Do I Eat Fruit… Should You Eat Fruit?

This is a controversial topic with many people in the “quit sugar” and the “don’t quit sugar” camps – fruit.

Fruit Bowl with cocoa nibs

Who would have thought something so small would have such a huge impact on people deciding whether or not they would like to cut back on the amount of sugar they eat in their diet?! It is mind boggling, really it is.

Do I eat fruit?

Short answer: Yes!

Long Answer: Yes, I eat fruit!

No, really I do eat fruit. I am not a fan of pineapple, I find that it can hurt my teeth, but I love all fruit.  While I was first doing the 8-week plan I did initially cut fruit out of my diet for 2 weeks. At the time, I wasn’t a really big fruit eater anyway so it really didn’t make much of an impact to my life. So I didn’t have an apple or banana every now and then, big deal. It was only when I had failed that round of quitting sugar, was back in my old habits again and that I wanted to really give quitting a go. I began to follow the plan again and went ahead and quit all fruit. I did it for two weeks and then I had some banana. I didn’t feel bad that  I didn’t make it the whole time that is recommended; I just did what I could. I felt more in control the second time through that I had made more changes and that the food swaps were beginning to stick and that I was addressing my eating habits. So the cutting back on fruit for the full 8 weeks just wasn’t a big deal for me.

Why I eat fruit

I eat fruit because it is delicious! I however do not drink fruit juice; that is my non-negotiable. If someone offers me a glass of orange juice, I will always decline. If someone offers me half an orange to eat, then I will eat it and happily!

The whole fruit includes the fibre of the flesh and also the naturally occurring fruit sugar. I feel better for it and I don’t see the point in wasting my time to drink fruit juice. I also don’t really like fruit juice mixes either; but that is my own personal preference.

People have a million opinions on fruit – what Sarah Wilson recommends is to go for lower fructose fruit such as berries, kiwi fruit, grapefruit etc. She also recommends moderating the amount of fruit you eat per day – maybe don’t have 5 pieces of fruit per day and have just one? See it just seems like a simple thing and nothing to get all crazy about.

Now What Should I do?

That is easiest answer of all – make your own mind up! You decide for yourself what you want to put in your mouth and if that includes apples, berries, oranges and bananas, then do it. If you are allergic to fruit sugars then you would be best avoiding the fruits that set your allergies off.

If you are looking to reset your taste buds, give yourself a couple of weeks without (or as long as you feel good and your body is working properly) fruit and then introduce smaller amounts and a wider range of lower fructose fruits. I think you will notice a difference in your mind and body.

What do you think – let me know if you are anti-fruit, love fruit, scared to not eat fruit or can’t fathom not eating 10 pieces of fruit a day!
I Quit Sugar for Life - PRINT
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Comments

  1. Hi Kate,

    I eat SO much fruit, breakfast is a fruit smoothie usually, or fruit with yoghurt. after work out snack is usually an apple, i’ll graze on it throughout the day and I always have an orange for supper. I don’t know if I’ll physically be able to cut it out of my diet completely as it’s such a staple food! I want to cut out sugar, but would it be okay to maybe have 2 pieces a day?

    • Hi Megan,

      Cutting back on fruit is part of the quit sugar guide, but if you want to eat fruit, try substituting it for lower sugar fruit such as blueberries and kiwi fruit. Skip the apples, oranges and bananas.

      If you follow Sarah’s guide, you do have to quit fruit for the duration of the plan but then she says you can introduce lower fructose fruits back in once you have finished the plan. It really is about moderation and seeing how you feel without it.

      It sounds like you looove your fruit, so why not try the substitute for lower fructose fruits. Maybe focus on other parts of quitting sugar than this one, such as no additional sugar to your meals, or no sugary drinks and start there. Build up to reducing your fruit intake and give it a go. If you hate it, introduce a few pieces back in.

      I still eat fruit. I like blueberries in my oatmeal and I enjoy banana every now and again, oh and I never pass up a slice of watermelon either! YUM!

