Hi, which fruits are perfect on an empty stomach and which are not? Thanks.
Before we talk about the ideal time to eat any fruits, the very first thing that should be emphasized is that fruits are the most perfect foods for the human body. We don’t need a scientific study to tell us this; we only have to examine the characteristics of fruits and our body’s anatomy and physiology to understand this important fact. Here is a quick example to illustrate the point…
Imagine that you find yourself in a part of our Earth that is most suitable for the human species. This means a place that has adequate warmth, water, and vegetation without you needing to rely on clothing, shelter, or heating. Such places can be found in the regions of the equator, tropics, and subtropics. Now imagine that you are here without anything — just you, yourself. This means no other people, no tools, and no technology. You are alone in an environment that provides lots of leafy foliage and vegetable matter, fruits on shrubs and trees of all kinds, and various land, water, and air animals. From an efficiency and sustainability perspective, which of these three main groups of food will be both the easiest for you to acquire and offer the most value and satisfaction?
The answer is fruits. While leaves and vegetable matter will be easy to acquire, most will not offer much in terms of calories and satisfaction. When it comes to meat from any animals, while this source may offer a high amount of calories, it will not offer much satisfaction when raw and unflavored, and it is the hardest and most costly food source to acquire. The human body is completely ill-equipped to capture any animal without the use of some sophisticated tools. We cannot outrun most animals, we do not have any claws to capture them, and we do not have the right teeth or jaws to pierce through their thick flesh. The best we can do is supplement our diet with insects or any carrion (decaying flesh of dead animals) leftover by carnivorous animals.
From this natural perspective, fruits have been the perfect human food for millennia, similar to that of many of our closest primate ancestors. We are naturally drawn to the beautiful colors, fragrant scents, juicy and pleasant textures, and delicious flavors of fruits. Nature gives us many clues with regards to what should and should not be eaten and in what amounts, and when it comes to fruits, the message could not be clearer. In a natural setting, fruits would be eaten at any time of the day when they were available or when it was time to feed, and they would be eaten in large amounts and seasonally when each one was available. One of the most outspoken experts about this is Dr. Robert Morse, and although his work focuses specifically on healing people with the strong detox and cleanse potential of fruits, he makes a lot of good points about why we as humans are perfectly suited for fruits. In fact, fruit fasting has been used for centuries as one of the most effective methods for healing and prevention of acute and chronic diseases. Some of the best-documented cases come from the work of German health educator Arnold Ehret and his mucusless diet, which is based on fruits, especially grapes. We also have research today that shows that there is no such thing as eating too many fruits, and we can feel free to indulge in eating as many fruits as we like, assuming that we are not eating more calories of total food per day than is required by our body.
From a biochemical perspective, fruits provide us with an excellent amount of nutrient-dense calories, which are comprised of healthy sugars and carbohydrates. Sadly, many people today do not understand the difference between whole food sugars and isolated sugars and often incorrectly perceive the natural sweetness of fruits as a negative thing. The good news is that even diabetic research has finally caught up to understand that fruits are not only NOT a problem for blood glucose or diabetes, but part of the best healing and preventative diabetic diet. Fruits are full of fiber, which slows gastric emptying and regulates sugar release, as well as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, and have been proven time and time again to be the most healthful foods, next to vegetables, for the prevention and healing of every disease condition.
When it comes to digestion, fruits are the fastest and easiest to digest. Most fruits digest in about half an hour (30 minutes). This makes them ideal to be eaten on their own and on an empty stomach. Otherwise, if or when the fruit is eaten with other foods, especially complex foods, like animal foods or foods high in fat, their proper digestion may be hindered and result in unpleasant acute and chronic symptoms. This can include a feeling of sluggishness after meals, regular fatigue, indigestion, bloating, cramping, unhealthy bowel movements, foul-smelling or excessive gas, nutritional deficiencies, and inflammation. The younger we are, and the stronger our digestive system is, the less obvious and troublesome these symptoms normally are. However, as we age and as our digestive system weakens from years of poor food choices and bad food combining, the more these symptoms become prevalent and debilitating. There are also other experts who have put forth theories about ideal food combining and enzyme function, and their role in healing and prevention of disease. To learn more about the basics of optimal food combining, see my two quick videos on the subject:
Therefore, when it comes to eating fruits, if we follow the basic guidelines of nature, ALL fruits can be eaten on an empty stomach for the greatest ease and efficiency of complete digestion and nutrient assimilation. This means eating them as the first meal of the day, or in between meals, or as the last meal of the day, depending on what works best for you — your body, preferences, and lifestyle. Even though fruits can be grouped into categories like acid, sub-acid, and sweet fruits, their common nutritional make-up and digestive characteristics make them all possible to be eaten on an empty stomach. Nature did not create rules to complicate our lives or suggest otherwise. However, if we get influenced by our modern reductionist-minded and detail-obsessed world, we will find many sources that will claim otherwise and cite all kinds of reasons why this or that fruit, or even all fruit should not be eaten on an empty stomach. If you pay close attention to these sources, even though they may sound convincing, citing this or that reason, they rarely include any evidence or credible research to back up their claims. What we get instead is an over-complication of simple things, which allows experts and media sources to stand out and seem like they have some revolutionary answers for you. In the end, we are left with a lot of conflicting theories and hearsay that leave people more confused and overwhelmed. Besides, studies like this typically do not exist because this is not what makes financial sense to be studied in our corporate-driven society. This is why after nearly two decades of research in the fields of nutrition, health, and science, my inclination is to look for the simplest solutions and ones that are most aligned with nature and bound to be timeless. We need to use more of our reasoning mind and critical thinking skills to discern the most obvious answers for ourselves.
However, if you feel conflicted at any time by the amount of information out there and differing opinions, my final recommendation is to let your body be your guide. Start by cleaning up your diet first; otherwise, you are not going to get accurate results, where you focus on eating a mostly or fully whole food, plant-based diet. Then, experiment with different fruits consumed at different times of the day with or without any other foods, and keep a record of how you feel. After a few weeks, you will get the best answer of what may be best for your body at the time. This will train you to listen less to what any expert on the outside says and more to what your internal system says, which should always be your primary source of guidance.