You Eat Too Much Fruit?
Fruit has had a bad rap lately. Those following a sugar-free diet say the fructose in fruit is fattening. But is it possible to eat too much fruit? And how much is considered ‘too much’? It’s a controversial topic, so let’s try to look at the topic in balance:
When is fruit healthy?
Fruit is natural and essential to good health. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, water and antioxidants – and any nutritionist or dietician is likely to tell you fruit can form part of a balanced diet. Health authorities, including Better Health Victoria
also advise us to eat two kinds of fruit every day for “good health”.
The science agrees. Several studies
have shown eating fruit regularly can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and loss of vision.
When is fruit ‘unhealthy’?
Like everything, fruit should be enjoyed in moderation. While having a piece or two a day is recommended, gorging on bananas and berries and peaches and plums can have its drawbacks.
And for that, we can blame fructose. Fruit’s full of this natural sugar, which is fine if you don’t overdo it. But too much fructose can mean we take in – and don’t burn off – excess energy (calories).
It’s said that the liver turns leftover fructose into triglycerides. These get stored in our fat cells. Ergo, more fruit equals more fructose, which equals bigger pants. Dang.
Vanity aside, this can lead to insulin resistance – a marker for type 2 diabetes.
How to find a fruitful balance
Question is – how do you know how much fruit is just right? A good guide is to stick with Australian guidelines, which is two serves a day. One serve is a cup of diced fruit, or one medium apple, pear, orange or banana.
Some nutrition experts say you should also eat fruits of different colours, as you’ll then be getting the full spectrum of phytochemicals and hence essential nutrients.
Of course, you may need to eat more or less fruit depending on your health goals and lifestyle. A dietician
can steer you on the right track, so you know you’re getting enough of the good stuff.
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