Health Tips How much fruit is it safe to eat per week?

The number might surprise you.

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fruits and vegetables play

fruits and vegetables

(Photograph by Ja Ma)
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You’ve probably heard at some point that there’s a lot of sugar in fruit. And, knowing that sugar isn’t great for you, it’s natural to wonder about how the sugar in fruit, which is primarily fructose, is impacting your overall health.

Some diets even restrict eating fruit or forbid it entirely—so should you limit how much fruit you eat?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’s generally suggested that most adult women should get roughly one and a half to two cups of fruit a day—a total of about 14 cups per week.

But unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing, including fruit.

The sugar in fruit is definitely something to be mindful of, says Julie Upton, R.D., co-founder of nutrition website Appetite for Health.

However, she points out, the fiber that you also get from fruit slows down the digestion and absorption of the sugar, so you don’t get the same blood sugar spike and drop as you would if you ate a piece of candy.

Plus, Upton says, the type of sugar that’s truly problematic is added sugar (i.e. sugars that are added to foods), not naturally-occurring sugar, which is found in vegetables, fruit, and dairy foods.

However, OD-ing on fruit can cause bloating and gas for some people thanks to fructose, says registered dietitian Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Basically, if your body can't digest fructose and other short-chain carbohydrates properly, eating too much of it can lead to bloating and cramping. Not fun.)

But there's one thing you really shouldn’t stress about: gaining weight from fruit. While eating too much of it will add extra calories to your overall diet, it’s unlikely that it will have a big impact on your waistline. “I have never met a client in more than 15 years of counseling that gained weight by eating too much fruit,” Upton says.

And, of course, let's not forget that fruit is also a health food with lots of benefits. “As part of a healthy diet, the nutrients in fruits and vegetables have been shown to decrease risk for certain diseases like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers,” Angelone says.

Angelone points out that most people don’t eat enough fruit on the regular, so eating "too much" is probably not something you should be super concerned about.

Your best bet is to stick to the recommended two cups a day. But, if you tend to eat a lot of fruit (way more than two cups a day), she recommends opting for ones that are lower in fructose, like berries, pineapples, and oranges. For more options, check out this list of low-sugar fruits.

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