Too much of a good thing could be bad for your health

Too much fruit could be troublesome

Many of us believe that fruit can only be healthy and so make an effort to boost our intake. However, it seems some people are actually eating too much fruit, leading to health problems such as obesity.

There's no denying fruit's health benefits – it's packed with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants, which protect against disease.

It's considered so beneficial that the five-a-day guideline is a minimum recommendation for the amount of fruit and vegetables we should eat.

But while it is fine to exceed this amount if you are a healthy weight, if you are overweight or suffer from high cholesterol or diabetes, too much fruit could be troublesome. The fact remains that anything done to excess, even eating healthy foods like fruit, can lead to undesirable consequences.

As with any food, no matter how healthy it is, eating too much fruit can lead to weight gain.  Although it is a healthy food with a vast array of nutritional benefits, fruit still contains calories.  If you eat more calories than you burn with exercise, you are likely to gain weight, so even if the calories are coming from healthy, nutritious sources such as fruit, they can still contribute to weight gain.

Some fruits are higher in calories than others and so can contribute more to weight gain, for example, bananas, which are higher in carbohydrate contain around 100 calories, whilst berries are amongst the lowest in calories.  A cup of strawberries for example contains about 40 calories.

Lifestyle diseases

Although a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of a number of lifestyle diseases, particularly in the context of a healthy overall diet, there are some medical conditions where fruit intake needs to be monitored.

Dried fruit is much more concentrated in calories than fresh fruit, due to the removal of the water content, and it is also very easy to eat in large quantities.  For these reasons it is advisable to keep intake to a minimum if you are watching you weight, although it does still contain all the nutrients and fibre of fresh fruit.

Fruit juice is another area to watch in terms of weight gain. Although they contain most of the sugar found in the fruits they are made from, many fruit juices also have added sugar and do not contain the fibre that is found in fresh fruit. So it is always a better choice, in terms of weight management and health benefits, to choose the whole piece of fruit rather than the juice.

Although fruit may contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess, there is no doubt that it is a valuable contribution to a healthy diet and a much better alternative to other potential dietary choices. Make no mistake about it: Fruits are still infinitely preferable to junk foods such as crisps and chocolate!