We are always reminded at every point of the benefits of adding fruits to our diet or in some cases, completely replacing our diet with them. The benefits of consuming fruits are endless thanks to the essential sugars, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants gotten from them.
But is it possible to consume more fruit than your body needs? As we already know, too much of anything is bad and that surprisingly includes fruits too! Here’s why…
In addition to useful nutrients contained in fruits, they also contain large amounts of sugar known as fructose.
Fructose is metabolized in the liver instead of the blood stream. And like other sugars your body deals with, fruit sugars can contribute to diabetes since your liver turns any excess sugar intake into triglycerides that get stored in fat cells throughout the body especially visceral belly fat that has been linked to type 2 diabetes.
How much fruit should you eat?
According to health.com, your fruit intake should be somewhere between two to four servings of fruit a day depending on your activity levels. Note that fruits are also a major source of carbs and while carbs are needed in your diet, taking more carbs than you can actually burn down might mean the excess get stored as fat.
It’s also important to note that like all sources of carbs, fruits should be consumed during active hours of the day, when your body needs the fuel rather than taken as a midnight snack when the excess carbs could easily be converted to surplus fat.
Are we all Fructose tolerant?
The answer to this is no. Some people (although a small percentage) are born with Hereditary Fructose Intolerance, meaning their bodies find it difficult to break down fructose into glucose which the body uses as fuel. If fructose isn’t properly broken down, there’s an increase in sugar levels in the liver which may lead to liver disease later on.
Which fruits should you take
Some fruits might have higher sugar content than others. Fruits like oranges, mangoes, bananas, and grapes have higher fructose concentrations than avocados, paw-paw, grapefruit and berries. The glycemic index is a good way to measure up which fruits are most likely to affect your insulin levels negatively.
The Bottom line: Fruits have sugars which can become surplus body fat and just like everything else, they should be taken in moderation and at active hours of the day. Note also that fruit juices are a bad substitute for whole fruit as the useful fibre in the fruit is gone leaving you with just the sugar!