What Fruits Can I Eat Without Feeling Guilty?

It’s a question I am asked frequently. Most of my clients understand that they need to remove sugar and wheat from their diet. My clients also understand that while fruits are natural and healthier than any processed “sugar”, they are still high in sugar.

My clients who are ready to give up most sweet foods in their diet still just want to have something sweet. They understand that table sugar (sucrose) is not good for you. They also understand that consuming wheat (which is high on the glycemic scale) is not good for you either. But what about fruit? Can they eat it regularly and not feel guilty?

Yes, but we do have some guidelines.

Charles Poliquin, a world renowned Personal Trainer who trains Olympic and professional athletes, explains:

Dark fruits tend to have very thin skin, meaning they need to produce more antioxidants to protect themselves from the sun. In contrast, light-colored fruits with thick skins such as bananas and melons have lower antioxidant content. Dark red, blue and purple fruits are great anti-inflammatory foods because the extra antioxidants help get rid of free radicals that cause inflammation.

What are free radicals and antioxidants?

Mayo Clinic explains:

Normally, free radicals perform a number of useful tasks. But too many free radicals cause what’s known as oxidative stress. They overwhelm and damage cells, resulting in tissue breakdown and damage to DNA. Free radicals also are found in the environment, in exposure to sunlight, air pollution and cigarette smoke. Antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, and carotenoids, are found in foods, especially plant-based foods. In laboratory experiments, antioxidant molecules have been found to stabilize free radicals and counteract oxidative stress. Many observational studies indicate that a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help reduce risk of disease. Oxidative stress has been tied to a number of conditions, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cataracts and macular degeneration.

Charles Poliquin explains further:

Research shows that berries with high antioxidant content such as biliberries, blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries decrease glucose response in healthy subject, slowing digestion. When you compare berries and cherries with bananas and pineapple, the latter two fruits have a significantly higher glycemic index. Of course this applies to fruits in their natural state; when grapes becomes raisins, their glycemic index goes up because of dehydration of the fruit.

Researchers suggest that the bioactive polyphenols that dark-colored fruits contain promote greater insulin sensitivity. In addition, there is evidence that adding berries rich in polyphenols to high glycemic foods that normally trigger a negatively high spike in glucose can moderate the body’s response, producing a remarkably low insulin response. Take note that it is necessary to fully chew berries or fruit to release the polyphenols to work their magic on the glycemic index of carbs.

What are you to do?

Understand that dark colored thin-skinned fruits are lower on the glycemic scale AND have a ton of antioxidants in them. On the other hand, fruits with a thick skin or peel, will be high and the glycemic scale and will have less antioxidants in them. Not only are these thin skinned, dark colored fruits delicious, but the antioxidants will help you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cataracts and macular degeneration, according to Mayo Clinic. Upon hearing this information, my clients found a new love for those fruits that they loved as children…and don’t feel guilty about eating them!


For information on 1-on-1 Personal Training or Nutrition Coaching, feel free to contact me at szahn@lifetimefitness.com.


Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified