maybe you’d be totally wrong. You really do have to take everything in context.

Laura: Mm hmm. And remember that you may change your mind. I think Kelsey and I have definitely evolved a lot in our thinking about nutrition over the last couple years of being in practice. Just don’t hold on to anything too tightly because you may find that it’s not as accurate as you thought it was. And if you’re unwilling to adjust once you learn new information, then you’re not going to be serving your clients well and you’re not going to be the most effective nutritionist that you can be.

Anyway, I think the fruit thing, ultimately Kelsey and I think most people need to be afraid of eating fruit for any reason.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: If you have major gut symptoms, there may be a period of time where restricting high FODMAP fruits could be helpful. If you have severe blood sugar either dysregulation, or hypoglycemia, or anything like that, there may be some ways that you should eat fruit to prevent the blood sugar problems, or maybe you need to not have it for a while. Which honestly, I don’t even think that’s true for most people with diabetes that they need to avoid fruit.

Kelsey: I think…and don’t quote me on this because we’re off the cuff today…but I think there’s actually at least one, if not a couple, studies showing that diabetics who eat fruit actually have better blood glucose control.

Laura: Yeah, which I mean makes sense.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I just think people assume that diabetics need to be on a low carb diet.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I’ve actually seen evidence that either a very low carb, or a very low fat diet can help recover insulin sensitivity.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: If somebody’s on a very low fat diet, then fruit is totally fair game.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: There’s really very, very few people that shouldn’t eat fruit at all. I mean maybe if someone has a hereditary fructose intolerance, then yeah, that’s a rare condition and you might have to avoid it. But I’m going assume that 99% of the people that are listening to the podcast don’t have some kind of rare condition that precludes them from eating fruit.

Kelsey: Absolutely. Yeah, go and eat fruit guys. You don’t need to worry about it. For some of you out there who have had this sort of pounded into your brain for a long time, as with a lot of this stuff,  it can take some time to get over that especially if you’ve kind of developed some sort of fear surrounding fruit, which I have seen a lot in my practice. I don’t know if you’ve seen that, Laura, too.

Laura: Oh yeah.

Kelsey: Yeah. So if that’s the case, working with someone can be helpful to sort push you to confront that fear and get over that fear can be very helpful. But also if you’re doing it on your own, just kind of push yourself a little bit to try these things, even if it’s in small amounts and you’re scared, that’s okay. As you get used to it that fear will go away, and it’s not something that you should be afraid of.

Laura: Definitely. Well I think that’s a perfect way to end this podcast. Hopefully people feel a little better about including more fruit in their diet. And if you guys do have any follow up questions, feel free to leave a comment under the post for this episode at TheAncestralRDs.com, or you can submit a question through the contact tab at the top of the website.

Thanks for joining us and we will see you here next week.

Kelsey: Alright. Take care, Laura.

Laura: You too, Kelsey.



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