Are fruits "Acidic"?


Depends on the fruit and how they are eaten. Most are indeed Alkaline based on PRAL (Potential Renal Acidic Load). Even those considered acidic are only slightly so. PRAL, however, doesn't take into consideration the sugar content of foods, so that makes them less alkaline than vegetables in general. NEAP (potential sulfuric acid yield + fractional endogenous organic acid production - potential bicarbonate yield) places them into the slightly Alkaline category. As there isn't a means as yet to get NEAP values on individual foods at this time (it's a very complicated formula), would treat the Fruits as Slightly Alkaline to Neutral in general if unsure of a Fruit's alkalinity levels.

Goutpal has many of our fruits PRAL (Potential Renal Acidic Load) values listed (from the USDA database) and can use these values as a reference point until we have NEAP values available to us on individual foods. With the sugar element, would treat those listed Slightly Alkaline as treat Neutral, and those listed as Very Alkaline, Slightly so:
http://www.goutpal.com/foods-for-gout.html

It's considered best that Fruits be eaten 20 minutes before meals as these foods digest quickly when unencumbered by other foods. There is concern that eating the fruits with other foods would cause them to be more likely to ferment in the digestive tract and promote issues such as Celiac Disease and Candida. This is still a debated item with more studies needed, however when fruits are eaten alone this isn't a concern.

The Theory on Fruits being best "eaten alone and not with other foods" is based on Theoretical thinking, with more studies needed to determine whether or not this is indeed true. The thinking stemming from a compliment of scientific evidence on cellular fermentation and the normal digestion times of Fruits. When fruits are eaten before eating other foods, it passes quickly through the stomach into the duodenum... it then stimulates the stomach, pancreas, liver, and bicarbonate production making the following foods consumed more easily digested as the enzymes and elements are "awakened". But if eaten with the meats and carbs or shortly after... it is thought that their sugars get trapped in with the carbs and proteins and thus possibly compound the problem of fermentation.

(But, it's important to note that in the in the mechanics of fermentation, the Fruit's enzymes are activated, and these active enzymes assist digestion and control of yeast as they attack free radicals, thus making the debate on them and how best to consume them "hot")

When eaten first, they pass on through in about 15 to 20 minutes, at most it's 40 minutes with some. The carbs and proteins pass through later, 90 minutes with carbs to 4 hours with meats if properly eaten, so the sugars in the fruits are already processed by the body and the intestines are free of the concerns with fruit's sugars.
See The Debate on Fruits, at the bottom of this page for more.

They should be treated similar to herbs... My best answer at this time would be to:

Eat them separately before meals until the body is healed and functioning correctly, but do include them as they do have elements that heal and correct digestive ailments, then can introduce them in with the foods in moderation.
But never with both carbs and meats together.

See:
http://phbalance.wikispaces.com/Dr.+Hay%27s+Food+Combining

Fruit combining guidelines:

Most Fruits can be combined with vegetables as they both have similar digestive times and structural make-up.

Based on their initial composition fruits (how they "taste" as opposed to how metabolized) are divided into 4 categories:

acid fruit ( oranges, pineapple, etc. )
sub-acid fruit ( apples, peaches, mango, pear, etc. )
sweet fruit ( bananas, sweet grapes, etc.)
Dried fruit, which is very sweet fruit

You should not mix acid fruit with sweet fruit.
Sub-acid fruits can be combined with either sweet fruit OR acid fruit.

Melon should be eaten alone and not combined with any other food or fruit.
Other than the Melon, one can combine fruit with lettuce and celery.
Tomatoes should not be combined with any other fruit, but are great when combined with a green salad.

Avocados are great when combined with a green salad and/or tomatoes,
Nuts and Avocados should not be combined in the same meal.
Avocados also can be combined with the acid and sub-acid fruits.
Sweet fruit does not combine well with fats - avocado / nuts.


Common question: Why are Bananas considered acidic or alkaline depending on it's ripeness?


The riper the banana, the more it's turned into the less complex sugars. The acids in the Fruit should not be confused with acid forming as these acids break down bad acids.

The debate on fruits has been the hottest issue as far as confusion.
We need the acids in fruit (Vitamin C for instance is an Acid) and they are alkalizing to the body when eaten in the right combinations.. They also contain the Alkalizing Minerals.

The banana for instance Has Zero Cholesterol, but has good , Phytosterols 18.9 mg that help fight bad cholesterol issues. Vitamin and mineral rich in especially C, B6, Potassium, and manganese.

The Acids Oxidize over time turning the banana riper and changing the fruit's sugar more and more into the simpler sugars that are more related with issues of acidity than complex forms. We want those beneficial acids in it's first form so it can break down sugars and Uric Acid within the body. Oxidized before consumption and the effect is less alkalizing and the sugars ready to be taken in it's worst from. Greener, Bright Yellow Bananas are the most beneficial for the body and therefore is considered alkaline rather than acidic. How the food is metabolized.

Treat most Fruits Neutral save the Avocado, Lemons, Limes, and a few others which are Alkaline forming... Lemons and Limes especially are acidic in first form... but their acids attack and neutralize bad Uric Acid... these are treated Alkaline.

There is so much more in the fruit than sugars and their "acids" are alkaline forming within the body, their composition complex and tied to elements that address illnesses such as Leukemia and Lymphomas (the Black Raspberry). Vitamin C and zinc... very important for basic immunity enhancement, etc.