  2. Our cells run on glucose. We need the sugars in fruit for most of our calorie intake. I understand cutting out processed sugars, but fruit will NOT make you fat! You never hear of people getting fat from eating to many apples… You will hear about people getting fat from dairy and and other animal products. Fruit digests faster than any other food you can eat so it’s not sitting in your body, your body uses it right away. I am a vegan and I live off of fruit. I would say 90% of my daily food is fruit, and I eat a lot of food, around 3000 calories a day for a girl. I am skinny (115lbs) and almost all of my calories come from sugar. It’s not just my body if you would like to hear more about a vegan plant based lifestyle look up Freelee the Banana girl on YouTube. She is such an inspiration!

    • Hi Abby,
      I agree that fruit will not make you fat and I certainly don’t state that eating fruit makes you fat. I think that people who are struggling to get their sugar intake under control have found that reducing the amount of high fructose fruit has helped them in other areas of their eating. I certainly feel that when I reduced the amount of fruit I was eating, I noticed that I craved less sugar and therefore ate less sugary foods.
      I still eat fruit, but I don’t only eat fruit. I love vegetables too! I also eat cheese too and other lean meats.

      I love to hear more from vegans who eat a lot of fruit and how they cope with other foods in their diet. By the sounds of it, you eat very healthy with a lot of fruit and vegetables and I am sure you monitor your protein and nutrition levels so there is a lot to learn from those kind of diets too.

      thanks for getting in touch!

    • Hi Abby, I myself adore fruit!! I am an athletic nutritionist and found when I gave up fruit ( I eat maybe 1 low GI fruit every week) that my fat % went down. This is because of hormones, and fat receptars in the body. Certain hormones cause fat retention in certain areas of the body. Cortisol in the tummy, estrogen in the hips, and thighs, and insulin being raised from Fructose, sucrose, glucose are stored in the back under arm fat. I’m not saying that everyone should give up fruit, or that fat storage is only caused by sugar. But sugar can make you fat, and guess what…fruit. is sugar!

  3. Here is a handy guide on fructose in fruit!

    http://www.reducetriglycerides.com/reader_triglycerides_low_fructose_fruit.htm
    “Fructose, also known as fruit sugar (levulose) is a simple sugar twice as sweet as sucrose (table sugar). Contrary to previous claims for its superiority over glucose (blood sugar), it does not play essential part in human nutrition. Although naturally present in fruits, fructose is also available in the form of crystals as a table sugar substitute. It is also sold commercially as high-fructose corn syrup which can contain up to 55 percent sucrose.”

  4. Hi Kate

    I’m in week 3 of Sarah’s IQS program, and can completely identify with the fruit dilemma. Since deciding to drastically change my sugar habits in this way, I’ve copped a lot of criticism from family and friends about quitting fruit – even for a few weeks! The most common catch cry is “but fruit is good for you. Quitting fruit can’t be good for your body!”

    Obviously I explain Sarah’s ‘getting back to blank slate’ theory, but they’re not convinced.

    Any advice on how to deal with criticisms and stand your ground, while listening to their opinions and not being ‘preachy’?

    I’ve also found that while I’ve mostly been able to resist sugar (with a few crazy craving days – see days 9 and 13/14 of my blog!) and adapt to this low-sugar lifestyle, I have found that so far the program has triggered my existing anxiety.

    When I’m anxious about other big life decisions (which I am at the moment), I can tend to get a bit anxious about shopping trips, particularly when I need to be finding snack substitutes for fruit or counting how much sugar is in every product.

    I’ve basically decided to limit my fruit intake to just raspberries and blueberries, small serves in breakfast smoothies or with yoghurt, at least for a few weeks (like a mini-recalibration). It’s for my sanity mostly, because I don’t want to take the program so seriously that I get severe anxiety again. I know that Sarah wouldn’t condone that, after all, her mantra is “be gentle and kind”.

    What do you think?

