When it comes to eating healthy, we've all been told to eat our fruits and vegetables. They're the cornerstone of any well-balanced diet and give you the vitamins your body needs. However, it’s also possible that you might be consuming too much fruit, which has potentially negative side effects. Considering this, how do you know when enough is enough?
Nutritional Benefits of Fruit
Fruits are a staple of any diet because they contain important vitamins and minerals while also providing you with a good source of fiber. Eating fruits high in fiber can keep you full for longer, which means that you can avoid bad snacking habits and even lose weight. Since they're also a natural source of sugar, you can curb that craving without reaching for an unhealthy soda.
A healthy alternative option to greasy snack foods, fruits are low in fat, sodium and calories. They're also filled with vitamin C, potassium and folic acid, which help the body form red blood cells.
Dangers of Too Much Fruit
Despite all the positive benefits of fruits, you still have to remember that they contain three kinds of sugar: fructose, glucose and sucrose. Glucose is used by our cells for energy, whereas fructose, which is metabolized by the liver, is not. In fact, excess fructose can damage the liver and lead to insulin resistance. It's also bad for your heart and can result in weight gain.
While a regular amount of fruit does not contain enough fructose to be harmful, it can become a problem when you consider how many other foods contain this sugar. Many products, such as sodas and breakfast cereals, now contain high-fructose corn syrup. So do fruit juices and fruit-flavored products that are often marketed as healthy and nutritious and used as a base for smoothie (which also contain a large amount of fresh or frozen fruit). Often, these types of products are full of additional sugar, which can harm your metabolism.
How To Include Fruit in Your Diet
In order to avoid consuming too much fructose, you need to know your limit. According to the USDA, the recommended intake of fruit for women should be about 1.5–2 cups per day. You can substitute one cup of fruit for a half-cup of dried fruit or one cup of 100% fruit juice. However, make sure to choose natural fruit juices as their artificial counterparts contain more sugar and lack the fiber of regular fruit. You should also ditch sodas and other bad sources of fructose to ensure you're getting your daily supply from the most nutritious foods possible.
As it turns out, there can be too much of a good thing. Fruits are a great source of vitamin and fiber, but because of other harmful foods in our modern diets, fruits can contribute to a fructose overload. If you're worried about your fructose intake, choose other snacking alternatives, such as veggies and hummus, and limit your intake of sugary goods. When it comes to eating healthy, it’s all about balance.