Disclaimer: Fruits are “healthier” compared to soft drinks, sugared water, cordial, potato chips, high sugar chocolate bars etc. In absolute terms, this is meaningless. It is like saying a Lexus saves more petrol than a BMW. The difference is negligible. 

Our Biological Roots

Firstly, plants have simple mechanisms for fertilization and spreading of seeds. Through years of being used as a food source by other organisms, the plants with the most attractive pollen or fruits will tend to be more populous.

For example, plants that do not have sweet nectar would not be fed on by insects or birds hence reducing their fertilization rate which leads to lesser fruits and eventual extinction. Fruits that are bitter may not be favoured by animals and hence their seeds will not be spread as quickly.

Unlike what we learn in school, plants do not have the incentive to become as sweet as possible but this outcome is guided by the diet of other organisms. Plants that are sweeter spread faster.

Thousands of years ago, what our ancestors ate are technically fruits, but definitely not as sweet as what we have now. This means our bodies may be ill-disposed to handle modern sweet fruits.

How did our fruits get so sweet?

Humans discovering how to use cross-pollination to make fruits sweeter combined with the Green Revolution (ample supply of vegetable and fruits made possible by use of chemicals and irrigation) caused the marketplace of fruits to become much more competitive.

Consumers prefer sweet fruits and farmers have the incentive to try to make their fruits sweeter. Fast forward many years and in essence, the fruits we are now eating are canisters packed densely with sugar.

Conclusion

While I am not saying to remove fruits from your diet, it does not make sense to label fruits with a broad brush that it is healthy.

Consider also that not all fruits are equal, bananas, a good source of energy and potassium for athletes during exercise, would wreck havoc on the hormones of other people due to the rapid influx of glucose in the blood stream. Same goes for mangoes and other sweet fruits.

Take note of  your intake of fruits and replace it with vegetables. (Also, don’t take grains.)

[The Health Promotion Board should seriously relook their Healthy Food Pyramid.]