Should you stop eating fruit? There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. While fruit hosts an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritious qualities, it also packs a punch in the carbohydrate and calorie departments which can hinder your weight loss efforts. Here’s what you need to know.
Fruit is healthy, but it may not be your healthiest option for your particular body and goals. It should not be approached in the “eat as much as you want” type of way.
Diets like the fruitarian diet, where 75% of the food eaten is raw fruits, come with several risks including:
- Weight Gain: The large amount of calories and sugars can actually make you gain weight.
- Diabetes: The sugar intake can negatively affect blood sugar levels.
- Tooth Decay: You increase your risk of tooth decay with the increase in sugar intake.
As you can see, these issues are stemming from the sugar found in fruit. While you may not be a fruitarian, the main point is still the same: too much sugar, even from fruit, is unhealthy.
An Apple a Day Doesn’t Keep the Doctor Away
Fruits are high in a sugar called fructose. Fructose is processed only in your liver, and when the liver has enough energy already, it ends up storing that excess sugar as fat.
Unfortunately, the liver gets plenty of energy from fructose in a standard American diet (think juices, sweets, and sodas).
When you’re looking to shed a few pounds, the most common and successful approach is by watching calories and carbohydrates.
Fruits like apples and bananas in this case are not your friends. Just one apple with its 30 grams of carbohydrates will fill in the whole daily carbohydrate restriction of a diet like keto.
A banana for breakfast means intake 27 grams of carbs. While they’re delicious, mango contains 27grams of sugar in just a single cup.
Even if you’re not following keto, but rather limiting carbohydrates to something like 75grams a day, fruits like apples can easily fulfill that requirement. Eating as much fruit as you want ends up increasing your caloric intake as well.
There are fruits that don’t drop quite the same sugar bomb as apples, bananas, and mangoes do. A cup of raspberries for instance is not only pretty low calorie (just 65), but it also has only 15grams of carbohydrates, 8 of which are from fiber.
So, Stop Eating Fruit…Forever?!
Is the answer to all of the problems concerning your waistline to stop eating fruit? Not necessarily.
You don’t have to stop eating fruit completely. Even with nearly the same amount of sugar as a Coke sometimes, eating fruit still has its benefits.
Fruits can still be incorporated into your diet in a healthy way. As mentioned early, fruits boast tons of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
The trick here is to choose lower sugar fruits that are high in fiber. We’re talking berries over bananas. As long as you eat them in moderation, you can still enjoy strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries just to name a few. Use that small amount of fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
While our modern agricultural and shipping methods have made it possible to eat the same fruits all year long, it’s a good idea to choose the fruits that are in season.
There are a few reasons for this. The first is that nutrient content changes in foods depending on the season they were produced in.
When fruits are out of season, they require more pesticides, waxes, and preservatives in order to maintain a certain appearance. Research has shown us that pesticides are not good for our health. Another reason is that the longer the produce sits (longer transport times due to seasonality), the more nutrients they lose.
By purchasing in-season and organic fruit, you are helping to preserve the environment and support sustainable farming. Not only that, but you’ll have a broader variety of foods incorporated into your diet. Also, it’s simply the healthier choice!
You may be thinking to yourself, “so no more of my favorite fruit?!” Take a second to relax, because I’m here to say that you can still enjoy your favorite summer watermelon. Just be conscious of serving sizes. Don’t go for the slice as big as your head. Instead limit yourself to a half cup!
Generally, by sticking to a half cup or less you can still stick to your dieting requirements. A half cup of apple slices for instance reduces your sugar intake to just 5grams. Magic!
As always though, your focus should be on leafy greens! These will always be the cornerstone of a healthy diet.