Melbourne Zoo stops feeding its animals fruit

Cute monkeys lives in Ubud Monkey Forest, Bali, Indonesia.

No more bananas for monkeys? A recent article in Newsweek reported that after the Melbourne Zoo’s animals gained weight and got rotten teeth, measures had to be taken. The zookeepers switched from feeding the animals fruit to offering leafy greens and other vegetables. As modern fruit is not what it used to be, it’s no longer an appropriate food for animals.

Melbourne Zoo’s head vet Michael Lynch explains:

Fruit is a highly desired item because of its sugar content. So many animals, especially primates and red pandas, they will selectively eat the fruit but not other elements. The issue is the cultivated fruits have been genetically modified to be much higher in sugar content than their natural, ancestral fruits.

Newsweek: Zoo weans animals off fruit because its increased sugar makes them fat and rots their teeth

The Age: Zoo won’t panda to taste, says fruit’s too sweet for its monkey menu

The same article claims that for humans, fruit is linked to reduced risks of heart disease, cancer, and stroke. But how can something harmful to animals — especially primates — be recommended by doctors as a critical part of a healthful diet for humans? Sugar (from fruits) does raise blood sugar levels, and might not be the right choice if you’re trying to lose weight, have a sugar addiction or are insulin resistant.

Many people believe that fruit is natural, but as Lynch explained, today’s fruits from the supermarket have very little in common with the wild fruits served up by nature before selective breeding. Fruits can be something to have occasionally or maybe limit to a minimum, it all comes down to what your goals are. But as fruit does contain a lot of sugar, it can be wise to view it as nature’s candy and to eat it in moderation, for both humans and animals.

Guide on fruits

Low-carb fruits and berries – the best and the worst

Earlier

“Tons of sugar and limited nutrients” – why juice is not healthy

Why people get fat

Sugar

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