Ask SK: “Is Fruit Healthy?”
Sarah-Kate (“SK”) is a board certified nurse practitioner licensed in California and a co-founder at The Mindful Tech Lab. Send your questions to AskSK@themindfultechlab.com for the chance to have your questions answered and featured here!
This question comes from Jenna K. from South Carolina. To answer this question simply, yes, fruit is healthy. However, as with everything, consuming too much fruit is when it becomes not so healthy. Fruit has a ton of nutrients and vitamins, but it also contains a good amount of sugar. Too much sugar from any source is toxic to the body, and too much sugar in the body is a risk factor for basically every type of chronic disease including diabetes and obesity.
Reasons to cut back on fruit may include:
- You have pre-diabetes
- You have or had gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy)
- You are overweight
- You have high triglyceride cholesterol
I have had great success with patients of mine who cut back on their fruit intake to, or the type of fruit they were eating, to control their weight and blood sugar.
Below lists tips to remember when eating fruit:
Limit tropical fruits
Tropical fruits are the highest in sugar and the lowest in fiber. These include pineapple, mango, and bananas. Limit these fruits to 1/2 cup serving.
No dried fruit
Unless there is zero added sugar, just say no to dried fruit. It almost always has a ton of sugar added to it, and because it is processed it will be lower in nutrients and fiber.
I don’t know how raisins were thought to be a health food, because they definitely are not! Go for a handful of fresh grapes instead.
Go for berries
Berries have the highest amount of fiber and least amount of sugar, meaning they will keep you fuller longer and won’t spike your blood sugar. The lowest sugar and highest fiber berries include raspberries and blackberries. Again, limit your serving to 1/2 to 1 cup serving.
FYI: Raspberries have about 9 grams of fiber in 1 cup!
Go for the smoothie, skip the juice
Fruit juice has very little nutritional value because almost all of the nutrients come from the whole fruit itself. This goes for “healthy” juices as well that you see advertised as cleanses. Instead go for a smoothie if you really want to sip on something, at least a smoothie has the whole fruit blended in.
Yes fruit is healthy, but stick to small servings at a time if you tend to have a higher blood sugar level and/or you are overweight.
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy-league trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab
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