    • I think you are going about it the right way. If you are anxious heading to the shops to buy groceries, then that is a huge barrier to helping make the changes in your life that you want. I think you should stick with the fruit if you are finding it hard to go “completely” sugar free.

      If you stick with a few fruits even in the weeks that are meant to be “no fruit”, then honestly you will be fine. You will STILL have made huge changes to your diet, you will know how sweet food tastes without adding sugar and you will have done a very hard thing. I think you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff if your overall lifestyle change is going to be maintainable for the long term.

      As for friends and family, well they have their opinions but for you, you want to try this out and you hope they accept it. You are by no means forcing your views onto them, so explain that you are re-calibrating your body and dealing with the amount of sugar in your diet. Just say that you would love their encouragement and support – it is only for a few weeks!

      I love your blog!!! I read some of your posts – you have a lot of good stories about how hard it is to quit sugar and how different people deal with different situations.
      So if you are reading this comment – check out Grace’s blog: http://quitsugarforgood.wordpress.com.

  5. Hi Kate
    I quit sugar 5 weeks ago and it is not actually as difficult as I thought it would be.
    However I tend to consume about 4-6 portions of fruit a day, mainly apples and oranges.
    Is this bad? Should I be eating less fruit? I am worried, as people have said that fructose is just as bad as sucrose…
    Thanks,
    Kitty

    • Hi Kitty,

      Congratulations on going through the Quit Sugar guide!! For some people the change is easy but for others it can be a struggle so good work on giving it your all!

      As you know with the guide, Sarah recommends removing ALL fruit for the first 6 weeks to give your body a chance to break the sugar addiction. After that time has elapsed, you can start introducing the low fructose fruit back into your diet in moderation.
      It is recommended to stick with higher fibre and lower fructose fruits such as berries. Apples are known to be higher in fructose as well as bananas.

      David Gillespie of “Sweet Poison” has said

      “David Gillespie: There’s no need to eat it. If you want to eat it, then treat it like what it is, which is nature’s dessert. So, you know, rare. You could have up to two whole pieces of fruit a day if you wanted to. Personally, I don’t eat any unless it’s offered to me. I don’t go out of my way to consume it. There’s nothing you can get in fruit that you can’t get in an equivalent vegetable without a whole lot less fructose.
      But that being said, if you really like fruit, there’s no reason to not eat it. And if you’re going to eat fruit, then I’d veer toward things that are higher in fiber and lower in fructose such as all of the berries: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries. They’re all great choices and I’d steer away from things which are high in fructose and low in fiber like the three most popular fruits on sale in Australia today, which are: apples, bananas, and grapes.”

      So my stand on fruit, is eat it and be happy but do it in moderation.

  6. As a registered dietician I can’t help but be rather concerned about this. I have had many clients coming to me raving ‘I haven’t eaten fruit in four weeks!’ What is the first thing I do? Put them right back on the fruit! Splitting any food into ‘good and bad’ is dangerous but splitting fruits into ‘good and bad’? Really? When we have a population who are struggling to get in the adequate servings of fruit and vegetables it seems a little ludicrous. Fruits contain essential vitamins and minerals and your body needs these stores to get adequate nutrition. No I don’t think you should be eating ten pieces of fruit a day but the australian guide to healthy eating advocates fruit based on years of research and evidence. I understand many people reccomend keeping a way from fruits such as bananas due to their fructose content but a banana is a whole food. Is it really better to eat a coconut oil rice malt syrup can’t-believe-it’s-not-brownie than a banana? I am seeing more and more clients coming in malnourished and depleted in blood stores and in the worst cases, with severe eating disorders from this constant division of food. I do not mean to offend anyone but in my experience in my practice I am finding it quite worrying that many people are getting problems from taking the advice of lawyers whose job it is to make a convincing case than dieticians.

    • Hi Sophie,

      I don’t think people should be so concerned about eating fruit – but with all things – they could do this in moderation. What is moderation for one person is different for another person.

