2.73 USDA – Fruits

The USDA Food Plan recommends 2 cups of fruits per day on a 2000 calorie diet, which is 4 servings. One serving is 1 medium sized fruit (about the size of a baseball), ¼ cup of dried fruit or ½ cup of frozen fruit, canned fruit or fruit juice.

Fruit is health promoting because of the fiber content, vitamins and other nutrients. While 4 servings per day is recommended, it is hard to develop health issues or gain weight if you are eating whole fruit. Dried fruit will have a higher calorie density since the water is removed. Fruit juices are simply not healthy as all the fiber is essentially removed and you are left with basically flavored sugar water with some vitamins. Eat all the apples, oranges and bananas you would like, but be cautious with dried fruit such as raisins. Eating more fruit OR vegetables fills you up with fiber and stops you from eating more calorie dense foods such as refined carbohydrates or oils.

One last note: Be sure to avoid fruits that have added sugar, especially canned fruits. Always look at the ingredients!

Here is the USDA figure showing recommended fruit consumption and what Americans actually eat:

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