Why Eating Too Much Fruit Is Bad News

Why Eating Too Much Fruit Is Bad News

Nutritionists are always pushing the benefits of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. They are good for you, aren’t they?  While fruits and vegetables are both good for you, it can be safely said that, of the two, vegetables are better for you than fruits.  

What’s wrong with fruits?

Fruits contain plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; in that way, they can be considered good for you. Fruits, however, are filled with simple sugars—most of them containing fructose, which is also called “fruit sugar.” Fructose is rapidly changed in the body to glucose and your body’s pancreas treats it like any other molecule of sugar. It takes the sugar and attempts to put the sugar into cells for use as cellular fuel. Any extra sugar not needed for cellular fuel is used to make glycogen in the liver or to make fat in the fat cells.

If you are diabetic or prone to diabetes, you should be eating more vegetables than fruits. Fruits that are better to eat include those that are high in fiber. Lower sugar and higher fiber fruits are best like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. 

High fiber fruits are whole fruits, like whole oranges and whole apples or pears. The fiber will stay in your gut and will keep the sugar from rushing into the bloodstream, triggering the insulin effect described above. Vegetables, on the other hand, contain more complex carbohydrates, which slowly enter your bloodstream and don’t trigger the pancreas to release insulin so vehemently or so quickly.  

In essence, fruits can be little better than eating candy, which contains sucrose, a mixture of glucose and fructose. Too many fruits will flood the bloodstream with sugar just like candy does and your pancreas will go into overdrive.

The real enemy: Fruit Juices

If you want to eat fruits as part of your healthy diet, it is far better to take the fruit in as the whole fruit and not as the fruit is in its juice form. Juice takes the fructose out of the fruit and removes much of the fiber. This is especially true of things like pear juice and apple juice, which are clear juices containing almost no fiber. 

Fruit juices have a high glycemic index, meaning that they flood the bloodstream rapidly with sugar. Your pancreas has no choice but to respond by putting out insulin and trying to put the sugar into the cells. It is no different than eating a piece of candy as far as the pancreas is concerned. Orange juice has some fiber in it in the form of pulp but it still has a high glycemic index and floods your bloodstream with simple sugars in much the same way as the clear juices do.

The bottom line when it comes to fruit

The phrase “eat a lot of fruits and vegetables” should really be “eat lots of vegetables, and a few fruits.” Think more along the lines of eating much more vegetables and fewer fruits. Vegetables offer similar nutrients, and antioxidants as fruit but without the unnecessary sugar. Vegetables are also much lower in calories, especially the leafy greens, all green vegetables and tomatoes and will not contribute to higher risks of type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

If you choose to eat fruits, eat them as the raw, whole fruit, which contains fruit fiber that will do something to prevent an onslaught of sugar into your system. Limit your intake of fruit juices to 4 to 6 ounces a day to avoid the sugar that can do so much damage to the human body.