Fruits have a great nutritional value that provides numerous health benefits. However, there are some fruits that can cause allergies or are incompatible with some diseases.
Do you take antidepressants or statins? Are you diabetic? ‘Abecedario de la Nutrición’ will tell you what fruits to avoid and what precautions to consider in these cases.
In a new issue of ‘El Bisturí’, Nestlé’s head of health and nutrition, Laura González, solves the most frequent doubts about pathologies and incompatibilities regarding fruits, and reflects on the progress and future of this food type.
If I’m diabetic, should I eat fruit?
There are people who think that people with diabetes shouldn’t eat fruit, but this isn’t true. This is what nutritionist Laura González said: “A person with diabetes can and should eat fruit, at least three times a day.”
As a suggestion, if dried fruits are consumed, only a small quantity is advised along with other low sugar foods. Fruits such as grapes, persimmons, figs, mangoes, ripe bananas or plums should also be eaten in smaller portions, between 80 and 100 grams; much better if they are eaten as dessert.
Difference between fructose intolerance and impaired fructose absorption
It isn’t the same to be fructose intolerant and to suffer from impaired fructose absorption, so it’s important to clarify the differences.
Fructose is the sugar in fruits. But it’s also present in common sugar, honey and in some sugary foods and drinks. Juices, dried fruits and fruits in syrup are very rich in fructose, while tangerines, strawberries, melon and avocado have low fructose content, González said.
Hereditary fructose intolerance is a very rare metabolic disease and is caused by the inability to metabolize fructose.
It usually occurs among children and produces rapid symptoms of poisoning such as: nausea, vomit and liver problems. In the long run, very serious effects such as kidney damage or even brain damage can occur.
The treatment against fructose intolerance involves complete lifetime suppression of fructose from diet, González added.
On the other hand, impaired fructose absorption is very frequent. It involves some degree of difficulty for the absorption of fructose and it’s diagnosed through a hydrogen glucose breath test.
The treatment, in this case, is based on a diet that limits the consumption of fructose depending on the degree of impaired absorption.
Fruit allergy is usually the most frequent cause of food allergy among children over five years of age and adults. These allergies are usually permanent and difficult to cure, especially if they start in adulthood.
Normally, González explained, usually people allergic to a certain fruit are also allergic to other fruits from the same family. For example, someone who is allergic to cherries may be allergic to other fruits belonging to the Rosaceae family, such as peaches.
Laura González explained that it’s common for people who are allergic to fruits to be allergic to latex. This curious phenomenon is known as the ‘latex-fruit syndrome.’ Symptoms include itching of the mouth, throat and ears, known as ‘oral allergy syndrome’ (OAS), with bananas, avocados and kiwi being some of the fruits involved in this syndrome.
If you take antidepressants, don’t eat grapefruit
People who take antidepressants or statins, medication for cholesterol control, should avoid consuming grapefruit during their treatment, Laura González warned.
The substances responsible for the bitter taste of grapefruit can increase the concentrations of these medications in the blood and as a consequence, their time of action. In addition, these substances can also block the activity of proteins that are responsible for the transportation of some drugs within the bloodstream.
Breakthroughs and the future of fruits
It’s increasingly common to find new varieties of tropical and exotic fruits in our markets. Fruits such as passion fruit, kumquat, tomatillo, rambutan, carambola or pitahaya. Not only are they available in our markets, but we can also buy them any time of the year.
These new fruits expand and diversify the supply of fresh fruits. In this way, global trade is encouraged and the economies of countries in full economic development are stimulated, in addition to improving the income level of the productive areas.
However, González recalled that the environmental cost is considerable compared to foods that are local and seasonal.
As regards the progress being made, it’s no longer unusual, for example, to acquire vegetables or fruits that have been produced without soil. There have also been many breakthroughs in the digitalization of production, in precision agriculture and in packaging innovation.
Another very important breakthrough is biotechnology, which creates new varieties of fruit that ultimately improve or enhance their flavor, acidity, and color, or create seedless fruits.
Innovation, according to Laura González, means identifying new ways and places of cultivation to cover the growing demand for food.
Date: June 3rd, 2019
By: Claudia Böesser | EFE
Nutrigenomics Institute is not responsible for the comments and opinions included in this article