I'm trying to replace much of the junk food/sugar I eat in a day with fruit instead. How much fruit should I eat to avoid going on a blood sugar roller coaster ride?

That is a fantastic substitution! Foods high in added sugar (or “junk food”) can raise your blood sugar level and increase total body inflammation, which may depress your immune system. By slowly reducing its intake you will improve your overall health. Replacing foods full of added sugar with fruit is a great way to improve the total health of your diet. Fruit is naturally filled with vitamins and minerals and can add a healthy dose of disease fighting antioxidants. But it is important to mention that too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing. Fruit still contains (natural) sugar. Consuming more fruit than you need may lead you to consume excess calories, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.

It is recommended that we consume ~5-7 (or more) servings of vegetables and fruits every day. But the recommendations would be that you consume far more vegetables than fruits. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, women should consume anywhere from 1.5-2 cups of fruit a day, while men should consume ~2 cups of fruit per day. You may be wondering what one cup of fruit looks like? I have my patients picture a measuring cup and then fill it with sliced bananas, melon balls, pineapple chunks etc. It also would = 1 small apple, around 32 seedless grapes, 8 large strawberries or three small plums. Dried fruit could also be a healthy addition to your diet and take the place of sugary snacks. Keep in mind that ½ cup of dried fruit = 1 cup of whole fruit.

100% fruit juice would also count for one serving of fruit. It also provides phytochemicals and disease fighting antioxidants to the diet. However, I generally recommend that my patients try to limit their intake to ~1 cup per day. Liquid calories tend to add up much faster than calories from the whole fruit, so I urge my patients to drink with caution. Take, for example, a whole apple vs. a glass of apple juice. Both can have around the same amount of calories but generally eating the apple takes longer, increases metabolism through the digestive process, and helps people feel fuller longer, causing them to consume less throughout the day. The juice may taste good but it doesn’t take long to consume and usually breaks down very quickly in our system, which doesn’t leave people feeling satisfied. As with most things, moderation is the key!

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