Some people prefer to enjoy fruit for breakfast or afternoon tea while others eat them at the beginning or end of lunch or dinner. Is it better to consume this food before or after meals? We take stock with the dietician and nutritionist Laura Tajan.
Sweet, refreshing, juicy, colorful and fragrant … The fruits revive the taste buds of young and old. In addition to their taste benefits, these foods are full of multiple virtues and are essential for a balanced diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers. Fruits are therefore valuable allies in preventing cancers, cardiovascular illnesses, obesity or diabetes. That is why it is recommended to eat several servings of fruit per day. These foods can be served as a starter, aperitif or dessert. But when is the ideal time to consume them? Before or after the meal?
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Is eating fruit before a meal recommended?
According to dietician and nutritionist Laura Tajan, it is recommended to consume one fruit a few minutes before eating a meal rather than an hour or two before. When the fruit is eaten near meals, it is thus mixed with the other ingested foods, the food bolus will therefore contain enough fibers and assimilation sugars will thus be slowed down.
“If you eat a fruit a few hours before lunch or dinner, it will be the only food to arrive in the stomach, which will be empty or almost. The result: the body will digest the fruit more easily, which will cause a faster assimilation of sugars. This will create a peak of energy and if one does not spend physically after consumption, the sugars will be stored as fat, which will lead to weight gain “, explains the dietician.
Consume a fruit on its own one or two hours before a meal can also cause hypoglycemia reaction in some people. In this situation, the pancreas secretes too much a hormone called “insulin“. This suddenly lowers the level of sugar in the bloodstream, resulting in reactive hypoglycemia.
Is it a good idea to consume fruit after a meal?
“It is also possible to consume a fruit up to 20 minutes after the meal”, says Laura Tajan. In this case, the fruit taken as a dessert will be mixed with the nutrients tasted. The food bolus, which will include a good amount of fiber, will be reduced into a paste, called chyme. This then goes into intestine to be assimilated to it. Conclusion: the sugars present in the fruit will take time to be digested.
Between 20 to 40 minutes after the meal, it is better to avoid tasting a fruit because stomach will have already started its work, which will cause a slowing down and a degradation of the quality of digestion. Beyond these 40 minutes, if a fruit is ingested, the sugars will be assimilated quickly because it will be the only one to be digested by the stomach. “It can also lead to weight gain”, warns the nutritionist.
Laura Tajan therefore recommends eating a piece of fruit a few minutes before or after a meal. “It is better not to consume this food outside of mealtimes (in isolation) because it promotes weight gain”, she says.
Thanks to Laura Tajan, dietician and nutritionist.
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