Health and Wellness

6 “Bad” Fruits You Should Be Eating, According to a Dietitian

4 Mins read

6 “Bad” Fruits You Should Be Eating, According to a Dietitian

Whether you want to lose weight, monitor your blood sugar levels or simply look out for your health, you may have a running mental list of off-limits foods. While many people reach for more fruit to improve their health, some may skip certain types, fearing they will sabotage their wellness goals.

Thankfully, there’s no need to avoid eating whole fruits, despite some having a bad reputation for being too sugary. Here at EatingWell, we believe all fruits fit into a healthy eating pattern, and there are too many benefits to ward them off entirely.

Is Fruit Sugar Bad for You?

It’s common knowledge that added sugar can be harmful in excessive amounts; however, that refers to different types of sugars, like sucrose. Fruits contain natural sugars called fructose, and the difference between natural sugars and added sugars can be confusing. Research published in 2021 in Nutrients shows that eating fruit sugars isn’t anything to worry about, even for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, you must talk with your medical team and dietitian about balancing your meals to best support your blood sugars and overall health.

Fruits are generous in good-for-you nutrients that outmatch their natural sugar content. Dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols and phytonutrients give them the power to help combat inflammation and disease, support weight management, boost mental health and enhance immune health.

6 “Bad” Fruits You Should Eat

We hope this list redeems these six “bad” fruits and that you consider incorporating them into your diet.

1. Watermelon

As one of the heaviest fruits out there, this mouthwatering summertime staple offers many must-have nutrients. Watermelon is chock-full of antioxidants like lycopene which is responsible for its pinkish-red color. Lycopene is a carotenoid that your body can’t make on its own and must get from outside sources. Moreover, according to a 2020 article in Nutrients, lycopene is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory nutrients that offer protection against developing diseases. Research suggests lycopene helps guard the body against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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Potassium and calcium are also in reasonable amounts in watermelon; if you need one more reason to eat it, 1 cup of diced watermelon offers a half cup of water, per the USDA. Bursting with lots of flavors when bought in season, you can enjoy the hydrating fruit in raw form with a squeeze of lime or in a Watermelon & Arugula Salad.

2. Oranges

Oranges are infamously known as the go-to source of vitamin C, and rightfully so since a medium-sized orange (154 grams) offers nearly 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), per the USDA. Vitamin C is not just a vitamin but also an antioxidant that science, such as a 2017 publication in Nutrients, says protects against harmful pathogens that cause diseases by keeping them from entering the skin. Vitamin C protects the body from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can wreak havoc on your health. That said, vitamin C serves as an immune defender. Furthermore, the sweet juicy fruit is a good source of dietary fiber to keep you full for longer, vitamin A to support vision health and is a natural source of folate for brain and nerve health. Opt for whole oranges over orange juice to reap its fiber benefits. Our Cinnamon Orange recipe might be just what you need for a plant-based treat.

3. Mangoes

Known as the “king of fruits” and harvested by 60% of the world, mangoes are rich in vitamins A, C, potassium, folate and fiber. In addition, you’ll find an impressive amount of polyphenols, natural compounds found in produce, tea and chocolate that favorably influence health by improving blood pressure, inflammation, cardiovascular health and insulin resistance, per a 2022 review in the Journal of Food Biochemistry. You’ll get plenty of carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lutein, which give mangoes their vibrant yellow-orange shade. Mangoes offer a smooth, sweet and tropical flavor sure to awaken your tastebuds. Fun fact—thanks to the delicious taste of mangoes, they’re the most popular dessert across the globe. Bring the tropics to your kitchen with this Mango & Spinach Smoothie recipe.

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4. Pineapples

Who needs an air plug-in when you have fruit? Another popular tropical fruit, pineapples, infuse the air with their sweet aroma as soon as they’re cut open. Some people may falsely believe in avoiding pineapple because of its sweetness. However, pineapples are just as nutritious as they are succulent and can fit into any healthy eating plan (as long as you’re not allergic). Like mangoes, pineapples pack an impressive punch of polyphenols to create a safeguard against inflammation, per a 2020 review in Food Research International. Brimming with vitamin C, one cup of pineapple gets you very close to reaching 100% of the RDA, according to the USDA. Not only are they full of antioxidants, but folate, potassium and calcium, too. Another perk of pineapples is that they contain an enzyme called bromelain, which helps your gut with digestion. You can master adding more pineapple to your life by blending fresh pineapple into a smoothie, using it to make slaw, or whipping up this Vegan Frozen Pineapple & Coconut Yogurt Bark.

5. Bananas

Often feared for their carbs, bananas are an inexpensive fruit that’s available year-round and highly versatile. Here’s why you should eat bananas for more than just their high potassium content. According to a 2021 review in Frontiers in Oncology, bananas provide bioactive compounds—including carotenoids, phenolics and phytosterols that promote good health by preventing disease. Studies in this review report these bioactive components give bananas an advantage against multiple types of cancers and may show potential for cancer prevention and therapy. Unripe bananas are an excellent source of resistant starch, a prebiotic fiber that feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut for digestive health. You can energize your busy mornings with this easy Banana Oatmeal recipe.

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6. Grapes

Grapes draw our “bad fruits” list to a close because they’re often vilified for their sugar content, but grapes are not an enemy. In fact, if you skip adding grapes to your shopping cart, you’re likely missing out on their health-supporting vitamin K and potassium benefits, per the USDA. Plus, grapes have quercetin and resveratrol, which may lower your chances of atherosclerosis when plaque builds up in your arteries, disrupting blood flow. Lastly, grapes contain small amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that protect your vision, per a 2022 article in Nutrients. While greens grapes provide good nutrition, red grapes and grapes dark in color are the highest in antioxidants due to anthocyanins which give them their bold pigments. Reach for a mix of sweet and savory flavors with this Massaged Kale Salad with Grapes & Cheddar.

The Bottom Line

Unless you’re allergic to fruit, it generally isn’t necessary to avoid eating certain types. Without a doubt, the only “bad” fruits in existence are rotten fruits that should be thrown out. Still, each of these six fruits can make a sweet part of a healthy, balanced diet.

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