The Truth About Fruit and Vegetables
Conventional Wisdom says that we need to eat lots of fruit and vegetables to be healthy. But as with so much of CW, this is a myth. The truth is that fruit and vegetables are just not very nutrient-dense, especially when compared to animal products like meat and eggs. Nutritionist and obesity researcher Zoe Harcombe explains:
The facts are these. There are 13 vitamins and fruit is good for one of them, vitamin C.
Vegetables offer some vitamins - vitamin C and the vegetable form of the fat-soluble vitamins A and vitamin K1 - but your body will be able to absorb these only if you add some fat, such as butter or olive oil.
The useful forms of A and K - retinol and K2 respectively - are found only in animal foods. As for minerals, there are 16 and fruit is good for one of them, potassium, which is not a substance we are often short of, as it is found in water.
Vegetables can be OK for iron and calcium but the vitamins and minerals in animal foods (meat, fish, eggs and dairy products) beat those in fruit and vegetables hands down. There is far more vitamin A in liver than in an apple, for instance.
Are fruit and vegetables good for you? Sure. But let’s be honest about the nutrients they’re actually providing.
Vegetables can be pretty tasty, so if you like them, by all means, eat them. But if you think they’re doing wonders for your health, you’re kidding yourself. That’s only true if the alternative is something almost totally devoid of nutrients like wheat products (bread, cereal, pasta, etc) or the boxed processed crap that lines so many supermarket aisles (which is also mostly wheat products).
Fruit is definitely tasty, because it’s full of sugar. Eat it in moderation, but realize that it’s essentially candy. What’s worse is that the sugar in fruit is fructose -- the same stuff in the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup -- which, unlike glucose, is sent directly to your liver and converted to fat. There is a reason that fruit is seasonal: before our modern times of food abundance, refrigeration, and long-distance shipping, people would load up on fruit when it ripened in the late summer/early fall, in order to pack on some body fat to survive the winter. Eating lots of fruit year-round is not a great idea unless you too want to pack on the body fat.
No, fruit and vegetables are far from the most nutritious foods available. The most nutrient-dense foods are animal products, especially egg yolks and liver. Liver is nature’s multivitamin; it is literally the most nutritious thing you can eat. And egg yolk is so full of vitamins and minerals that simply eating more egg yolk would resolve Americans’ most common nutrient deficiencies.
It’s easy to verify which foods are the most nutritious: just look at the numbers. Compare fruit to liver, or bread and salmon. Or look at oysters. The animal products are more nutrient-dense in most cases, and in many cases (e.g. liver) they blow the plant foods out of the water completely.