Dear Dr Lynn,
I eat 4-5 pieces of fresh organic fruit every day. I really stay away from sugar. Yet I have a friend that insists that even too much fruit can increase my risk of heart disease.How can this be true when fruit has no fat or cholesterol, and lots of fiber, etc. – John C., fifty five years old.
Well the short answer to this is unfortunately, yes. Your friend is right. The longer answer is not always, but many health conscious people like yourself do end up eating enough fresh fruit to create a significant cardiovascular risk profile when they are cutting back on common desserts You can find out if this part of your lifestyle is truly affecting your risk profile quite easily. I will explain below.
Amazing isn’t it that fruit of all things can do this? I did not believe it myself when I first came across the research about it But it is true. By the way there is now a simple blood test that can easily measure all this stuff for you. Call my office for details or ask your doctor. Here how the risk develops: eating fruit gives us a sugar called fructose. Too much of this [or any sugar for that matter] leads to increasing small dense fat particles in our blood called Apo B. These Apo B particles make tiny inflammations doctors often call ‘oxidative injury’. I call them invisible rust spots which they actually are. Our body starts to put calcium deposits itself in those rust spots. Happens quicker in the arteries than anywhere else usually. In other words, we get old too quickly when there are too many Apo B around. Something called Apo A is also around and can control Apo B usually. But eating too much fruit, sugar, and refined carbo’s is an easy way to increase quickly the dense particles, Apo B, and the Apo A gets overwhelmed.
Measuring cholesterol by the way as we have done for the past 30 years does not tell you about Apo A and Apo B directly. About 50% of the time, that test alone will miss the problem.
One more thing, the Apo B seems to gradually increase with our age. Being 55 y/o is another reason to get checked.
John, hope this helps. By the way, there are also tests to measure calcification already on the coronary arteries. Again, ask us or your doctor. Probably a good idea to do this next test if your Apo B is high. If you stick to 1-2 pieces of fruit per day by the way, you will probably be OK. But get the blood tests, it is covered by major insurances.etc.
Paul Lynn MD