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Is fruit good or bad for your health?

Ist Obst gut oder schlecht für Deine Gesundheit?

"Eat more fruit and vegetables." This is probably one of the most widespread health recommendations in the world. Everyone knows that fruit is healthy - fruit is real, whole food. Some even refer to it as "Mother Nature's fast food" because it is so easy to take and prepare anywhere.

However, fruit is also relatively high in sugar compared to other foods. For this reason, many health and fitness-conscious people wonder whether fruit is really that healthy. This article will shed some light on the subject.

Excessive sugar consumption is bad, but the effects of sugar depend on context

There is a lot of scientific evidence that excessive consumption of added sugar is harmful (1, 2, 3). This includes both table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup, which is particularly prevalent in the US. Both of these sugars consist of about half glucose and half fructose.

One reason why excessive consumption of added sugar is harmful is due to the negative metabolic effects of fructose when consumed in large quantities.

Many people believe that if the consumption of added sugar is bad, this must also apply to fruit as it also contains fructose. However, this is a misconception. Fructose is only harmful in large quantities and it is difficult to consume such high amounts exclusively in the form of fruit.

Summary: Scientific research suggests that fructose can be harmful if consumed in excess. However, there is not enough fructose in fruit to warrant concern.

Fruit also contains fiber and water and provides significant chewing resistance

When eating whole fruit, it is almost impossible to consume so much fructose that it could have harmful effects. Fruit contains plenty of fiber and water and also provides significant chewing resistance.

For these reasons, most types of fruit (such as apples) take a while to eat and digest, which means that the fructose they contain is slow to reach the liver. Fruit is also very filling. Most people will be satisfied after eating a large apple, which contains only 23 grams of sugar, of which 13 grams are fructose (4).

In comparison, a 500 ml bottle of cola contains 52 grams of sugar, of which 30 grams are fructose - and has no real nutritional value (5).

A single apple will fill you up quite well and reduce your desire to eat more food. In contrast, a bottle of cola is very poorly satiating, if at all, and people don't usually compensate for the sugar in soft drinks by eating less other food (6).

When fructose reaches the liver quickly and in large quantities, as is the case when you consume sugary soft drinks, this can lead to negative health effects over time.

However, when fructose enters the liver slowly and in small amounts, as is the case when you eat an apple, the body is well adapted to easily metabolize the fructose it receives.

While consuming large amounts of added sugar is harmful for most people, the same is not true for fruit.

Summary: It takes time to chew and digest raw, whole fruit. For this reason, you will feel fuller and your body can cope better with the lower amounts of fructose.

Fruit contains a lot of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

Of course, fruit is more than just a watery bag of fructose. Fruit contains a lot of nutrients that are important for health. This includes fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as a variety of antioxidants and other plant compounds.

Fiber - especially soluble fiber - has many benefits, including reduced cholesterol levels, slower absorption of carbohydrates and increased satiety. Furthermore, studies have shown that soluble fiber can help you lose weight (7, 8, 9, 10).

In addition to this, fruit tends to be rich in vitamins and minerals that many people don't get enough of. These include vitamin C, potassium and folate.

Of course, fruit is a whole food group. There are thousands of different edible fruits in nature and their nutrient composition can vary greatly. So if you want to maximize the health benefits of fruit, you should focus on the types of fruit that are rich in nutrients.

This includes fruit with more edible skin. The skin of fruit is usually very rich in antioxidants and fiber. This is why berries, which contain a large amount of skin gram for gram, are more often considered healthier than larger fruits.

It's also a good idea to eat a wide variety of fruit because different types of fruit contain different nutrients.

Summary: Fruit contains large amounts of important nutrients including fiber, vitamins, minerals and various antioxidants and plant compounds.

Most studies show health benefits

Several observational studies have shown that people who eat more fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of various diseases. Many studies looked at fruit and vegetables together, while some looked at fruit alone.

A review of 9 studies concluded that each daily serving of fruit reduced the risk of heart disease by 7% (11). A study of 9,665 adults found that a high intake of fruit and vegetables was associated with a 46% lower risk of diabetes in women, whereas no difference was observed in men (12).

