Everyone knows that fruit is good for you. Actually, it’s so good that eating fruits every day can prevent most chronic diseases. But wait – isn’t it full of sugar? You might wonder how it affects your overall health, and if it’s even possible to eat too much.
The sugar in question is fructose, the simple sugar naturally found in fruits. It’s a sign of rich nutrition, according to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. But there’s a catch. In the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose is added to processed foods and as a sweetener in different drinks. This adds a sweet taste plus tons of calories.1
No wonder fructose seems harmful! Thankfully, HFCS is nothing like the sugar in fruits. HFCS is about half glucose and half fructose, which makes a huge difference. Regardless, you still might be wary about the sugar. So is there such a thing as “too much” fruits?2
How Much Fruit Is Safe To Consume?
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that adult women eat 1 ½ cups of fruits a day. Adult men should eat a bit more, about 2 cups a day. There is a slight problem with this – most Americans don’t eat enough.
During 2007 to 2010, half of the American population ate less than 1 cup of fruits each day.3 A staggering 76% did not meet the recommended fruit intake (even more didn’t get enough veggies!). Given these numbers, eating “too much” fruit will likely get you on track. Aim for at least 2 cups a day. Another ½ to 1 cup will likely be just fine.4
Not sure what counts as 1 cup? Check out this list.5
- 1 small apple
- 1 large banana
- 32 seedless grapes
- 1 medium grapefruit
- 1 large orange
- 1 large peach
- 1 medium pear
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 2 large plums
- 8 large strawberries
- 1 watermelon wedge of 1-inch thickness
- ½ cup dried fruit
The Problem With Excess Fruit Intake
It’s possible to overdo a good thing. With fruit, the concern has to do with fiber. The problem is not fiber itself but how much you eat. A high-fiber diet will bring on constipation and bloating. If you already have these symptoms, more fiber will make it worse.6
Increase your fiber intake slowly and gradually. Don’t forget that vegetables and whole grains have fiber, too. Stay hydrated so that the fiber has something to
The goal is to eat 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day. And really, don’t worry about the sugar from fruit. Fiber actually controls blood sugar so you’ll get multiple benefits.7
Tips For Eating More Fruits
1. Add To Salads
Salads don’t have to be all about the veggies. Add fruits to sweeten things up. Delicious examples include Mandarin oranges, strawberries, and blueberries.
2. Make Smoothies
A smoothie is an easy, convenient way to fuel up on fruits. Combine with plain yogurt or non-dairy milk. If you’d like, add protein powder for a more filling smoothie.
3. Snack It Up
Fruits double as the perfect snacks. The fiber will keep you full until the next meal, especially when work gets crazy. Travel-friendly fruits include bananas, oranges, and apples.
4. Carry Dried Fruits
Have a busy day ahead? Pack dried fruits. Just be sure to avoid anything with added sugar. Dried fruits also taste great in oatmeal, cereal, and homemade trail mix.
5. Make Sauce
Dinner doesn’t always have to be savory. For something out of the ordinary, top salmon or chicken with a fruit-based topping. A fruit salsa or puree can be baked right onto meat.
Don’t stray away from fruit thinking it’ll wreck up your system. In the end, fruits are one of the best foods you can eat!
|↑1||Bray, George A. “How bad is fructose?” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 86, no. 4 (2007): 895-896.|
|↑2||High Fructose Corn
|↑3, ↑5||Fruits. ChooseMyPlate.Gov, United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑4||Moore, Latetia V., and Frances E. Thompson. “Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations—United States, 2013.” MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 64,
|↑6||Costilla, Vanessa C., and Amy E. Foxx-Orenstein. “Constipation.” Clinics in geriatric medicine 30, no. 1 (2014): 107-115.|
|↑7||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|