Can you eat too much fruit?
I eat a lot of fruit, especially in the summer. Is it possible to eat too much fruit?
Senior dietitian Victoria Taylor says:
According to the Eatwell Guide (the official government recommendations for a healthy diet), about 40 per cent of the food we eat should be fruits and vegetables and we should aim for at least five portions a day. It’s best to have a variety, but there’s no specific advice on how the five should be split between fruit and vegetables.
It’s possible to have too much of anything, even healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. But as around three-quarters of us don’t meet the 5-a-day recommendation, most of us shouldn’t cut back on fruit or veg.
Whole fruits generally contain less sugar than foods like cake, biscuits and chocolate, and come without the added fat. Because of their water and fibre content they will fill you up for relatively few calories. A medium banana, for example, contains less sugar than a standard 50g bar of milk chocolate and half the calories, making fruit a good swap for sweet treats.
Is fruit juice as good for you as whole fruit?
Fruit juice is the exception – stick to one 150ml portion a day. Fruit juice is high in sugars and comes without the other benefits you get from eating a piece of fruit.
Fruit juice is high in sugars and comes without the other benefits you get from a piece of fruit
The juicing process releases sugars from the cells of the fruit, turning them into free sugars – the type we all need to cut down on. And because it’s much easier to drink a glass of juice, which might contain several fruits, than to eat the equivalent in whole fruits, you consume a greater amount of sugar too.
If you have diabetes and your blood sugar levels are too high, rather than immediately cutting out fruit, check your portion sizes, spread your intake out over the day and look at where else sugar might be coming from in your diet. You can also talk to your diabetes specialist nurse or dietitian if you have any concerns.
Meet the expert
Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with more than ten years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. At the BHF she advises on diet and nutrition.