      Sarah Wilson, who is the author of the books that I show on this site, does advocate cutting back on eating fruit for 6 weeks during her Quit Sugar Program.

      I only endorse cutting back on fruit during the time you do the quit sugar program IF YOU REALLY WANT TO. And really, if you don’t want to cut back on fruit then I don’t think it really affects the program overall.

      What I learned from doing the program and I did cut my fruit eating for a week or so, was to realise how sweet things are. But once that was over, I went back to eating fruit in moderation and by being more selective over when I would eat fruit (oatmeal and mixed berries for breakfast!!!! YUM!) instead of just constantly grazing on fruit all day long.

      I eat fruit and I love it!

  7. Ashley Anna says:

    Hi Kate,

    Love your post! I’ve just started to limit my sugar intake – day 3!

    I went from being a vegan, to eating fruits galore – it was my staple. I ate fruit all day until dinner time then I’d have a vegan meal of veggies and carbs. And then more fruit if I chose.
    It was fantastic at first, I maintained my weight and lost more. I was extremely skinny 46 kilos. But after a while of this diet I found it difficult. I was always hungry, my energy was very up and down. When I was up I was really up and when I was down I was really down. I felt I was always searching for something.
    I then introduced fish back into my diet as I was training a lot at the gym and wanted to put on some muscle. From there I introduced lean meat.
    I still was consuming so much fruit and still up and down. I was also always getting bloated and bad indigestion. I tried cutting out many different things, tried paleo etc. I just found that I was still up and down. Paleo made my ingestion a bit better but I still felt sluggish.

    I realized that my body was actually addicted to sugar. Now this is only fruit sugar but I agree this should be eaten in moderation. I was literally having 10 dates at once plus a banana and watermelon and whatever else I felt like.
    Im assuming my body was relying on the energy hit from sugar and I was constantly eating it and crashing. Which is why I’ve decided to test out the no sugar. And slowly re introduce it in my diet as a reward here and there.

    I’m still only on day 3 but I already feel like my energy is on a consistent pattern. This is great!! I have the same energy in the morning as I do in the evening. I generally would be so exhausted come 7pm. im hoping I’m on the right tracks!

  8. Your comment is awaiting moderation…

    Hi Kate,

    Love your post! I’ve just started to limit my sugar intake – day 3!

    I went from being a vegan – eating fruits galore – it was my staple. I ate fruit all day until dinner time then I’d have a vegan meal of veggies and carbs. And then more fruit if I chose.
    It was fantastic at first, I maintained my weight and lost more. I was extremely skinny 46 kilos. But after a while of this diet I found it difficult. I was always hungry, my energy was very up and down. When I was up I was really up and when I was down I was really down. I felt I was always searching for something.
    I then introduced fish back into my diet as I was training a lot at the gym and wanted to put on some muscle. From there I introduced lean meat.
    I still was consuming so much fruit and still up and down. I was also always getting bloated and bad indigestion. I tried cutting out many different things, tried paleo etc. I just found that I was still up and down. Paleo made my ingestion a bit better but I still felt sluggish.

    I realized that my body was actually addicted to sugar. Now this is only fruit sugar but I agree this should be eaten in moderation. I was literally having 10 dates at once plus a banana and watermelon and whatever else I felt like.
    Im assuming my body was relying on the energy hit from sugar and I was constantly eating it and crashing. Which is why I’ve decided to test out the no sugar. And slowly re introduce it in my diet as a reward here and there.

    I’m still only on day 3 but I already feel like my energy is on a consistent pattern. This is great!! I have the same energy in the morning as I do in the evening. I generally would be so exhausted come 7pm. im hoping I’m on the right track!

    • Hi Ashley,

      Sounds like you are on the right track. You are being realistic about your lifestyle and your body and what it needs. Keep it up!

