We all know how beneficial fruits are to our bodies. Not just vitamins and dietary fiber, people who eat fruits regularly as part of their healthy diet usually have a lower risk of chronic diseases. It also helps that most fruits are sweet and tasty, compared to vegetables so fussy children take to fruits easier than vegetable.
However, when is it the best time to eat fruits? Before or after a meal?
There are so many contradicting articles online from different nutritionists that it was hard for us to sieve out the accurate information. So many questions regarding when and how to eat fruits that we feel we have to address all of them in order to present a full answer.
1) Can you eat fruits on an empty stomach?
Some nutritionists claim that eating fruits in the morning together with a glass of water is the best time for the bodies to absorb the full vitamins. However, there are no studies to back up on this claim. In particular, diabetics should not be eating fruits on an empty stomach, but should pair them with food high in proteins, fats and fiber. Sugar from fruits might cause a spike in sugar levels on an empty stomach and diabetics may be easier to have digestion problems due to that.
For most people, it will not create stomach problems such as bloatedness, diarrhea or stomachache. The dietary fiber in fruits does cause slower digestion but also helps keep you fuller for a longer period of time.
Thus, you do not feel you have to over eat and there is no evidence on any health benefits or disadvantages on eating fruits on an empty stomach for now.
2) Eating fruits right before or after a meal?
There are articles that claim that if you eat fruits right before or after a meal, the nutrients will be lost as our bodies are unable to absorb them fully. However, studies have proved that our intestines have a high absorption ability and able to absorb twice as much nutrients than what we can consume in one day.
So regardless of when you eat fruits, our bodies are perfectly able to gain the benefits, even during a meal. Thus, unless you have digestion problems, you do not have to wait 30 minutes to 1 hour before or after a meal to eat these healthy snacks.
3) Eating fruits in the afternoon is the best?
It is thought that our afternoons are pretty lethargic and it will be better to wake our system up with some fruits. There is no truth in this and fruits are the best, healthiest snacks that you can have at any time of the day.
4) Can you eat fruits just before you go to bed?
Yes you can, but the natural sugar from fruits may interfere with sound sleep, preventing your body from powering down from the intake of sugar. You might take a longer time to get to sleep but that's about it.
5) Eating too much fruits can cause diabetes?
Sugar from fruits alone is not going to directly cause diabetes but if you always have excess calories from more than one sugar source, such as cakes, cookies or soft drinks, they will be more of a problem as the amount of sugar added is much, much higher. Fruit juice will also be a concern as you will be using more fruits to create a glass of juice and there are less dietary fiber to regulate your sugar levels.
So when is the best time to have some fruits?
The truth is, you can have fruits at any time of the day. Fruits are healthy snacks and Singapore's Healthhub recommends 2 serving of fruits a day. Dried fruits are similar to fruits in nutritional content, but if you are concerned about sugar levels, choose those with no added sugar with our filter options.
For people who have diabetes, pairing fruits with other food is the best to ensure a slow rise in sugar levels, and it is best to avoid eating fruits on an empty stomach in the morning.
For people who are keen to lose weight, eating fruits before a meal can actually help to reduce your normal meal intake, making you feel fuller faster so that you do not consume too much.