Barry White is famous for once singing, “Too much of anything is not good for you baby”. But do these lyrics hold true to something as innocent, nutritious and delicious as the fruit in our fruit bowl? Let’s find out.
The Facts About Fruit
According to Australia’s National Health & Medical Research Council, most Australians actually only eat half the recommended quantity of fruit. In contrast, we drink far too much fruit juice, known to be high in energy (kilojoules) and low in dietary fibre, with many Aussies thinking that this is an adequate substitution for whole fruit.
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Fruit, Fabulous Fruit!
Fruit is an amazing parcel of key nutrients including phytonutrients, antioxidants, prebiotic fibres, vitamins and minerals, all which work together to increase your overall health. Like all whole foods, these nutrients are delivered in a packaged that a vitamin tablet simply can’t replicate.
Fruit provides us with a great portable snack which can help tame even the sweetest of sweet tooths and provide quick fuel to get us through a workout, help us recover from a hard exercise session, and keep our brains firing until we reach our next meal. Try our 12WBT French Toast with Banana, Berries & Maple Syrup recipe.
You Can Eat Too Much Fruit
Too much of any food can provide a surplus of calories, and fruit, unfortunately, is no exception. Most fruits provide a nice dose of carbohydrates in the form of fruit sugars (predominantly fructose and glucose). When eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, this energy is perfect to get us fueled for the days ahead. However, if eaten above our daily calorie requirements, fruit can contribute to any unwanted weight gain, and for those with intolerances or sensitivities certain fruits (or simply by eating too much fruit) can lead to gastric and other discomfort.
How Much Fruit is Enough?
Finding the ‘juicy’ sweet spot is important for overall nutrition balance, BUT we need to keep in mind our energy requirements and our food intake for a whole day.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest that whole fresh fruits are the best choice for your fruit servings, and from the age of nine it is recommended to have at least two serves a day of fruit. And it doesn’t have to be a piece of fruit – try a delicious recipe like our 12WBT Breakfast Crumble with Cinnamon Yoghurt. As long as you are meeting the minimum requirements for all the food groups, additional fruit should correspond to your fuel needs, which are based on your height, ideal weight, sex, age, and physical activity level.
It is important to note that it is very easy to overeat dried fruit and fruit juices – both of which can increase the risk of tooth cavities due to their acidity (juice) and ability to stick to teeth (dried fruit). So keep these in check!
Put Fruit On The Menu!
So there we have it – yes you can have too much fruit, BUT most of us actually don’t have enough. Remember that fruit makes a fabulous mid-meal snack, pre or post workout energy hit and an ‘add in’ to a meal. It provides us satisfying, nutrient rich energy and the amount (above two serves) that we all have to be considered ‘too much’ will vary.
Aim to choose fruit in season and mix up your variety (berries, citrus, tropical, etc.) to not only get fabulous flavour and nutrient hits, but to keep costs down and support the local produce! Find out which fruits are in season.
For more information on food group serves and fruit recommendations, visit Eat For Health.