Friday, July 31, 2015

Does Too Much Fruit Make You Fat?

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I will never forget talking to a trainer in the late 90's who warned me of the dangers of fruit. Yes, fruit. He told me that while it was healthy, it was full of a simple sugar called fructose. He stressed I would never get as lean as I wanted to eating it.

This advice seemed counter-intuitive in regards to eating a healthful diet. Fruit is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and is full of fiber.

This was also in the crazy Atkins diet days when dieters were forgoing things like fruit, sweet potatoes and brown rice for bacon, meat and butter. Thankfully, I never got sucked in to that madness.

When my daughter started eating solid foods, her pediatrician warned us against giving her too much fruit because of the sugar content. Again, this makes sense. But it's natural sugar, so that's okay, right? Here's where the confusion lies.

Is too much fruit bad for you?

As a produce-loving fiend, I could live on blueberries, peaches and watermelon year-round. I recognize, though, that too much of anything isn't good. When it comes to eating fruit, it's important to have some balance and pair it with something that doesn't cause a huge blood-sugar spike.

If you get hungry after eating a piece of fruit, that's to be expected. It's full of carbohydrates but low in protein. Eating too much fruit can cause a spike in insulin levels. In turn, the body has a difficult time burning fat when insulin levels are elevated.

Fruit has a greater nutritional value than refined grains and carbohydrates but it's not a substitute, from a nutrient standpoint, for dark leafy greens, cruciferous produce and other colorful vegetables.
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If you live a sedentary lifestyle and are stuck at a desk all-day, you should probably limit your fruit consumption to about two servings per day: a small apple or orange, medium peach or nectarine or a cup of berries. Click HERE to learn more about serving sizes of your favorite fruits. The USDA recommends two cups of fruits per day for people on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. If you are active and exercise 30-60 minutes per day, you can have a bit more.

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Fruit is absolutely part of a healthful diet. I couldn't live without it and had a cup of berries with breakfast this morning. But eating too much of anything will cause you to gain weight or derail your efforts trying to lose or maintain your weight.

What About You? 
Do you have a hard time keeping your fruit consumption in check? Let me know in the comments section. I do at times. I could eat an entire watermelon or container of blueberries. Like this post? Please share it with your friends or pin any of the images in the story on Pinterest.

RELATED: Is there such a thing as "negative calorie foods"? An expert weighs in.

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