When to eat fruit during the day?
What time of day to eat fruit?
Many people wonder about the best time to eat fruit because of the blood sugar spike it could cause. According to Angélique Houlbert author of I lose weight with the low GI diet, “The majority of fruits have a low to moderate GI, so they have their place in this diet, as long as they are whole and not in the form of fruit juice.” In other words, fruits have little or modest influence on blood sugar. They are rich in vitamins, fibers and minerals, it would be a shame to deprive yourself of them!
The glycemic index or GI
The glycemic index makes it possible to compare the hyperglycemic power of portions of foods that contain the same weight of carbohydrates. It provides information on the speed at which the glucose in the food is found in the blood. For example, mashed potato and white bread both have a high GI.
Fruits contain a simple sugar, fructose, often accused of promoting weight gain and insulin resistance. But the fructose naturally present in fruits and the fructose added by manufacturers in ultra-processed foods (sodas, etc.) does not have the same effect on health.
When to eat fruit to avoid gaining weight?
As part of a diet to lose weight and abdominal fat, it may be best to avoid fruit for the evening meal, as Dr. Martine Cotinat suggests in her book I want to lose belly. “Increase the amount of vegetables (raw and cooked) sufficiently during the evening meal, but also promote vegetables the rest of the day: eat 2 to 3 fruits at other times of the day,” she explains to those who want to lose belly thanks to the “evening diet”, which she offers in her book.
In her book, Martine Cotinat advises against eating fresh or stewed fruit with the evening meal. However, they are welcome at lunch and breakfast. The fruits also have their place in the taste according to her. Here is a snack she recommends: fruit (orange, apple, pear, kiwi) or a small homemade fruit salad with no added sugar.
Fruits and thinness are not incompatible
However, there is no consensus on this issue.“As a whole, fruits do not cause problems, since their GIs are usually low. As a general rule, the more acidic a fruit, the lower its GI.” says Angélique Houlbert, dietitian-nutritionist. In his book I lose weight with the low GI dietshe advises eating a piece of fruit with every meal.
To choose a low GI fruit, consult our table of glycemic indexes
Eating a fruit at the end of the meal does not pose a problem according to her because “Fruits and slimming are not incompatible as some professionals claim. Don’t be afraid to eat 2 to 3 fruits a day. In addition, if you are used to finishing your meal with a sweet touch, whole fruits are an excellent dessert that won’t mess with your blood sugar.”
What fruits to eat in the morning and in the evening?
If you want to choose fruits with a low gycemic index (GI), here are some examples:
- low GI fruits (less than 55) to be preferred: apple, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, pear, orange…
- fruits with a moderate GI (over 56) to be limited: apricots, melon, cherries, papaya, very ripe bananas, dried figs, raisins, pineapple;
- high GI fruits to avoid: dates, watermelon.
Read: The 10 lowest sugar fruits
Should we avoid eating fruit after meals?
We can read here and there that fruit should not be eaten after the meal. Various received ideas circulate. What should we think ?
Misconception n°1: fruits eaten at the end of a meal, after all other foods, remain in the stomach where they ferment
This is false because the stomach is rich in hydrochloric acid, it is an acid environment with very few bacteria to carry out fermentation.
Myth #2: Fruit increases stomach acid, stomach aches and digestion problems
It is also false. The consumption of a fruit at the end of a meal does not increase the acidity of the stomach. As Angélique Houlbert and Thierry Souccar explain in The best way to eat, “The pH of the stomach is very low (acidic) between meals: around 1.5-2. During a meal, it rises to values between 3 and 4. In fact any ingestion of food, including fruit, transiently decreases stomach acidity Studies conducted in the 1960s concluded that a meal with protein increases stomach acidity more (during, and especially after the meal) than a meal rich in carbohydrates. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, all these meals generally provide protein: so it would be better, to limit the acid rise, to eat its fruits (by definition rich in carbohydrates) during the meal than doing it from a distance!”
An opinion shared by gastroenterologist Martine Cotinat: “Studies show that the risk of reflux decreases when you have a high consumption of fiber, which is abundant in fruits and vegetables.”. She adds “Fruits and vegetables are rich in alkaline ions (magnesium, potassium, calcium); they reduce the overall acidity of the body by strengthening the alkaline reserve so useful for the defense of the mucous membrane.”
So do not be afraid of fruits on the pretext that they would bring acidity. If you feel better eating fruit outside of meals, continue. But if you deprive yourself of fruits at meals because you fear for stomach acidity, know that there is no reason to avoid them. “Acid-tasting foods, such as citrus fruits, for example, can mimic reflux. On a sensitive mucous membrane, this type of product can cause pain. Acidic drinks or juices are often more at fault than the fruits themselves. same,” says Martine Cotinat.
Should you eat fruit with meals?
Fruit is an interesting alternative to snacking, if you feel hungry between meals. They will advantageously replace sweets, pastries and other biscuits. Low in energy density, fruits have a high water and fiber content, which could explain their satiating properties.
In 1995, nutrition researchers developed a “satiety index”, making it possible to classify foods according to their satiating properties. The researchers considered white bread to have a satiety index of 100. If a food has an index greater than 100, it is more filling than white bread. This research found that the least satiating foods in this study were baked goods (croissant, cake, donut), while fruit had high satiety scores: 202 for oranges and 197 for apples (vs. only 118 for bananas)! To benefit from this satiating effect, it is advisable to consume these fruits whole rather than in the form of fruit juice.
Eat fruit before meals to eat less
Starting your meal with a satiating food like fruit can help limit your intake.