Is Fruit Bad For You?

As a Nutritionist, it’s worrying the amount of people who come to me proudly admitting that they are avoiding fruit. Not because they don’t like it or because they prefer other snacks, just simply because they believe that fruit is bad. For the majority of people (some diseases, allergies and conditions aside) fruit is a critical part of a healthy diet, so why are people avoiding it?

What has caused such confusion over something that surely seems so obvious?

Fruit contains fructose, which is sugar. Fructose can have negative effects on health if consumed in high amounts, however, you would need to be eating an excessive amount of fruit all day every day. So keep eating fruit, and limit other sugary food with added sugars instead.

The benefits of eating fruit

Despite getting a bad rep the past few years for it’s sugar content, fruit is an integral part of a healthy diet. Bursting to the brim with minerals and vitamins, as well as disease preventing nutrients and fibre, it’s essential that we don’t neglect it.

But sugar is sugar right? Wrong.

An apple contains the same amount of Sugar that a Snickers bar, however, when you eat the apple you get vitamins such as Vitamin C, phytochemicals, antioxidants and soluble fibre. Eat the snickers though, and you get saturated fats, sugar syrup and palm fat, all things that affect our health. So you really can’t compare the sugar in fruit to extrinsic added sugars in junk food.

So I can eat as much fruit as I like?

Ehhhh no. Sorry to confuse things, but that doesn’t mean you can eat buckets full of fruit every day (although sometimes I wish I could!). Moderation is key, as there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. A varied balanced diet is critical.

Keeping an eye on your fruit intake is important for conditions such as diabetes, as diabetics struggle with managing blood sugar levels.

Furthermore, fruit, especially acidic fruits such as oranges, grapes and grapefruit can lead to enamel erosion, but dentists recommend rising our teeth with water after eating these and then waiting at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth to limit any damage.

So, just to reiterate, fruit is not bad! Aim for more than 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, limit juices and dried versions and opt for the whole fruit. Now, someone pass the fruit bowl!

Tips for increasing fruit consumption

  1. Sprinkle some berries on your morning porridge

  2. Add some frozen fruit into your protein shake

  3. Include some fruit in your usual Salad- pear, apples and grapes are all great in salads

  4. You don’t need to eat fruit by itself- try apple with some almond butter or add some greek yogurt to your fruit salad

  5. Keep a bowl of mixed fruit at your desk to pick at throughout the day- a bowl of grapes, raspberries and blueberries never last long at my desk

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Katie Kavanagh

Katie Kavanagh

Katie is a registered Associate Nutritionist with the UKVRN through the Association for Nutrition. Katie completed her Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Health in Glasgow Caledonian University and her Bachelors Degree in UCD in Health and Performance Science. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked in a kitchen catering company, and for Our Lady’s Hospice Harolds Cross and is heavily involved with UCD Boxing Club. Her areas of interest are Vegetarian diets, disease prevention and Sports Nutrition.
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