Glycemic and Nutritional effects on the body:


While I respect the older studies regarding sugars and metabolism, it isn't proper to lump Fruits with the ill-effects of Sugar. I disagree with suggestions on the fruits having an adverse effect on Blood Sugar Levels. It isn't the case with the Whole fruits complex nutrient and complex sugar content. Today's studies are showing the fruit's sugars are not mismanaged when the body is properly balanced, and even may be beneficial for those imbalanced as the effect is a slight Lowering of Blood Sugar Levels.

The Diabetic studies in particular are of interest in regards to this... Fruits and Whole fruit juices are actually beneficial for those with this disease.

One such study(there are many) which included evaluations of Sweetened Juices vs. Whole fruit Juices:

"Fruit juice consumption was not associated with diabetes risk in our study, which suggests that naturally occurring sugars in beverages may have different metabolic effects than added sugars. Fruit juices generally have a lower glycemic index than sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit punches.38 In addition, vitamins, minerals, soluble fiber, and phytochemicals in fruit juices may have beneficial effects counterbalancing potential adverse effects of sugars. In contrast, fruit punches contain only a small proportion of fruit juice but large amounts of added high-fructose corn syrup and, therefore, provide little nutritional value compared with pure fruit juices. Our finding that fruit punch consumption was associated with increased diabetes risk suggests that its physiological consequences may be similar to sugar-sweetened soft drinks."
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/292/8/927

For a simpler report regarding the benefits of whole foods inclusive of fruits and the effects of Blood sugar, See also:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070627225459.htm

There are Many pieces to the Nutritional Puzzle... and Fruits are getting a "bad rap" because it has "sugar" but these are complex and when eaten alone or in the proper combinations are metabolized appropriately.

Science is addressing this question and the answer is coming back that fruits are Beneficial, even with the sugars within, and are not affecting Blood Sugar Levels adversely, rather it has a slightly lowering effect on Blood Sugar Levels. Just don't add sugar to it, eat them in the Whole Form inclusive of Whole Fruit Juices.


The Debate on Fruits:


I'm still looking into the "Fruits should be eaten alone without any other food" question and will keep up with the question as time moves forward as it is an important one, especially for those suffering digestive ailments.
For the time being, science hasn't yet proven one way or the other on this.

There's conflicting info on fruits, and I'm having a difficult time finding scientific justification to separate fruits from veggies as they are , in reality, alkaline forming and are very similar in composition and in their digestive times (even good with lowering the glycemic factor proven in diabetic studies and the positive effects of fruit's components with digestion and bacterial management). Dr. Hay (the originator) says fruits are fine with veggies and has them grouped together in the same food group. As such, with this theory, they can be included with grains or meats, but not meats and grains.

Fruits have enzymes that digest and assimilate proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and plant fibers.... Pineapple helps the body digest pork, Papaya with meats, Fruit's pectin helps digest milk, etc. So, I'm having a very difficult time finding hard core evidence that fruits should be consumed separately of all foods.

However, with Gluten issues (villi impairment and destruction caused from processed grains, the gluten's gliadin is not being properly digested as the outer hulls of the wheat with the enzymes that break down gluten were removed to make the flour and products) it may pose a possible problem for people who suffer ailments such as Celiac and Gluten/casein intolerance due to the reduction in abilities to absorb nutrients, so the fruits may be best eaten separately to enable the body to get it's nutrients.

I've been having a very difficult time finding justifications with "Fruits should be eaten alone with nothing else" beyond theoretical thought.

Sugar content of fruit being the main culprit of the thinking... With fermentation issues, this is the only one that makes sense. However, if fruits help the body digest the carbs and meats better... the food would then pass through quicker and cause a lessening effect with adverse fermentation issues. That is, unless, one isn't absorbing, metabolizing, utilizing the nutrients due to ailments within the digestive tract...

It's through the fermentation of fruits that causes the digestive enzymes in them to become active. These active enzymes attack free radicals (harmful oxidants) and assist good bacterial growth. It's also good to note, when one buys a digestive enzyme complex, it's fermented fruits used to get the enzymes... And the connection with candida is actually being linked to bad fats interfering with proper insulin use, the enzyme responsible for glucose management.

Now, does this mean if fruits are eaten first these enzymes are better activated, or is it very similar in its actions when consumed with other foods such as a starch or a protein?


Those who suffer Candida, or have digestive ailments should eat them separately to keep the fruit sugars properly utilized, there may or may not be something to the "fruits should be eaten alone". Would keep the fruits separate and use them to assist digestion by eating them 20 minutes before meals, but not with or shortly after.

They should be treated similar to herbs... Used in accordance of value and balance. My best answer at this time would be:

Eat them separately before meals until the body is healed and functioning correctly, but do include them as they have elements that heal and correct digestive ailments, then can introduce them in with the foods in moderation with considerations of keeping the combination moderate at most. And Never consume with carbs and meats, as carbs and meats should not be consumed together anyway...

What we do know is that when Fruits are consumed by themselves they have very positive effects on the human body. In the 4:1 ratio of veggies to other foods, 1 to 2 servings can include the fruits and that they can be combined with vegetables for the most part.

Practically... I do use Pineapple whenever I serve Pork (I marinate it in the Pineapple with garlic and cloves overnight, then into the oven), Love Raisin Bread occasionally as a treat, and fruit in my yogurt. But mostly, I have them by themselves first thing in the morning and as a midday snack.

A Couple of very interesting studies regarding Pectin that recently came out, Aug. 2007 on Prostate Cancer and Oct. 12, 2008 on Colon Cancers:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/80268.php
http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/pectin_power_protects_against_cancer