Can you eat too much fruit in a day?

Written by wilhelm schnotz
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Can you eat too much fruit in a day?
You really can have too much of a good thing with fruit. (B2M Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You've probably heard doctors and dietitians urge everyone to eat more fruit while singing the praises of adequate fruit in your diet. Although eating fruit certainly is important, overdoing it can have ill health effects. You can get too much of a good thing, and if you eat primarily fruits, you'll suffer shortcomings elsewhere.

Professional recommendations

A balanced diet as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls for men to consume 32 tablespoons (2 cups) and women to eat 24 tablespoons (1 1/2 cups) of fruit each day. Estimate one cup to be equivalent to half a large apple, a banana, a peach, a serving of fruit cocktail or an orange. Because its volume decreases during the dehydration process, a half-cup of dried fruit is equivalent to a cup of whole fruit, while a serving of 100 percent fruit juice also counts as one serving.

A balanced diet

Although fruits provide some fibre, they're primarily a source of carbohydrates. The USDA recommends you eat between 45 and 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, while 10 to 15 percent of your calories should come from protein and the remainder should be fat calories. If you eat too many servings of fruit in a day while holding your caloric consumption steady, you'll replace proteins and fats, which aren't present in most fruits, with carbohydrates, effectively unbalancing your diet.

Missing nutrients

In addition to lacking protein and fats, a diet that relies heavily on fruit may not contribute enough nutrients associated with animal sources of food such as meat and dairy. If you eat too much fruit, you may not receive enough vitamin A, B-12 and D. If you're sacrificing protein consumption for increased servings of fruit, you may lack the amino acids necessary for your body to build muscle or repair tissue that naturally degenerates.

Excess calories

Eating too much of any kind of food will lead to weight gain if you consume more calories than your body needs in a day. Although fruit doesn't boast the same calorie density as many snack foods, nibbling fruit throughout the day still increases your caloric consumption. If you eat fruit to excess, you'll suffer the same belly bulge as someone who eats too much candy; in the end, calories are calories, regardless of their source.

Weight loss

Eating too much fruit may also stall out your weight loss plans. Many dieters switch to fruits as a snack but don’t calculate their caloric values. If you're on a diet, limit your consumption of fruit to three small servings a day in order to keep your calorie count in line and break through weight-loss plateaus.

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