“Fruit makes you fat”

A couple of weeks ago I went to a childbirth preparation class that ended up being more of an informative speech by the doctor –I expected a more practical approach, to be honest. The doctor was a lovely old lady (in China, middle age starts at 35 and you are officially old by 55 or so) that, among other things, mentioned the case of a patient who had gained 20 kg by her 6th month of pregnancy. According to the doctor, this woman ate whole watermelons in one go and that was the reason she had gained so much weight.

I follow some official accounts in WeChat that post articles about health and they often recommend not to eat too much fruit, 250-300 grams per day maximum. Oddly enough, I’ve never seen them saying anything against eating meat every day, which is very common in China. On the contrary, in their nutrition articles they normally say you need to eat meat every day and they also give a recommended amount in grams but now I don’t remember the exact figure. I once sent a comment asking how vegetarians and vegans manage to be healthy then. They didn’t publish my comment. Booooh!

I have the feeling that Chinese people consider fruit as something like candy. In the app I use to register my daily expenses, the food and drinks section is divided into “breakfast, lunch and dinner”, “cigarettes, alcoholic drinks and tea” and “fruits and snacks”. The “fruits and snacks” subsection’s icon is an ice lolly.

Many people in Western countries believe that all Chinese people are lean. Maybe that was mostly true 30 years ago, but the global epidemic of obesity has reached these lands too! It’s very obvious in the children and, according to Wikipedia, over 20% of children in some Chinese cities are obese (China already is the country with more obese children in the world, but having also the greatest population this is not too surprising). The other day on the subway I noticed that fat men and teenagers were all wearing sport clothes and sneakers, but they didn’t really look like they did much exercise (or maybe they were just starting their exercise regime and I’m being mean, haha). I doubt that fat children and teenagers have too much time to play sports, as they are always busy with homework and extra lessons! The other day I also watched a video of a 2 year old boy who weighted 23 kg and was playing with other children in a park. According to the WHO, the average weight for a 2 year old boy is 12.9 kg. His grandma also appeared in the video and she seemed very proud of how big and well fed her grandson was.

I honestly doubt today’s children are fat because they eat too much fruit. They are probably fat because they have been overfed since birth, regularly eat cookies, chips, fast food, soft drinks and other things full of added sugars and trans fats, and also because they don’t exercise. Well, I also commented that in the last article I read that suggested to eat less fruit and my comment was again not published. That WeChat account moderator must hate me, hahaha. As with everything, the key is in moderation, but I’d think that if you are craving something sweet, it’s much better to eat a banana than something processed.

“Son, don’t eat mangoes because you will get fat. Here, drink this Yakult instead, it has calcium, lactobacillus and only 50% of added sugars!”.