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Fruits are nature’s quick and easy on-the-go snack. Packed with necessary nutrients and a favorable flavor, they are great relievers of hunger pangs between meals.
However, traditional schools of medicine such as Ayurveda outline a set of principles that recommend specific timing for eating fruits. (1)
Some practitioners of modern medicine also believe that eating fruits on an empty stomach may not be as beneficial for many people.
This article will explore why eating fruits on an empty stomach may be disadvantageous to health, especially if consumed regularly.
Reasons Not to Eat Fruit on an Empty Stomach
The following unpleasant effects may result from eating fruit on an empty stomach.
1. May spike blood sugar levels
Consumption of fresh fruits has been found to reduce the risk of diabetes and its complications (2) due to the presence of fiber and health-benefiting polyphenols in them. They have been found to relax blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
However, fruits also have high amounts of sugars such as fructose, glucose, and saccharose. (3)
These sugars are likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which can be harmful to a person with diabetes. It can also increase the risk of uric acid in the body, which can cause joint pains. (3)
Some fruits with high sugar content (per 100 g of fruit) include: (3)
- Banana – 14.6 g
- Mango – 13.6 g
- Ripe persimmon – 12.3 g
- Grapes – 11.9 g
- Apple – 11.1 g
- Pineapple – 10.3
Therefore, it is important to avoid the consumption of fruits, especially those high in sugar, on an empty stomach.
2. Causes acidity
However, citrus fruits can also increase gastric secretion, (5) which means an increase in the amount of stomach acids. This effect can cause an increase in burning sensations in the stomach and chest, which are symptoms of acidity.
Therefore, it is best to avoid eating oranges and other citrus fruits on an empty stomach.
What Is Recommended
Just because you can’t consume fruits on an empty stomach, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat fruits at all. Here are some of the ways you can maximize the benefit of fruits without their disadvantages.
1. Eat fruit just before a meal
Due to their high fiber content, fruits can offer higher satiety. Many people on a weight loss diet utilize this strategy effectively.
A study found that people who consumed fruit before a meal experienced a feeling of fullness as compared to those who ate fruit after meals. (6) However, the participants were not diabetic and have been advised to avoid eating fruit on an empty stomach altogether.
However, following up your fruit consumption with a meal within 5 minutes may be helpful.
2. Eat fruits after meal
3. Pair fruit with nuts
Nuts are sources of healthy fats and protein, which increase satiety levels. They can slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream and prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
Studies have identified that pairing nuts with fruits (even dried ones) reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. (7)
Can I Mix Fruits With Other Foods?
Nuts can be paired with nuts or cereal such as oats. However, Ayurvedic principles advise avoiding mixing fruits with yogurt or milk.
- Fruits are rich sources of fiber, polyphenols, and sugars such as fructose.
- There is a risk of fruits causing spikes in blood sugar levels when eaten on an empty stomach, which is not good for people with diabetes.
- Citrus fruits increase acid secretion in the stomach, which can cause acidity and heartburn when eaten on empty stomach.
- You can eat fruits immediately before a meal to increase satiety as well to prevent blood sugar spikes.
- Pair fruits with nuts to avoid the spike in blood sugar levels.
- Ayurveda prohibits mixing fruits with milk or yogurt.