4 Reasons To Eat More Fruit

by Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Last Updated: October 16, 2020

As dietitians, our advice to eat more fruit often gets challenged with questions like, “Isn’t fruit high in sugar?” or, “Aren’t bananas bad?” We take this opportunity to educate consumers on the wonderful benefits this food group offers. While fruit does contain sugar, it is 100% natural sugar. We fully embrace the trending crackdown on added sugars these days, yet we feel it is our duty to clear up the ever-debated added versus natural sugar debacle surrounding fruit.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends adults consume at least 2 cups of fruit per day. The sugars found in whole fruits, frozen fruits, canned fruits, and dried fruits without any added sugar are 100% natural. Natural sugar is distributed throughout the fruit along with additional nutrients that are beneficial for overall health. It is the other nutrients discussed below that make fruit a much healthier option than soft drinks, candy, or desserts.
  1. Fiber & hydration.
    Fiber can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, lowering the risk of future heart problems. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. It is an essential nutrient that must be obtained from the diet. Fruit usually contains anywhere from 3-9 grams of fiber per serving. Daily fiber recommendations are 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. Fruits are an easy, nutrient dense addition to round out meals and snacks.

    Pro Tip: Anytime you increase your fiber consumption, you should also increase your fluid intake. Fiber relies on hydration to move through the body, so as you are consuming more fiber, make sure you are consuming enough water. Most fruits are also very hydrating, as they contain a good amount of water, making fruits an easy option to get your fiber and water in one bite.
  2. Low Glycemic Index.
    Fruits contain both natural sugar and fiber. When coupled, these two nutrients have a balancing effect on blood sugar. As a part of a healthy diet, diabetics and healthy individuals alike should consume both nutrients throughout the day for optimum blood sugar management. For more information on carbohydrate and diet management for those with diabetes, check out more information here.
  3. Antioxidant properties.
    Fruit is packed with a variety of vitamins, including A, C, and E, which are known for their antioxidant effects on the body. According to the American Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, antioxidants remove free radicals from the body, preventing vulnerable tissues from being attacked and damaged.
  4. Part of a balanced diet.
    At Kroger Health, our team of Dietitians believes in an ‘all food in moderation’ approach. Fruit can play a role in helping us enjoy our favorites in moderation. Have you ever added peaches to your ice cream or berries to your chocolate? We recommended that people enjoy their favorite treats in moderation, while also incorporating fruits and other plant-based foods as a part of a daily regimen. Try adding fruit to one of your favorite treats once per week and allow your body to enjoy all the nourishment that follows.

While it might be popular to fear the sugar content in fruit, it is added sugar found in processed foods that should be avoided, not the natural sugar found in fruit. Enjoy fresh, frozen, canned, and dried options with no sugar added, since they are naturally sweet. Embrace these nutritionally dense foods as a part of your daily meal routine.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Tiffany is a compassionate dietitian with experience in nutrition throughout her lifespan along with empowering those with diabetes and heart disease to use food as medicine. A believer in total body wellness, she has a decade of experience as a licensed massage therapist. With a passion for healthy living, she practices hot yoga, enjoys most any fitness activities, stays active in the community, and loves spending time with her family.