Should I Limit Sugars From Fruit Too?

Question: How much sugar in my diet is too much? Should I limit sugars from fruit too?

Answer: Added sugars contribute to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, impaired cognitive function, and cancers. Added sugars may be listed on ingredient labels as sugar, honey, evaporated cane juice, brown sugar, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup, agave syrup, coconut sugar or fruit juice concentrates. Regardless of the name, these nutrient-deficient substances are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream, raising blood sugar and insulin to dangerous levels; or in the case of the higher fructose sweeteners, increasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The average American gets about 15 percent of calories from added sugars, and getting 10 percent of calories from added sugars is associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to lower sugar intake.1

It is likely that any amount of added sugar is too much. Eating foods with added sugars habituates us to their excessively sweet tastes, driving cravings and overeating. As humans we naturally gravitate toward sweet flavors, and we should allow this natural inclination to guide us toward fresh fruits. Fresh fruits provide pleasantly sweet flavors packaged with fiber, essential nutrients, antioxidants and other phytochemicals that protect us against the same diseases that added sugars promote. Unlike processed foods with added sugars, nutrient-rich fresh fruits do not perpetuate sweet cravings and overeating.

For optimal health, I recommend that you strengthen your taste buds to prefer the more subtle sweetness of fruit. Try some of the recipes in the Member Center Recipe Guide or in my books for sorbets and fruit-based desserts. If you are eating according to true hunger and are not diabetic, limiting fruit intake is most likely not necessary; however it is possible to overeat, especially on dried fruit or dates. Three to five servings of fruit per day (depending on your calorie needs), with a focus on berries and pomegranate, is a reasonable guideline.

1. Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, et al. Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA Intern Med 2014.

This question and answer is a sample of what you will find in Dr. Fuhrman’s Member Center Ask the Doctor Forum. Access to this forum requires membership. All Members can search the entire archive of questions and answers. In addition, Platinum and higher members have access to ask Dr. Fuhrman and his Medical Associates their own questions.

Join the Member Center today to have access to the entire archive of Ask the Doctor questions and to ask your own!

Amazing Results!

Why NOT try a plant-based diet?!? Especially with results like these!
“I stopped one of my diabetes medications; I stopped my cholesterol medication; I lost a lot of weight. Just in the month, I lost nine pounds,” said Lisa.

Click here to read the full story and watch the video:

CLEVELAND, OH – Lisa Page makes breakfast with her husband Dave. On the menu: oatmeal and berries.

It’s one of many meals they learned about while on a plant-based diet.

“It’s fruits, vegetables and whole grains. On some diets you can’t have carbs and stuff, but they encourage carbs, but just whole-grain carbs,” said Lisa.

She originally started the diet with their 15-year-old daughter, Katie.

They were asked to try it as part of a study with the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Macknin helped put it together. He said they wanted to see how kids would react versus their parents.

“It was a four-week long study and the patients all got two hours each week of education about the diet,” he said.

While the Pages were doing the plant-based diet, other families experimented with the American Heart Association diet.

He said it’s a little different.

“It, on the other hand, does allow some added oils, some healthy oils, low fat meats, and it also permits you to have some fish too,” he explained.

Both groups ended up losing a significant amount of weight, and also improved their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“I stopped one of my diabetes medications; I stopped my cholesterol medication; I lost a lot of weight. Just in the month, I lost nine pounds,” said Lisa.

Katie lost about eight pounds. She admits she wasn’t disciplined at times.

“I don’t do the diet today, but there are things that I use pretty much every meal,” she said.

Dave said he just felt better and his runs became a lot easier. He said he got one of his best marathon times with this diet.

“The biggest thing that I noticed when I started this diet is all my joint pain; it almost all went away,” he said.

This research is just the beginning.

Dr. Macknin said they’re not looking into the effects of long-term dieting.

He said with so many positive results, he thinks this diet could become mainstream one day.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are forwarding you an amazing recipe courtesy of the Forks Over Knives site!  If you haven’t checked them out yet, they offer great tips on weight loss, living a healthy lifestyle, cholesterol reduction, recipes, etc.  You can find them at and DEF watch the documentary!  It is LIFE-CHANGING!


    • Makes 12 Cupcakes
    • Ready In: 75 minutes


  • ½ cup almond flour (from blanched almonds)
  • ½ pound strawberries (about 1 cup) (see note)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of sea salt


  • ½ pound strawberries (about 1 cup)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almond butter


  • 1¼ cups oat flour
  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 pinches of sea salt 
  • 6 strawberries for decoration

Strawberry Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day


Strawberry cupcakes taste good any time of year. But the colors and flavors are just perfect for Valentine’s Day or anytime you’re in the mood for a treat … and you can have a lot of fun decorating them!


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners.

2. Purée the strawberries for both the wet mix and the frosting in a blender. Use a strainer to remove the seeds.

3. To make the frosting, place the 1 cup of the strawberry purée, the maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt in a saucepan and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes on low heat, until the sauce has reduced by third.

4. Transfer the sauce to a bowl to cool. Mix in the almond flour and let stand for about 30 minutes. Transfer back to the blender and blend into a creamy frosting. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

5. To make the wet mix, place the plant milk, vanilla extract, flaxseeds, and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Mix well and let stand for 10 minutes.

6. To make the dry mix, place the oat flour, sorghum flour, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. If needed, sift through a sieve to ensure a thorough mixture.

7. Add the almond butter, maple syrup, and the remaining 1 cup of the strawberry purée to the bowl with the wet mix. Stir well, and pour into the bowl with the dry mix. Stir well but gently.