In addition, a study that looked at fruit and vegetables separately found that vegetables were associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, but this was not the case for fruit (13).

Many other studies have shown that fruit and vegetable consumption can be associated with a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes, which are the two leading causes of death in Western countries (14, 15).

Some studies have looked at how different types of fruit affect the risk of type 2 diabetes. Those who ate the most grapes, apples and blueberries had the lowest risk, with raspberries showing the strongest effect (16).

However, one problem with observational studies is that they cannot prove that the associations they find are a direct causal relationship. People who eat the most fruit also tend to be more health-conscious, smoke less often and are more likely to exercise.

However, some randomized controlled human trials have also shown that increased fruit consumption can lower blood pressure, reduce oxidative stress and improve glycemic control in diabetics (17, 18).

Given the available scientific data, it seems clear that fruit has significant health benefits.

Summary: There is ample scientific evidence that a high intake of fruit may be associated with a lower risk of serious diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Eating fruit can help with weight loss

It is often forgotten that fruit is very filling. Due to the fiber and water content and the extensive chewing required when eating fruit, fruit is very filling.

The satiety index is a measure of how much different foods contribute to the feeling of fullness. Fruit such as apples and oranges were among the foods that scored highest in tests and were even more satiating than beef and eggs (19).

This means that if you increase your consumption of apples and oranges, you are likely to feel so full that you will automatically eat less of other foods. There is an interesting study that has shown how fruit can contribute to weight loss (20). In this six-month study, nine men consistently consumed a diet consisting solely of fruit (82% of calories) and nuts (18% of calories).

Not surprisingly, these men lost a significant amount of weight. Those who were overweight lost even more weight than those who were at a healthy weight.

All in all, because of the powerful effects that fruit has on satiety, it seems useful to replace other foods - especially junk food - with fruit to support long-term weight loss.

Summary: Fruit such as apples and oranges are some of the most satiating foods you can eat. Eating more fruit like these should lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake and ultimately weight loss.

When you should avoid fruit

Even though fruit is healthy for most people, there are some reasons why other people should avoid fruit. One of these is intolerance. Eating fruit can lead to digestive problems in people who suffer from a FODMAP intolerance, for example.

The other reason is a very low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet. The main aim of these diets is to reduce carbohydrate intake sufficiently for the brain to start using mainly keto bodies instead of glucose as an energy source.

In order for this to happen, it is necessary to reduce carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day - sometimes even to just 20 to 30 grams. Considering that even one piece of fruit can contain more than 20 grams of carbohydrates, it is obvious that fruit is unsuitable for such a diet. Just one piece of fruit can be enough to throw you out of ketosis.

Summary: The main reasons to avoid fruit are intolerance or adherence to a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

Fruit juices and dried fruit should be limited

Even though fruit is very healthy for most people, you should avoid consuming excessive amounts of fruit juice and dried fruit.

Many of the fruit juices available on the market are not "real" fruit juices. Instead, they consist of water mixed with a concentrate and often with added sugar. But even if you get 100% pure fruit juice, you should only consume it in moderate quantities, as it contains a lot of sugar and its sugar content is very similar to that of cola and other sugary soft drinks. However, fruit juice contains no fiber and has no chewing resistance to slow down the absorption of the sugar it contains, making it easy to consume a large amount of sugar in a short period of time.

Dried fruit is also very high in sugar and it is easy to eat large amounts of it. Smoothies are somewhere in the middle. Putting fruit in a blender is much better than drinking fruit juice. Nevertheless, it is best to eat fruit unprocessed.

Summary: Although fruit is very healthy, the same is not necessarily true for fruit juice and dried fruit. Both are high in sugar and it is easy to get too much sugar from them.


Fruit is healthy for most people. While excessive sugar consumption is harmful, this does not apply to fruit. Fruit is real food, rich in nutrients and filling.

If you can tolerate fruit and are not following a low-carb/ketogenic diet, then you should definitely eat fruit. Try to eat more fruit as part of a healthy, real-food based diet to reap all the health benefits.




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