5 Overrated Fruits: They’re Less Nutritious Than You Think
Fruit is good for you, right? But some fruits are a little too high in sugar and a little too low in fiber. Find out which ones our dietitians recommend cutting back on.
Sweetness, texture and taste make fruit a tempting treat. And that’s good, because fruit provides nutrients we need. It’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends two servings per day.
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That said, some kinds of fruit are more nutritious than others. Here are five fruits our dietitians suggest you avoid or minimize in your diet:
Cold-pressed fruit juices may be all the rage. But they spike your blood sugar just as much as juices that sit on a shelf, says Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD.
The fiber in whole fruits is what keeps blood sugar stable so you don’t overeat. If you’re going to buy a cold-pressed juice, make sure it’s mostly vegetables, she suggests. And pair it with a handful of nuts to stabilize blood sugar.
Adds Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD: “In juices and smoothies, the fiber is removed. All you’re left with is a whole bunch of sugar. I prefer chewing to drinking fruits.”
“Sure, dried cherries, berries and cranberries are convenient, but at what cost?” asks Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD. “Most are loaded with added sugars, increasing their calories and spiking your blood sugar.”
Drying fruit removes most of their water content. Water (and fiber) are what help to fill you up in the first place. “Try eating 17 grapes one day, then reflect on how you feel. The next day, eat 17 raisins instead. The calories are identical, but it’s not so satisfying, is it?” she says.
At least raisins don’t have added sugar like dried cherries, berries, and cranberries do, she notes. But your best bet is fruit that’s fresh, or frozen with no sugar added.
“Unless it’s packed in water, canned fruit contains extra calories from the juice it sits in,” says Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD. “And you the fruit loses its crisp bite because it’s saturated with liquid.”
It’s also easier to eat more canned fruit than fresh fruit at one sitting.
“I prefer to go to the trouble of preparing my fruit fresh to eat and enjoy!” she says.
“Grapes are so sweet and delicious that they’re called ‘nature’s candy.’ But it’s dangerously easy to overeat them!” says Jennifer Willoughby, RD, CSP, LD.
While grapes do have nutrients, they’re high in sugar and low in fiber. “Be careful not to sit down with a whole bag, or you’ll get a mega-dose of natural sugars,” she warns. And that will raise your blood sugar.
Instead, she recommends freezing grapes to snack on. That gives you a sweet treat that takes longer to eat, so you won’t eat as many.
Cantaloupe and honeydew melon balls make for a colorful, appealing salad. But “melon is easy to overeat,” cautions Julia Zumpano, RD, LD.
Melons are high sugar and lower in fiber. So there’s not much to chew on, and they’re quickly digested. “Melons can leave you feeling hungry after a short period of time,” she notes. “So limit your portion to less than a cup, or choose a fruit that is high in fiber and low in sugar.”
It’s always best to pair fruit with a protein source, such as a handful of nuts or spoonful of nut butter, adds Ms. Zumpano.
Use these tips to get the most from your two daily servings of fruit. Your metabolism (and appetite) will be glad you did.