      When I notice that I am feeling terrible and I have “fallen off the wagon” it all comes down to me not watching what I eat and being mindless. I know when I track my food and really look at what I am doing before I eat I make much better decisions! Fruit can always be my backup sweets but then when I get used to it again, I eat a LOT. It goes from a few berries in my oatmeal to waring fruit all day long without a break! Again, it isn’t the fruit that isn’t the biggest problem for me, but the mindless munching out of boredom.

      Keep it up though Ashley and let us know how you get on!!!!

  9. These posts have been so so helpful.

    I am in the middle of Sarahs IQS programme. After 30 years of living on one sugar high to the next I have quit ALL sugar including fruit now for the last week .. Up til a week ago I hadn’t quit fruit
    Ive also drastically limited my carb intake. No grains or legumes and no potato. As suggested.
    However, I am a group fitness instructor, I do anywhere between 2-3 hours of INTENSE exercise a day. Taking my heart rate over 90% of maximal heart rate.
    Consequently I feel horrendous and I am at the point where I can’t stand on my legs and I can’t grip anything. I have no strength no energy and I am completely debilitated.
    My dilemma is, are these normal withdrawals, or have I gone too far and restricted myself too much considering my lifestyle? I don’t want to slip up having come this far. But I cant work or pay my bills so something has gotta give?
    Sarahs book is amazing, but I cant find anywhere advice on what to do if you do hours of intense exercise every day.
    I’m completely stuck? Any clues or ideas as to how to adapt the programme or do I just need to suck it up?
    My training all said that I need carbs, but Sarahs book says you get enough glucose from protein veggies and fat.
    HELP please…

    • Hi Nicole,

      Wow that does not sound good at all. I highly recommend you speak to a nutritionist to help plan a proper food plan for your level of intense exercise. I would also bring back in carbs into your diet to help your body and muscles to fuel themselves properly. The level of fatigue and lack of energy does not sound normal at all. You know this isn’t right – your body is telling you!

      I googled a work out meal plan to see what someone who did intense work outs: http://www.fitnessrxwomen.com/nutrition/workout-meal-planning/
      This person is eating a wide range of carbs such as whole wheat wraps and the like, while also having high protein and fat to help fuel their body.

      I think this is more along the lines of what your body requires, but I would take the leap and speak with a nutritionist who will give you a tailored approach to your lifestyle!

      Please be safe and if you feel worse, see a doctor immediately!!!

  10. I don’t eat fruit…..makes my candida worse…..has done it for years. Candida flares back up……My stomach hurts when I eat sugar, whether it by fruit or complex like granulated. Sugar is bad for me, personally. Everyone is different. If you are like me and have symptoms I suggest avoiding it completely.

  11. aaron levin says:

    Katie I love fruit, but whenever I eat fruit my bowel movements are not the best and the bowel movements are smelly etc, but when I cut out fruit, my bowel movements are great, does this mean a general fruit intolerance?

    • Hi Aaron,

      I am not sure – so I would speak to a medical professional in your town if you are concerned. If you are feeling like fruit is negatively affecting your body, you could cut back until you see your doctor!

  12. I have developed a variety of food allergies over the past few years, which I attribute, partially to age, and rightly or wrongly, to the mess that current farming practices have created in our food sources (e.g. Roundup grown into crops, antibiotics in meat, etc). I don’t think our bodies know what to do with these Frankenfoods, and allergies are the result of the body sensing something is very wrong. But I digress.

    I have always had issues with intestinal yeast and also with very bad mid-afternoon crashes. A friend of mine suggested I cut back or eliminate fruit in my diet, and it has worked wonders in keeping these issues at bay. I get my fruit sugars from items I consider veggies (but are really fruit) such as carrots, beets and avocados, and I still consume lemon and lime juice but these things don’t seem to have enough sugar to upset my system.

    I have to say though that everyone’s body is different so be sure that eating fruit is what your body actually needs. I don’t think we can be prescriptive about this advice one way or the other.

