With the rise in popularity of low carbohydrate diets and studies showing excessive fructose consumption can have negative effects on the body, many have become confused about whether or not fruit is a healthy choice to consume on a regular basis. So, we’d like to clarify a few things.
Since fruit does contain fructose, some worry that including these foods will lead to fat gain and other health issues. However, a meta-analysis through the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that about 25-40 grams of fructose per day is safe. In order to exceed this amount of fructose through fruit alone, you would have to consume somewhere between 3-5 medium apples, 5-8 cups of blueberries, or 5-8 bananas daily, which should sound like an unreasonable amount of fruit to have in one day.
While it is important to identify how certain nutrients interact with the body, things are often taken out of context. With every serving of berries, melons, apples, and other fruits comes along fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as other phytochemicals that promote health and well-being. Fruit should not be the concern when we are trying to avoid excessive amounts of fructose sugars. Processed foods and beverages like sodas sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup should be avoided as they can contain 30 grams or more of fructose in just one can.
Back to the claim that fructose will lead to fat gain. Research shows that fructose is not a “fattening” carbohydrate. No one type of food can be the cause of long-term fat gain. However, consistently exceeding how many calories you require daily is what causes the accumulation of fat over time. We should be striving to eat a well-balanced combination of foods and no one thing in excess!
If you enjoyed this post and would like to know more about how carbohydrates and other nutrients affect your body and performance, contact our Registered Dietitian Eddie Fitzgerald at Eddie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Eddie Fitzgerald, Performance Dietitian, RD, LDN