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Berry Club

So it turns out a tomato is not only a fruit but — botanically speaking — is also classified as a berry. This is rough news for aggregate fruits like strawberries and blackberries, which, it turns out are not, technically, berries at all.

Fun! But all it really means is that scientific classification of plants is not necessarily in line with common names for them. Whether berry, drupe, pom, or aggregate of drupelets, fresh fruits are delicious fiber-rich foods that are good for health.

What about all that sugar?

Even Dr Robert Lustig, who is probably among the most hostile of modern voices critical of sugar (followed closely by Gary Taubes, who discussed Lustig’s views in the New York Times), has made an exception for fruit: “When God made the poison, he packaged it with the antidote: fiber.” In nutritional terms, a food may have a high glycemic index — that is, contain a lot of sugars — but still have a low glycemic load, if its total composition offsets the sugar, as fiber does in fruit and vegetables. (Some vegetables, like peas, are as sugary as fruits.) This is the reason that whole fruits are so healthful while fruit juices are basically just sugar water — fruit juices strain away the fiber.

Wait, Orange Juice Is Not “Part of a Complete Breakfast”?

No more than a couple of tablespoons of jelly or an iced donut. You’re better off just eating an orange (or an apple or a banana). And whole fruits pack easier for bringing to work or school to keep healthful snacks on hand. OK, bananas can be fragile, but there’s a solution!

Image by the delightful Mr Lovenstein.

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