6 "Bad" Fruits You Should Be Eating, According to a Dietitian

Are all fruits good for you or should you limit certain ones?

Whether you want to lose weight, monitor your blood sugar levels or simply look out for your health, you may have a running mental list of off-limits foods. While many people reach for more fruit to improve their health, some may skip certain types, fearing they will sabotage their wellness goals.

Thankfully, there's no need to avoid eating whole fruits, despite some having a bad reputation for being too sugary. Here at EatingWell, we believe all fruits fit into a healthy eating pattern, and they offer too many potential benefits for you to avoid them entirely.

Is Fruit Sugar Bad for You?

It's common knowledge that added sugar could be harmful in excessive amounts. However, fruits naturally contain sugar called fructose, and the difference between natural sugars and added sugars can be confusing. Fruits are generous in good-for-you nutrients. Dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols and phytonutrients give them the power to help combat inflammation and disease, support weight management, boost mental health and enhance immune health.

Furthermore, research published in 2021 in Nutrients shows that eating fruit sugars isn't anything to worry about, even for people with diabetes. (If you have diabetes, you must talk with your medical team and dietitian about balancing your meals to best support your blood sugars and overall health.)

a photo of a watermelon
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6 "Bad" Fruits You Should Eat

We hope this list redeems these six "bad" fruits and that you consider incorporating them into your diet.

1. Watermelon

As one of the heaviest fruits out there, this mouthwatering summertime staple offers many must-have nutrients. Watermelon is chock-full of antioxidants like lycopene, which is responsible for its pinkish-red color. Lycopene is a carotenoid that your body can't make on its own and must get from food. Moreover, according to a 2020 article in Nutrients, lycopene is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory nutrients that offer protection against developing diseases. Research suggests lycopene helps guard the body against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Potassium and calcium are also found in reasonable amounts in watermelon. And if you need one more reason to eat it, 1 cup of diced watermelon offers a half-cup of water, per the USDA. In-season watermelon bursts with lots of flavor; you can enjoy the hydrating fruit simply with a squeeze of lime or in a Watermelon & Arugula Salad.

2. Oranges

Oranges are famously known as the go-to source of vitamin C, and rightfully so, since a medium orange (about 5.5 ounces) offers nearly 100% of the Daily Value, per the USDA. Vitamin C is not just a vitamin but also an antioxidant that science, such as a 2017 publication in Nutrients, says serves as an immune defender on multiple fronts, including protecting against harmful pathogens by strengthening the skin's natural barriers and protecting the body from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can wreak havoc on your health. Furthermore, the sweet juicy fruit is a good source of dietary fiber to keep you full for longer, contains vitamin A to support vision health and is a natural source of folate for brain and nerve health. Opt for whole oranges over orange juice to reap the fruit's fiber benefits. Our Cinnamon Oranges recipe might be just what you need for a plant-based treat.

3. Mangoes

Known as the "king of fruits" and cultivated and enjoyed worldwide, mangoes are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, folate and fiber. In addition, you'll glean an impressive amount of polyphenols, natural compounds found in produce, tea and chocolate that favorably influence health by improving blood pressure, inflammation, cardiovascular health and insulin resistance, per a 2022 review in the Journal of Food Biochemistry. You'll get plenty of carotenoids, including beta carotene and lutein, which give mangoes their vibrant yellow-orange shade. Mangoes offer a smooth, sweet and tropical flavor sure to awaken your taste buds. Fun fact—thanks to the delicious taste of mangoes, they're the most popular dessert across the globe. Bring the tropics to your kitchen with this Mango & Spinach Smoothie recipe.

4. Pineapples

Who needs an air freshener when you have fruit? Another popular tropical fruit, pineapples, infuse the air with their sweet aroma as soon as they're cut open. Some people may falsely believe in avoiding pineapple because of its sweetness. However, pineapples are just as nutritious as they are succulent and can fit into any healthy eating plan (as long as you're not allergic). Like mangoes, pineapples pack an impressive punch of polyphenols to help safeguard against inflammation, per a 2020 review in Food Research International. Brimming with vitamin C, 1 cup of pineapple gets you very close to reaching 100% of the DV, according to the USDA. Not only is pineapple full of antioxidants, but it packs folate, potassium and calcium too. Another perk of pineapples is that they contain an enzyme called bromelain, which helps your gut with digestion. You can master adding more pineapple to your life by blending fresh pineapple into a smoothie, using it to make slaw or whipping up this Vegan Frozen Pineapple & Coconut Yogurt Bark.

5. Bananas

Often feared for their carbs, bananas are an inexpensive fruit that's available year-round and highly versatile. Here's why you should eat bananas for more than just their high potassium content: According to a 2021 review in Frontiers in Oncology, bananas provide bioactive compounds—including carotenoids, phenolics and phytosterols, that can help prevent disease. Studies in this review report these bioactive components give bananas an advantage against multiple types of cancers and may show potential for cancer prevention and therapy. Unripe bananas are an excellent source of resistant starch, a prebiotic fiber that feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut for digestive health. You can energize your busy mornings with this easy Banana Oatmeal recipe.

6. Grapes

Grapes draw our "bad fruits" list to a close because they're often vilified for their sugar content, but grapes are not an enemy. In fact, if you skip adding grapes to your shopping cart, you're likely missing out on their health-supporting vitamin K and potassium benefits, per the USDA. Plus, grapes have quercetin and resveratrol, which may lower your chances of atherosclerosis, a condition when plaque builds up in your arteries, disrupting blood flow. Lastly, grapes contain small amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that protect your vision, per a 2022 article in Nutrients. While green grapes provide good nutrition, red grapes and darkly colored grapes are the highest in antioxidants due to the anthocyanins which give them their bold pigments. Reach for a mix of sweet and savory flavors with this Massaged Kale Salad with Grapes & Cheddar.

The Bottom Line

Unless you're allergic to fruit, it generally isn't necessary to avoid eating certain types. Without a doubt, the only "bad" fruits in existence are rotten fruits that should be thrown out. Each of these six fruits can make a sweet part of a healthy, balanced diet.

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