  13. I stopped eating added sugars 2.5 years ago. It changed my life. Once I stopped eating sugar, I allow myself to eat as much fruit as I want. And in fact, when I am craving sugar (yes, even after 2.5 years I still crave sugar sometimes. Much much less but still…) I eat as many dates as I want. In reality, I can’t eat more than 4 or 5 anyway. I eat a huge variety of fruit, different types, different colors. I love fruit. They don’t make me lose control. They are my sweets and they tast better to me than cookies, cake, etc.

  14. I am right now on the program to quit refined sugars. It’s very hard to find foods without any additional sugar added to it, so quitting fruit would severely limit my options. I also analyzed the reason why I prefer raw fruit to raw vegetables, and decided it’s not the sweetness of fruits that attracts me, it is the fact that there juicy. I munch on raw carrots and broccoli and cauliflower a lot, and I cook up a batch of kale and other greens regularly too, but the dryness of vegetable is what makes me prefer a big juicy raw peach or plum or strawberry. And since it is the refined, unnecessary sugars I am trying to eliminate, not the naturally occurring sugars in unprocessed food, I decided to maintain a large dose of fresh fruit in my daily diet.

  15. Jane Camacho says:

    I have suffered from abdominal pain for 3 years. Abdominal migraines is the only diagnosis that has been “slightly” mentioned, but the medical doctors still not sure with that diagnosis.
    I have gone to a holistic counselor and she has taken me off all sugars, even all fruit. After 2 months, I no longer have pain. She says stay off of sugar, EVEN ALL FRUITS, for the rest of my life. She says a vitamin C supplements is enough. My doctors strongly disagree and want me to put fruit back into my diet, saying fruit is a necessary food for a balanced diet, no other reason. I can omit refined sugars, no problem, but I find myself crying at the thought of no fruit for the rest of my life. She says fruit sugars will turn into alcohol in my stomach and start the pain all over again. If fact, she says my stomach has not improved without the sugar. The condition continues to grow. It just is not manifesting itself with pain, since I have removed the sugar. But should I reintroduce the sugar, the pain will come back, and in fact, be to a greater degree, since the stomach condition not only still exists, but has continued to get worse.
    I feel scared to try fruit, in fear she is right, and the pain will be intensified. I was on opiates for the flare ups of pain before. Now if the pain does come back, but worse, I fear going my ambulance “again” for this mystery pain. I say again, because I was calling 911 frequently when pain hit.

    HELP! Can you offer any advice.

  16. Rachel Brown says:

    Hi, I am after any assistance you can give. I am having one last test done with my doctor and naturopath but all signs are leading to me being sucrose intolerant. I am just trying to work out what what foods I can and can’t restrict. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Rachel

  17. Derek Franklin says:

    Just reading through all the messages, very interesting. I have always tried to eat healthy, but my weakness was chocolate and Coca Cola, and a few nights each week I would binge on several bars of chocolates and Cola. I also smoked 30 a day, and you may think i an an obese couch potato! No, I exercise 6 days a week, jogging, swimming and the gym. Earlier this year I gave up smoking, put on 15 kilos in two months but still tried to eat healthy, in fact I eat around 10-12 portions of fruit and veg, mostly fruit each day. Can this do be doing me any harm? I feel great, everyone says i look healthy and i am 52, male
    Merry Chrtistmas and a Happy New Year

    • Hi Derek,

      Congratulations on trying to get your health in order! Quitting smoking is no small task so that alone is quite an achievement!!

      I would say if you are eating plenty of fresh vegetables (moderate the amounts of fruit you eat, focus more on the vegetables) and make sure you are eating a clean healthy wholefood diet, then you should be on the up and up. If you are considered about weight gain, speak with a nutritionist or work with a personal trainer at your gym to make sure you are fueling your body as it should for the works outs you are doing.

      Try tracking your food in a calorie counter every day and keep track of what goes in, then when you speak with a nutritionist you will be armed with all the information you need.

      Changes take time on the body and as you age things take even longer to change. But you are focused on clean living and changing your life so you have the right attitude!

      Happy holidays!
      Kate