I will love mangos until my dying breath. They look like sunshine, taste like candy, and remind me of my abuela's house. But recently, I may have eaten a little too much mango, because a few minutes after I finished scarfing down the golden deliciousness, I developed a terrible stomach cramp. Isn't the rule that the more fruit you eat, the better? Can too much fruit be bad for you? Surely something so healthy is even better for you if you eat a ton of it, right?
Go ahead and enjoy your favorite fruit, because even though experts say you shouldn't eat only fruit all day, you probably won't run into any major health problems from eating the stuff in moderation. According to Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, a registered dietitian and co-founder of Appetite for Health, it's pretty hard to get sick from eating fruit, unless you're eating huge amounts of the stuff. She tells Elite Daily over email that while fruit, like any food, can be over-consumed, it's much more likely that you're not eating enough fruit, especially if you're living in the United States: According to a 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one in 10 American adults eat enough fruit (ahem, and vegetables, but I'll get on your case about that another day).
That being said, Upton explains, you could feel uncomfortably full if you eat a large amount of fruit in a short period of time. "Fruit that is highest in fiber may make you feel the most uncomfortable after eating too much of it," she says. In fact, because of those large amounts of fiber, “an excess of whole fruit can give you diarrhea,” Dr. Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, told TIME.
So what exactly is the threshold for "too much" fruit? It's unclear what exactly will make one person sick compared to another, but the American Heart Association recommends about four to five servings of fruit per day, so staying close to that should be safe.
Fruit is obviously loaded with vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, all that stuff your body needs to feel its best. But if you're eating enough of them that you feel uncomfortably stuffed every single time you're done snacking, you probably aren't eating a diverse enough diet to get a proper range of nutrients. "If you're eating too much fruit throughout the day, you're also likely to be replacing other important food groups," dietitian and co-founder of The Biting Truth Alexandra Parker told HuffPost Australia. So while you may think you could eat raspberries all day every day for the rest of your life because they're just that delicious, you couldn't actually sustain that lifestyle because your diet wouldn't be balanced enough with other healthy foods.
As for dried fruit, according to author, speaker, and health coach David Nico, these snacks are definitely easier to eat in large quantities, but it's important to be mindful of the amount of sugar in them. "Dried fruits remove the water content found in fresh whole fruits leaving a concentrated dose of sugar," he tells Elite Daily over email. "Too much concentrated sugar from dried fruit may be an issue, but the preservatives and additives or processed sugar often mixed with dried fruits may cause bloating or other GI disturbances."
Besides messing with your gut health, snacking on a lot of dried fruit could also pose a surprising threat to your teeth. "Raisins are actually more damaging than chocolate," cosmetic dentist Dr. Jon Marashi tells Elite Daily. "Gooey, sticky raisins can often get stuck in the grooves of teeth and bacteria use this food source to secrete damaging acids on the tooth, which is how cavities are formed." In other words, just like the fresh stuff, eating dried fruit in moderation is definitely a good rule of thumb to follow. I mean, I love chocolate-covered raisins as much as the next person, and will mindlessly devour a box within two minutes. But cavities? No freaking thank you.
So for fruit and dried fruit alike, you really don't have to worry too much about over-eating. What you should be most mindful of when it comes to fruit in your diet, says Nico, are processed fruit juices. "Any fruit in liquid form without fiber and added processed sugars, artificial ingredients, and preservatives may make someone sick," he tells Elite Daily. "The liquid calories from processed fruit juices increase health risk factors including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers."
But if you stick to whole, fresh fruit instead of the processed stuff, Nico says, you'll be in good shape. So go ahead and dig into that bowl of fresh mango — just don't overdo it so your stomach can stay berry berry happy.