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Crunchy, juicy, tasty and filled with goodness, fruits are nutrition powerhouses. There are a few statements doing the rounds on the internet that have scared people into believing that fruits can be eaten at certain times only. Let us separate the facts from the myths to put you at ease
Should fruits be eaten on an empty stomach? The argument that myth mongering articles seem to put out there is that fruits are most beneficial if eaten on an empty stomach. This is partially true. There are no added benefits of eating fruits on an empty stomach per say. Contrary to claims that it can help aid weight loss, this can work if you fill yourself with fruits and hence consume lesser calories via your meal.
Should fruits not be eaten with other foods? The big myth perpetrated out there is that if you mix fruits with your meals, it will make you bloat. The argument provided is that fruits digest faster than other food and mixing of the two can lead to unwanted side effects as the body has trouble digesting the carbohydrates in fruit when mixed with other foods. This is reality is not true. Think about it. If our stomach is incapable of digesting mixed meals, we would not be able to digest most foods as our meals are generally a combination of nutrients like vegetables, fibre, carbs and protein.
Should fruits not be eaten after meals? This is a big one floating out there. Fruits are high in sugar content. When eaten after a meal, the sugar feeds the bacteria aiding the fermentation process in the stomach. The stomach produces high concentrations of hydrochloric acid to break down the food. This is a hostile environment that does not let the food stay long enough for bacteria to colonize or reproduce.
Does eating fruits at the wrong time produce gas in the stomach? In reality, gas is produced by the colon and not the stomach. While certain fruits may cause a reaction resulting in feeling gassy, it has nothing to do with your food content.
What is the science behind the false alarms: A lot of diets focus not only on what you eat but how you eat it in combination with other food. An Ayurvedic diet, for example, recommends that you eat fruits separately from other foods, especially proteins. Most myths have stemmed out from specific advice given in specific cases which have been generalized to increase the scare factor. According to the British Journal of Nutrition, combing citrus fruits with rice increases the body's absorption of iron. Other studies have shown that combining certain berries with legumes increases the antioxidant property in each food. Compared to traditional desserts like cakes and cookies, fruits instead add nutrition and fiber and fill your sweet tooth craving. So it all depends on what your dietitian advises you.
Fruits can be a great source of nutrition in our daily diet.