Fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. In fact, diets high in fruit are associated with all sorts of health benefits, including a decreased risk of many diseases. However, some people are concerned with the sugar content of fruit and worry that eating too much of it may be harmful.
So how many servings of fruit should you eat each day to be healthy? And is it possible to eat too much? This article explores the current research on the topic.
What About People Following a Low-Carb Diet?
Some people consider eating 100–150 grams of carbs per day to be “low-carb.” Others strive to get into nutritional ketosis and reduce carb intake to below 50 grams per day. This type of diet is called a ketogenic diet and goes beyond the standard low-carb diet.
The average piece of fruit contains anywhere from 15–30 grams of carbs, so the amount you should eat depends entirely on how many grams of carbs you want to consume each day. Needless to say, there isn’t a lot of room to include fruit on a ketogenic diet. That’s not to say ketogenic diets are unhealthy. In fact, following a ketogenic diet can help you lose weight and can even help fight several diseases.
Of all fruit, berries tend to be the lowest in carbs. So if you’re counting carbs, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are all excellent choices. At the end of the day, fruits are very nutritious, but they don’t contain any essential nutrients that you can’t get from other foods, like vegetables.
If you choose to follow a ketogenic diet and greatly restrict your carb intake it’s fine to avoid fruits as long as you are getting those nutrients from other foods. For everyone else, fruit can and should be part of a healthy low-carb diet. Fruit can be a healthy part of a low-carb diet. However, people who follow a very low-carb ketogenic diet may want to avoid fruit.
Is It Possible to Eat Too Much Fruit?
It’s been established that fruit is good for you, but can “too much” be harmful? First of all, when eating the whole fruit, it’s rather difficult to eat too much. This is because fruits are very high in water and fiber, which makes them incredibly filling to the point where you will likely feel full after just one piece.
Because of this, it is very difficult to eat large amounts of fruit every day. In fact, fewer than 1 in 10 Americans meet the minimum daily fruit recommendation. Even though eating large amounts of fruit each day is very unlikely. A few studies have examined the effects of eating 20 servings each day.
In one study, 10 people ate 20 servings of fruit per day for two weeks and experienced no adverse effects. In a slightly larger study, 17 people ate 20 servings of fruit per day for several months with no adverse effects. And In fact, researchers even found possible health benefits. Although these studies are small, they provide reason to believe that fruit is safe to eat in any amount.
At the end of the day, if you eat fruit until you feel full, it is almost impossible to eat “too much.” Nevertheless, it’s important to note that fruit should ideally be consumed as part of a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of other whole foods.
For the average person, the fruit is safe in almost any amount. Unless you have an intolerance or are following a very low-carb or ketogenic diet. There really is no reason to limit your intake.
How Much Fruit Is Optimal?
Though it’s possible to eat healthy while eating very little or a lot of fruit. The ideal amount lies somewhere in the middle. The general recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake is at least 400 grams per day or five servings of 80 grams.
One 80-gram serving is equivalent to a small piece about the size of a tennis ball. For fruits and vegetables that can be measured by the cup, a serving is roughly 1 cup.
This recommendation stems from the fact that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily is associated with a lower risk of death from diseases like heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
One large analysis of 16 scientific studies found that eating more than five servings per day provided no added benefit. However, another systematic review of 95 scientific studies found the lowest disease risk at 800 grams or 10 daily servings.
Keep in mind that these studies looked at both fruits and vegetables.
Assuming half of these servings come from fruit, you should consume somewhere between two to five servings of fruit daily. Recommendations from different health authorities vary slightly but generally seem to align with the current research.
For example, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines recommend the average adult consume two servings of fruit per day. While the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends adults eat four to five servings of fruit per day. Most studies show health benefits with two to five servings of fruit per day. However, there seems to be no harm in eating more than that.
Eating whole fruit promotes good health and can lower the risk of many serious diseases. Unless you are following a ketogenic diet or have some sort of intolerance. There really is no reason to limit the amount of fruit you eat.
While most studies suggest that the optimal amount is two to five servings of fruit per day, there seems to be no harm in eating more 🙂 🙂