How Much Fruit is Too Much Fruit?

How much fruit is too much fruit?How much fruit is too much fruit?My kids eat a lot of fruit -- apples, strawberries, bananas, you name it. I don't think they've met a fruit they don't like and when I discourage them from their junk-food tendencies, they always opt for fruit. I've always considered this a good thing. Fruit is healthy. Why not let them eat their little hearts out. But today, after serving seven-year-old Joey his third bowl of strawberries, I wondered: How much fruit is too much fruit?So I did a little digging and found these answers.

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According to this Woman's Day website, if eating fruit replaces sweet foods like candies and muffins, then indulging is A-OK. "I don't know anyone who has got fat from eating fruit," says writer Judy Davie who warns us not to forget a balanced diet consisting of other essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, B group vitamins, iron, and calciumThe folks at The World's Healthiest Foods say fruit can cause weight gain -- any food in large quantities causes weight gain -- although fruit may be safer to eat in excess than other foods. Fresh fruits contain about 15-20 calories per ounce -- a medium-sized apple contains about 120 calories, for example. Calories are calories. Unless you burn them off, they stick around. And dried fruit is particularly dangerous. Beware: Six ounces of raisins contain about 500 calories.

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Chet Day, over at Health and Beyond, has this to say: Too much fruit can be harmful to your health. But the sugar in fruit is natural so you should be able to eat as much as you want -- right? Nope, says this source. Just ask fruitarians -- people who eat nothing but raw fruit -- and you'll find they experience all sorts of health issues, like dental decay, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, skin problems, thinning hair, and more.Terese Scollard, MBA, R.D., L.D., regional clinical nutrition manager for Providence Nutrition Services says, "Yes," fruit is high in natural sugars. But should we cut back on it if we're indulging? Probably. Going overboard on one kind of food -- even one as terrific as fruit --- means you're likely missing out on the valuable properties of other foods.

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So how much fruit is the right amount of fruit? The Dietary Guidelines for Americansrecommend two cups of fruit and 2-1/2 cups of vegetables each day for a person on a 2,000-calorie diet. For my fruit-loving kiddos, the USDA recommends the following:

· 2- to 3-year-olds: 1 cup

· 4- to 8-year-olds: 1 1/2 cups

· 9- to 13-year-old girls: 1 1/2 cups

· 9- to 13-year-old boys: 1 1/2 cups

· 14- to 18-year-old girls: 1 1/2 cups

· 14- to 18-year-old boys: 2 cups

What do you recommend?

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