HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH FRUIT?
The reader’s digest, condensed version is this:
You can eat as much whole fruit as you wish with no down side and only upside benefit.
Cutting down on sugary foods may be easier said than done
(see Are Sugary Foods Addictive? http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-much-added-sugar-is-too-much/
but it’s worth it.
This video is part of an intermittent series on the dangers of high levels of
fructose in added sugars. See the first two installments in How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?
Coca Cola even admits that their infamous beverage is full of empty calories.
But it gets worse than just empty calories. The sugars in this (and other sugary drinks)
are directly related to fatty liver disease.
The fructose that is specifically added in high fructose corn syrup can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.The american heart association had this to say: less than one can of soda puts us
over the daily recommended dosage of sugar.
Loading your diet with fruit seems like a no-brainer, right? Your body gets a boost from nutritious superstars like fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, plus juicy berries might even satisfy your sweet tooth. But that doesn’t mean maintaining a 24/7 fruit free-for-all is good for your health. “Fruit is high in a sugar known as fructose. Even though the sugar is coming from this healthy source, you still have to use moderation,” says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN, a dietitian at B-Nutritious.
If you’re panicking because you’ve been devouring fruit salad to your heart’s content, don’t worry. Here’s what you need to know about how much fruit you should really be eating every day.
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High blood sugar, which is caused by too much glucose in your blood, can lead to diabetes. Refined carbohydrates, like white rice or white-flour baked goods, are common culprits leading to high blood sugar. In addition to their sugar content, they lack the fiber that prevents glucose spikes, wreaking havoc on your blood sugar levels. “Too much sugar in the blood stream at once leads to fat storage and insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes,” says Zeitlin.
The lesser-known fact is that fructose, or fruit sugars, can also play a role in the disease. “Your liver turns any excess sugar intake into triglycerides that get stored in fat cells throughout the body,” says Zeitlin. “The more sugar you eat, the more fat you store.” Specifically, too much sugar, even from the fructose found in fruits, can lead to a buildup of that visceral belly fat that has been linked to type 2 diabetes, Warren explains.
How Much Fruit Should You Eat?
Craving your fourth piece of fruit today? Back away. Zeitlin suggests keeping your fruit consumption to 5-7 servings of fruit per day, while Warren says you can go up to 5. (The USDA generally recommends two cups per day.) “I recommend people eat about six times a day, [keeping] three hours between each [serving of fruit]. That means snacks between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner can include some fruit,” says Warren.
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Go easy on the OJ, too. “Juice is liquid, so it doesn’t have to go through as much processing before it hits your bloodstream, where it can spike your sugar levels,” says Warren. If you absolutely love your daily juice and can’t give it up, keep it to a half-cup of watered-down juice per day at the absolute most, says Zeitlin.
“Truthfully, you should give up fruit juice,” she adds. Her reasoning lies in the fact that without the skin of the fruit, your body misses out on the fiber that’s so essential to keeping you full longer and regulating your sugar levels. “The healthiest way to incorporate fruit into your diet is to eat fruit that you are eating the skin of, such as apples or berries, because the majority of fiber in fruit is found in the skin,” says Zeitlin. “Also, pair your fruit with a protein, as the protein-fruit combo will slow down the sugar spike in the blood stream.”
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Smoothies are a little better for you, since they’re more likely to be blended with the fruit skins intact. But be wary of how much fruit you’re packing into each frosty glass. “I have people tell me about making smoothies where they’re putting maybe six servings of fruit in without even realizing it,” says Warren.
The Best Fruit for You
Some fruits might give you more of a sugar rush than others. Check out this list of high and low-sugar fruits, courtesy of the USDA National Nutrient Database. Keep in mind that dried fruit usually packs more of a sugary, calorie-dense punch, so stick with fresh options when you can.