How much fruit should you eat a day
Two pieces of fruit a day: you undoubtedly know the advice. Yet many people fail to adhere to that guideline! Not only because they eat too little fruit, but sometimes also because they have too much fruit on the menu. Both options can cause problems… In short, how do you make sure you find the golden mean? How much fruit should you eat a day? In this blog, we will explain it to you!
Is fruit healthy?
Most people have always been taught that fruits are healthy. Yet in recent years it has also been claimed that fruit is not that good for you at all. For example, it could contain too many sugars and could therefore be a fatter.
So what about that exactly? Is fruit healthy, and if so, how healthy exactly?
Let’s start with the benefits. Fruit contains a lot of healthy substances that are very important for your body to function properly. The main four categories are:
- Vitamins. Fruit is particularly rich in vitamin C, but other vitamins are also present in large quantities. Fruit is therefore essential to maintain your resistance and to keep your metabolism in good condition.
- Minerals. Different fruits are rich in different minerals. For example, there is a lot of potassium in bananas and you get a lot of folic acid from strawberries.
- Fiber. Plant products are full of fiber, and fruit is no exception. This has all kinds of advantages: fiber ensures more satiety, healthier intestines and less risk of diabetes.
- Phytonutrients. Plants contain all kinds of additives that can provide enormous health benefits. This applies even in very small quantities. Fruit, like other plant foods, is rich in these types of substances, including flavonoids and polyphenols.
Is fruit fattening?
But what about those stories about fruit as a fattener? These are usually based on the amount of sugar in fruit. But is that really such a big problem?
Sugar in fruit
There are indeed quite a few sugars in fruit: especially fructose, also called fruit sugar. And it is true that fructose, like glucose, is a fast sugar. In most cases, we advise against eating a lot of fast sugars.
Still, fruit isn’t a fast sugar like any other. This is mainly due to the amount of fiber that you also get with it, because it actually inhibits the absorption of the fructose! This means that a handful of strawberries does not have to cause huge sugar spikes, as is the case for example when you eat a handful of candy.
Lose weight with fruit
So you really don’t have to be afraid to eat fruit if you want to lose weight. The sugars are not a problem, especially when you compare them to the many benefits that fruit brings. In addition, fruit is also quite slim when you consider the number of calories.
Most fruits easily stay below 100 kcal each. For example, a banana provides only 90 kcal, a pear or apple 80 kcal. Even with two pieces of fruit a day you will not quickly hit the 200 kcal. There is little chance that you would suddenly end up with a calorie surplus …
Moreover, fruit saturates relatively well, thanks to the aforementioned fibers. Fruit can therefore also help prevent you from reaching for unhealthier and less lean snacks when you have a hunger. The right amount of fruit per day also provides all kinds of much-needed nutrients, which prevent you from getting hungry due to deficiencies.
How much fruit should you eat a day?
But how much fruit per day is that ideal amount? The official advice of the Nutrition Center is therefore two pieces per day. A little more is certainly not a problem: three pieces of fruit a day is also just healthy.
But do you eat more fruit? Then you have to watch out. Too much fruit is not healthy for you …
Too much fructose
This is primarily due to fructose. Fruit sugar is more difficult for your body to process than glucose, because it first has to be converted into glucose. Fortunately, this is not a problem in small quantities.
But do you really eat a lot of fruit? Then that fructose can cause annoying complaints. For example, many people suffer from stomach pain or bloating. Diarrhea is also a common complaint with too much fruit.
Fruit and your tooth enamel
Another problem is the acidity in fruit. In small quantities, that is not a problem either: the acid will affect your tooth enamel a bit, but it will recover automatically. But are you eating too much fruit? Then your tooth enamel will not have time to recover in between. And as a result, the damage is getting worse.
If you regularly have dental problems, the first thing you should do is cut down on sugar. It is best to start with unhealthy sugars, such as cookies and candy. But if you now eat a lot of fruit, it can also help to reduce it slightly.
How much is two pieces of fruit a day?
All the more reason not to eat too much fruit! How do you avoid crossing that line? In other words: how much fruit is exactly two pieces of fruit per day?
In principle, the Nutrition Center assumes 100 grams of fruit per ‘piece’. So an apple, a banana or a pear simply counts as one piece of fruit. But one strawberry or blueberry of course does not work … In that case, you choose a hand of about 100 grams.
Likewise, a mango or a melon is too big to count as one piece. In that case, half a mango or a wedge of melon counts as one piece.
Instead of two pieces of fruit per day, you can also just aim for 200 grams of fruit per day. Then you can also alternate between the different types, which is only healthier.
Note: fresh fruit!
A final warning: with those 200 grams of fruit, 200 grams of fruit is assumed. Some people assume that all types of processed fruit are just as healthy. Unfortunately, that is not the case …
It is best to avoid fruit juice, syrups and other liquid forms of fruit altogether. They contain only the sugars from fruit, and practically no vitamins, minerals or fiber. So you only get the unhealthy ingredients with it …
Dried fruit is healthy. But you also have to watch out here! Dried fruit is much more concentrated than fresh fruit. One dried apricot contains just as many nutrients as a fresh apricot, but it is much smaller.
The advantage is that you get a lot of nutrients so quickly. The disadvantage is that you also quickly eat a lot of sugar! Because a handful of dried apricots is a good portion of fructose… You don’t have to avoid dried fruit, but make sure you eat it in moderation. This way you prevent that you still get too much fruit sugars.