How Much Fruit is Too Much of a Good Thing?
Fruit has sugar and it’s common sense that too much sugar is not good. So it’s logical to conclude that too much fruit is not good for you. In fact, some doctors suggest that fruit should be limited to 2-3 servings a day and warn that eating more than that can raise triglycerides and cause liver damage, due to the fructose.
But does that conclusion actually hold up? Actually, it doesn’t. All sugars are not created equal. The fructose in whole fruits comes along with a whole package of nutrients such as fiber and vitamins. The body processes the sugar in whole fruit very differently than the sugar in, say, high fructose corn syrup or table sugar.
In this video, Dr. Michael Greger, physician and New York Times bestselling author, reviews studies about the effects of fruit.
One particularly noteworthy finding comes from his review of a study done with patients with Type 2 diabetes. One group was told to restrict their fruit intake to two servings a day. The other group was told to eat a minimum of two servings of fruit a day.
After reviewing the findings, he concludes that, “the intake of fruit should not be restricted in patients with Type 2 diabetes.” In fact, he further suggests that a piece of fruit with a meal might actually help people with diabetes control their blood sugar.
Later in the video, Dr. Greger quotes a study in which subjects ate 20 pieces of fruit a day, significantly more than a normal amount of fruit consumption. After three to six months of this fruit-heavy diet, the study found no adverse effects on the subjects. A similar study actually found that subjects’ LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) dropped significantly in just a few weeks on a fruit -heavy diet.
The problem with sugar is when it is extracted from its source and then added back to foods in a concentrated amount. “As far as I can tell, the best available science says that the more fruit the better,” concludes Dr. Greger.