8. Spoon the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

9. Remove the tray from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Place the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool completely.

10. Frost each cupcake using a spatula, or decorate using a pastry bag and tip. Top each with a half strawberry. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


You can use frozen strawberries if fresh ones are not available, but the fresh berries will give the cupcakes and the frosting a better taste and texture.

Photo by Keepin’ it Kind 

Find this recipe and more in the Forks Over Knives Recipe App.


Heart Disease IS Largely Preventable!


January 29, 2015

Heart disease: a toothless paper tiger

Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group holds special events

By Cari DeLamielleure-Scott
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «

Photo by Cari DeLamielleure-Scott
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn discusses heart disease at Groves High School’s Little Theatre Jan. 27.
Photo by Cari DeLamielleure-Scott
Ann and Jane Esselstyn discuss healthy foods to eat, including green vegetables and nutritional yeast in place of cheese.

WEST BLOOMFIELD/BEVERLY HILLS — Show of hands: who has been guilty of feasting on fast food for a meal?

Those who eat a “western diet” have probably chosen this option more than once, and people who indulge in this diet are at risk of damaging their endothelial cells — which line and protect the heart’s blood vessels — putting them at risk of heart disease, according to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr.

And while doctors can prescribe drugs and perform procedures to treat heart disease, the causation of the illness is what needs to be reviewed first, said Caldwell Esselstyn, a leading advocate in the field of a plant-based nutrition lifestyle.

“The answer to chronic disease really is going to be a lifestyle, and the thing that trumps it all is nutritional literacy.”

Hundreds of metro Detroiters packed Groves High School’s Little Theatre Jan. 27 to hear Caldwell Esselstyn — along with his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, and daughter, Jane Esselstyn — discuss coronary heart disease and how to prevent and treat it through plant-based nutrition.

The talk was part of the West Bloomfield-based Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group’s  mission to reach individuals who have been diagnosed with, or are at risk of developing, heart disease and diabetes.

The group was founded in 2014 by Paul Chatlin, of West Bloomfield, after he opted out of bypass surgery and instead made a drastic change in his diet. Within the past year, the group has grown from 123 metro Detroit members to 684. In addition to monthly meetings with nationally renowned guest speakers, the nonprofit group hosts dinner events at local restaurants, nutritional and walking tours, and special events.

“I can’t say how exciting it is to see what I consider to be an absolute renaissance, and I’m so excited to be at the core of that renaissance here tonight,” Caldwell Esselstyn said about the support group. “If this kind of thing is replicated throughout the country, what’s going to happen to our health bill in this country?”

Within the past few months, former University of Michigan offensive lineman Marc Ramirez — who played from 1986-1990 — teamed up with Chatlin as an advocate for plant-based nutrition to reverse diabetes.

Before Caldwell Esselstyn took the stage, Ramirez told the group that during his time at the University of Michigan he was 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 305 pounds. Once he graduated, he continued to eat the same amount of food, but exercised less. Within a few years, Ramirez developed high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, and at 43-years-old, he was taking five medications a day, he said.

After watching “Forks Over Knives,” a documentary that examines how plant-based foods can control, or even reverse, degenerative diseases, Ramirez and his wife made the decision to switch to a plant-based lifestyle. Sixty days after the change, he took his last medication, reversing his Type 2 diabetes, he said. He has been medication-free for three years.

“We call it a lifestyle because it’s not a diet, it’s the way you live,” Ramirez said at the event. Ramirez told the audience that it’s not every day a person gets to be in the same room as the one who saved their life, referring to Caldwell Esselstyn.

Coronary heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in western civilization, Caldwell Esselstyn said.

“If the truth be known, heart disease is nothing more than a toothless paper tiger” that doesn’t need to exist, or if it does exist, doesn’t need to progress, he said.

Caldwell Esselstyn has great respect for doctors in the cardiology field; however, he said, the causation of heart disease and nutritional literacy is not being shared by physicians. And in order for a “seismic revolution” to take over, people have to be willing to share how nutrition can help people avoid common, chronic diseases — heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, common western cancers, autoimmune diseases, asthma and osteoporosis.

It is a misconception, he said, that patients won’t alter their food habits to battle diseases. In order to make the change, people need to avoid oil, sugar, fish, dairy, caffeine — except for tea — fowl and meat. Instead, a plant-based lifestyle involves whole grains, legumes, lentils, vegetables and fruits. People with heart disease should avoid nuts, coconut and avocado, he said.

“It is absolutely unconscionable not to mention this option to patients,” he said.

During the recipe portion of the evening, Jane and Ann Esselstyn told the audience to sautee vegetables in water, beer, wine or vegetable broth in lieu of oil. And people should play with recipes to create a salad dressing without oil. When grocery shopping, people should read ingredients, because they are constantly changing, they said.

“We hope all of you will feel very planted and will thrive in this fantastic group you’re a part of,” Ann Esselstyn said.

For more information about the Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group, visit

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Cari DeLamielleure-Scott at cdelamielleure@candgnews.comor at (586)498-1093.


Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Avocados and Applesauce!

It’s birthday time at our house and I have been searching for a healthier alternative to traditional cupcakes! Would you believe that these chocolate fudge cupcakes are made with Avocados and Applesauce? And no sugar or oil?
Check out for the frosting which uses 3 ingredients: avocado, cocoa powder and maple syrup (although I substituted agave)! For the cupcakes themselves I used the recipe from -basic vegan chocolate cupcake- and substituted applesauce for the oil and Norbu monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar. I am currently exploring other options instead of sugar. What are your favorite substitutions?'s photo.'s photo.