Okay, so eating fruit is generally considered healthy, especially if you are substituting it for nutritionally void candy and cakes. Fruit contains vital antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients.
However, it does contain a high amount of natural sugar and too much can both derail weight loss efforts and contribute to the development of diabetes.
Some people are also sensitive to fructose and experience painful bloating, gas, belching, abdominal pain, and diarrhea when they eat fruit.
Chronic high blood sugar also makes the perfect environment for cancer to grow. We’ve developed a list of the fruits most likely to spike your blood sugar, cause weight gain, and lead to gastrointestinal distress. We recommend that you never eat them if any of these issues apply to you.
Bananas are high in potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and other antioxidants that increase as they ripen. That’s good news because the number one reason that bananas often cause gas and bloating is because they are not ripe enough.
Unripe bananas contain up to 80% resistant starch that cannot be digested properly in your stomach and must be broken down by bacteria later, in your intestines. Bacterial fermentation causes excessive and painful gas.
Most people think that bananas that have turned fully yellow from their green state are ripe, but you actually do better to wait until small brown spots appear. At this stage, the resistant starch will have converted to simple sugar that’s easier to digest.
But even fully ripe bananas are high in simple carbs and not the best to eat when you’re trying to lose weight.
Apples are known to cause digestive issues including bloating, cramps, gas, and diarrhea due to their sorbitol content. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that cannot be broken down properly in the stomach or small intestine, and instead lands undigested in the large intestines.
The large intestine is tasked with pulling water out of waste products, but too much sorbitol can cause the intestinal wall to release all that water back into the colon. The result is digestive pain including diarrhea, in fact, sorbitol is an active ingredient in many laxatives.
Sweeter red apples may be the tastiest, but tarter green apples contain a lot less sorbitol and are better for people who experience digestive distress. Apples should be avoided entirely by people with irritable bowel syndrome.
IBS sufferers are best to steer clear of cherries all together, but too many cherries can cause painful bloating and gas for anyone due to their combination of indigestible fiber, sugar alcohol, and high levels of fructose.
Some people may also get nausea and vomiting from eating cherries due to high concentration of the antioxidant quercetin. If you can tolerate them, cherries are a great source of iron, vitamins, and cancer-preventing antioxidants, but it’s best to stick to just a handful.
Grapes are a delicious snack, but they contain a high level of fructose, which is frequently malabsorbed when eaten in large amounts. There are a couple of other elements in grapes that can cause digestive issues, too.
One is salicylates, which occur naturally in the skin of fruits as a form of defense against insects. If you are sensitive to salicylates, you may experience headache, rapid heartbeat, and anxiety when you eat grapes.
Another substance that can lead to nausea and cramps in some people are tannins. Tannins are polyphenols that are healthy for most people, but aggravate folks who are also sensitive to tannin-heavy things like green tea and wine.
Pears are high in both sorbitol and fructose sugar, a double whammy for sensitive stomachs. Pear juice is even worse, with almost as much fructose as in sodas sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
Too much pear can cause all the bloating, cramping, and diarrhea that comes with other high-sorbitol fruits, as well as pack on the pounds. Pears have about 10.5 g of sugars per 100 g serving, but a whopping 6.4 grams of that is fructose.
Mangoes contain a lot of fiber and fructose, which in combination can cause issues with bloating. Dietary fiber is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but experts advise that you increase your fiber intake gradually to avoid blocking up your intestines.
Add in the high fructose-to-glucose ratio in mangoes, and binging on them is likely to throw your digestive system for a loop. Mangoes also contain a lot of digestive resistant starch before fully ripened (like bananas) so you want to choose fruits that are quite soft to go easy on your gut.
Pineapple is high in fructose and fiber, like mangoes, but it also contains an enzyme called bromelain, which serves to help break down undigested protein along the digestive tract.
However, most of the bromelain is found in the pineapple’s core, which most of us don’t enjoy eating. When pineapple is digested through putrefaction in the colon, it can cause very smelly gas. Eating something high protein along with pineapple may help to mitigate this problem.
Berries are very nutritious but also high in sorbitol and salicylates. Excessive consumption is likely to lead to gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Strawberries are additionally high in fructose along with the sorbitol.
If you have IBS, the insoluble fiber in berries is likely to trigger a lot of discomforts as well. Eat berries in moderation to reap the health benefits without getting stuck in the bathroom.
3. Stone Fruit
The category of stone fruit includes things like plums, apricots, peaches – basically those that contain a pit. Stone fruits also have some of the highest levels of sorbitol, sugar alcohol, and in the case of peaches, fructose.
Avoid eating them to excess if you’re worried about gas and another intestinal discomfort. You should especially avoid these fruits if they’ve been canned, as a lot of extra sugar gets added in the process.
Figs are small, high in insoluble fiber, and often eaten dried, so they can be easily overeaten. With a naturally low water content, the sugars in figs are already concentrated before the effects of drying amplify the effect even more.
They are also high on the glycemic index, meaning that figs can spike your blood sugar and are best avoided by people with diabetes.
1. Dried Fruits
Each of the fruits we’ve discussed are even more problematic if they’ve been dried. Even though it is a convenient and portable way to eat them, when fruit is dried, all of the troubling compounds including sorbitol, fructose, and indigestible fiber are concentrated.
Already difficult to digest, most people don’t chew dried fruit extremely well, either, because it is tough. Dried fruit will most likely end up being fermented by bacteria in the colon, causing that painful bloating and gas.
Despite their high sugar content, fruits are generally very healthy due to the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber inside. Moderation is key for most people, but those with IBS or diabetes may do well to avoid the fruits on our list entirely.
If you notice a lot of stomach pain after eating fruit, it’s also a good idea to eliminate them from your diet for awhile to determine whether that can offer relief. The good news is that a little bit of research can reveal more digestion-friendly foods that also offer vital nutrients.