Few things are as tempting as fat, juicy berries, golden bananas, plump strawberries, pomegranate jewels, and shiny apples. And that’s only naming some of the tempting fruits in the fresh produce department! There sure are many fruits to choose from, and they are all delicious. We have long been told the importance of eating up to ten helpings of fruit and vegetables a day, but what we haven’t been told is how much fruit, in particular, is enough.
Fruits Are Fabulous
Fruits are high in fiber and water which makes them very filling, and most people feel full after just a piece! Thus, it is actually difficult to consume a lot of fruit in a day. Fruits are generally high in carbohydrates, and so people following strict diets like the ketogenic diet tend to avoid them. For people who enjoy a regular balanced diet, though, fruits offer polyphenols and fiber which improve long-term blood sugar control as well as offer protection against type 2 diabetes. Higher intake of fruit has also been correlated to lower levels of oxidative stress and less inflammation in diabetics. In fact, the daily recommended serving of fruit for a diabetic is the same as that of the general population – two to four servings per day.
Not Everyone Thinks They’re Fabulous
Still, some people actually restrict their intake of fruits not because they are on a ketogenic diet but because of the sugar content. They limit their servings so that they consume less fructose in the day in spite of some evidence supportive of fruit preventing diabetes and controlling insulin.
What’s The Deal?
With so much conflicting information, we need the advice of dieticians. Jen Bruning and Andy Bellatti spoke to Insider about the dilemma. First, they considered the many benefits of eating a range of fruits in terms of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals. The dieticians went on to agree on the fact that consumption of fruit actually benefits one psychologically as well.
Fruits Aren’t Everything
After considering the benefits, it needs to be realized that a diet based solely on fruits is not sustainable and leads to nutritional deficiency. Fruits are poor sources of zinc and iron, for example, and these are crucial components for the body. Furthermore, excessive consumption of fruits can actually irritate the digestive system, causing an upset stomach for some people. Diarrhea, heartburn, and bloating are all examples of ways your belly could be telling you to lay off some fruit!
Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Never A Good Thing
The next point to be noted is that like any other food, fruits can certainly be eaten in excess which obviously means an excess of calories entering the system. We all know what happens to excess calories —they get stored as fat! So, yes, fruits can most certainly be consumed in excess and lead to weight gain even though they are significantly lower in calories than many other foods per volume.
Fruit Comes In Various Forms
Yet another important piece of information served by the pair of dieticians is that how you consume your fruit is also important. Juicing certainly has been at the forefront in recent years, but drinking fruit juice is an easy way to overdo it with calories, and it removes all the good fiber and pectin from the fruits you eat. There are also antioxidants and phytonutrients lost in the juicing process, so sticking to eating whole fruits is a much better option. With this being said, smoothies offer a good compromise if you insist on drinking your fruits because they retain the whole fruit.
Another aspect worth considering is a person’s digestive system. Some people find it difficult to digest raw fruit and vegetables, in which case you will experience severe bloating and discomfort. It may be better in this instance for people with sensitivities of this nature to consume steamed veggies and cooked fruits instead of raw servings.
At the end of the day, the information is inconclusive as to whether you can really consume too much fruit. It depends on too many factors like in what form you consume it, how sensitive your digestive system is, and your predisposition to diseases related to sugar. Ultimately, listen to your body! And have regular check-ups, and if possible, consult with a nutritionist to decide whether you are meeting your nutritional needs on a daily basis!