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Heart of the Matter- Can I eat too much fruit?
At the Irish Heart Foundation, we aim to provide accurate and evidence-based information on heart health to help you make informed decisions about your health. One of the questions we get asked a lot is can you eat too much fruit?
We all know how important it is to eat a healthy diet to ensure a healthy heart.
What you eat can either protect you or increase your chances of developing heart disease or having a stroke. A healthy diet can stop you gaining weight, reduce high blood pressure and help lower your cholesterol levels. Even if you already have a heart condition, a healthy diet can benefit your heart.
A healthy diet includes the recommended five to seven portions of fruit and vegetables every day. But is it possible to eat too much fruit?
"Most people in Ireland are not meeting the recommendations and eating enough fruit and vegetables,"
According to expert dietitian with the Irish Heart Foundation Sarah Noone, it is possible to have too much of anything, even healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.
However, she said most people in Ireland are not meeting the recommendations and eating enough fruit and vegetables so should not be cutting back.
“Salads, vegetables and fruit make up the largest proportion of our diets. There’s no specific advice on how the 5-7 a day should be split between salads, vegetables and fruit, but it’s best to have variety.”
Sarah explained that whole fruits like apples, bananas, pears etc contain natural sugars, that are protected inside each cell of the fruit and therefore not as easily accessed as added sugars (found in in fizzy drinks, cakes, sweets, and biscuits) the type of sugar we all need to cut down on.
"When health care professionals recommend you reduce your sugar intake, they are referring to 'added sugars' and not sugars that are naturally found in fruit,"
“Added sugars provide empty calories (calories and no other nutrients) which can contribute to unwanted weight gain while fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and fills you up on relatively little calories. “
“Therefore, when health care professionals recommend you reduce your sugar intake, they are referring to ‘added sugars’ and not sugars that are naturally found in fruit.”
However, Sarah added that fruit juice was the exception.
“Although it can be a way to get in a serving of your 5-7 a day, portion size is key, and it should be kept to a small 150ml glass per day. The juicing process releases sugars from the cells of the fruit and therefore it is a more concentrated form of fruit sugar compared to that found in a whole fruit,” she explained.
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