If you’re watching your weight or focusing on your health, you know the importance of adequate fruits and vegetables in a balanced diet. Fresh produce is a good thing, so you may think you’re in the clear to get crazy and eat as much as you want. However, always remember, everything in moderation—even the apparently healthy stuff. While eating an excess of fruit and veggies is better than binging on a loaf of bread, a bag of chips or a jar of jelly beans, you may run the risk of missing out on other important nutrients—among other problems. Here are five of the most significant.
1. Shortage of macros
Filling up on nutritious fresh produce is an effective way to get that “full” feeling without all the extra calories. On the other hand, relying solely on these types of foods could lead to inadequate intake of the major macronutrients your body needs. Aside from avocados and coconuts, most fruits and veggies come up short in the fat department, with protein content also hovering slightly above zero. This means you’ll have to rely on other food groups. Make vegetables the centerpiece of your meal if you like, but always remember to include some healthy fats and a lean source of protein.
Fruits are loaded with sugar—it is natural sugar, but sugar nonetheless. It was once believed that fruits were harmful for diabetics, but a study published in the Nutrition Journal found this to be false and advised that diabetics should not limit their fruit intake. If, however, you’re trying to lose weight, it may not be a bad idea to replace that high-sugar piece of a fruit with a low-sugar veggie.
3. Too much fiber
Perhaps one of the biggest issues with eating copious amounts of fruits and veggies is the abundance of fiber you’ll be ingesting. Fiber is a very good thing and, in fact, many Americans fail to get the daily recommended amount. The problem with too much fiber is it can cause your body to rebel if it’s unaccustomed to such high levels. Gas, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and even constipation (if you fail to drink enough water) are a few of the lovely side affects you can expect to experience with over-the-top fiber intake. Getting extra fiber in your diet via fruits and veggies is an excellent way to improve your health and bowel movements—just make sure to increase intake gradually.
It’s pretty difficult to go overboard with veggies like leafy greens, but it’s rather easy to overdo it with starchy veggies such as potatoes, yams, pumpkins and squash. These types of vegetables are loaded with minerals, vitamins and fiber but some also sport high levels of calories and carbohydrates. Starchy foods run the risk of causing blood sugar levels to rise too rapidly, which is a very real issue for diabetics. Starchy vegetables do have a place in a healthy diet—just be sure to choose wisely and in moderation.
5. Skin discoloration
Finally, eating large quantities of foods that are rich in beta-carotene such as carrots, squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes can cause a condition known as carotenemia, which causes your skin to take on an orange hue. While this condition is not associated with any negative health factors, an orange glow may not go well with your hair color! Don’t worry, a considerable amount of beta-carotene needs to build up in your system before you start to turn orange—just remember it’s a definite possibility.