How Much Fruit Should I Eat When First Starting Paleo?

FruitThe simple truth is that I don’t know.

Lemme explain.

Whether or not you’re trying to lose weight, the amount of fruit you should eat really depends on two things: how active you are and how your particular body responds to carbs.

Activity Level

If you’re an athletic person, you’re probably going to need more carbs. More on this in a couple days, but that’s all you need to know for now.

You’re A Unique Snowflake

Our bodies really do deal with carbs very differently. Some people – take Jimmy Moore, for instance – really can’t deal with more than like 50g of carbs a day (one banana is about 25 grams, BTW). But other people like myself need at least 100g a day to function properly, whether or not we’re exercising. So I can’t give you a good answer except to say this.

Try Paleo out for a month.

(I know you hate me for this answer.)

Take out the grains, dairy, legumes, and vegetable oils. But leave all the fruit – any kind of fruit, not just berries – sweet potatoes, potatoes, and other starchy veggies in your diet. See how you do. If you don’t lose weight, then start messing around with taking some of those carbs out. It’s actually kind of challenging to get more than 100 grams of carbs in your Paleo diet every day, even with all of the above foods in there, so don’t worry too much about it at first. Just try to enjoy the foods for the first month, get used to the idea of no grains, then start tweaking.

As for meal composition…

To get the proper amount of protein, veggies, and fat (don’t forget about the fat because it’s really important!), I’d suggest subscribing to our meal plan for a little while. It’s only $9.99/mo, and that’ll help give you a sense of what you should be eating when, and how much. You can add fruit and those other carb-y foods to it as you please. There aren’t many of those things in the meal plan to begin with, so do add them if you aren’t sure how your body responds to carbs yet.

Eating this way should be fun and delicious, guys!

Thinking about eating Paleo without fruit makes me sad, and I don’t want people to shy away from Paleo because they’re under the impression that it’s like being in fruit jail. Fruit is a nutrient dense food, and it provides carbs that a lot of people need. Even if you’re diabetic, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat fruit! My dad is type 2 and eats watermelon every single day.

Don’t fear the fruit!

Does that make sense? Anyone have any wisdom to add to this?

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  1. I limited my fruit intake while working on leaning out and found I feel way better without it. Now, I have fruit a few times a month when something looks really good, like an in-season peach. After hitting my goal, I added more starchy veggies back in to fuel workouts instead of fruit. My body likes them better than fruit for some reason. I think I’m sensitive to fructose. Anyways, it’s cool to learn your own body’s carbohydrate threshold. My body’s happy around 80g/day. And, I agree, everyone is different, so do your own experiment!

  2. I’ve been trying to cut back on the fruit since I do want to lose a few more pounds, buuuut I love them so much. Ive found it really difficult, so I just limit myself a bit each day but still enjoy a tiny amount during most meals. I want to add more vegetables in, and I do enjoy them, but they arent nearly as convenenient and naturally single-packaged as 1 apple, 1 pear, etc.

    I think I will try in the next week to focus more on how many carbs I’m getting a day from fruit, that seems like a good place to start.

  3. Ok, so this leads me to a question. I’m on day 9 of a 30 day ‘try Paleo and see if it kills me’ :). I’ve been using myfitnesspal to track things as I think, ok, I know, I’m guilty of underestimating the amount of food I chew. I signed up for the meal plan and paleo fit workout plan. When I plugged in my projected exercise into myfitnesspal, it gave me a calorie goal of 1230 cal per day. Your meal plan suggests a higher calorie level….so, am I just supposed to go by how I feel? Because to be honest, I’m not sure what to chalk up to detox and what might be too few calories.

    As a background snapshot, I’ve officially done every diet on the planet (some more than once), and lost and gained the same 30 pounds a gazillion times. I am 42, had a hysterectomy 8 years ago and have been diagnosed a few years ago with the dreaded metabolic syndrome; insuline resistance( levels double what they should be), fatty liver, high-ish cholesterol and obesity, or overweighted-ness, or whatever we should call it. Since my hyster, losing weight has been an Everest sized problem. Nothing works anymore, not even the radical stuff. At 5’4 and 185lbs things are looking pretty grim. I am looking to implement a lifestyle change that doesn’t require micro managment for the rest of my life. I hope I’ve found it. I have lost 5 pounds since I started but want to make sure I’m not eating too little and causing my body to hold onto its reserves like grim death.

    I’ve read a ton of stuff on this site so far and it’s all very helpful and encouraging. Mahalo nui for all you do!

    1. doulanobles – You should actually be able to tell if you’re eating too little just by the way you feel. If you’re feeling very low blood sugar, dizzy, or hungry, I’m going to suggest that you’re eating too little. Otherwise, if you’re just feeling a little fatigued here and there that’s probably just detox. Does that make sense?

  4. Yes, I think so. No dizziness or what I would typically describe as hunger…I’m experiencing more fatigue, stomach upset, etc..

    1. doulanobles – I’d just wait that out another week or so and see if it goes away. Those are totally common detox symptoms and may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. My detox lasted 3 weeks and I was fatigued that whole time. This is totally normal, as much as it may suck :)

  5. Hi…I’m new to the idea of Paleo. Not really sure what it all entails, I just know that Im sick and tired of always feeling sick, weighed down and tired. I’m pretty athletic, ran 3 half marathons and several other distance races over the past year. I’m also training for a full marathon (which is not going very well) and will start training for my first triathlon shortly. With that being said I feel like I should have more energy and feel less “weighed down”. Im sure my diet has everything to do with it. I want to change my diet, but feel overwhelmed by the thought of it. I do my best to eliminate processed foods from my family’s diet, but sometimes old habits are hard to break. My biggest obstacle is feeling over whelmed…any help would be appreciated. Thank you

    1. Monica – Sometimes it helps to just start slowly. For instance, I have clients who first go gluten free for a few weeks. Then they get comfortable with that and they’re willing to experiment with taking other grains out of their diet. Then dairy, then the vegetable oils. Pretty soon, a month or 3 later, they’re Paleo and totally transitioned. I’d recommend you try this route, learn as much as you can in the meantime (especially about endurance athletes’ specific needs on Paleo), and get help if you need a cheerleader or a teacher if you need it. I do personal Paleo coaching if this is something you need. Either way, good luck to you! You can do it, and I’m willing to bet you’ll feel better if you make the switch. Oh, and please read this: Running sometimes creates fatigue and weight gain in women because it can be very hard on your thyroid. Please read that article…

  6. My husband and I started this diet a week ago. Can we eat dates? If so, how much are we allowed to eat. I know you mentioned that fruits are ok yo eat, but dates are too sweet for a diet i thknk. Any advice?

    1. Basma – It really depends on how much exercise you’re doing. Dates are a great source of carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. But if you’re overweight and not working out much at all, I’d say stay away from dried fruit. I personally have like 1 dried fig a day, along with other fruits, veggies, and all the other Paleo foods, and it’s nice to have that little sweetness.

  7. Hi Neely – unfortunately the link you inserted on 23 April does not work, and it can be interesting for me as well, given I love to run, but simply cannot lose more weight. I went paleo a year ago, lost 13 lbs in the first 3 months, but it stopped. Don’t need to lose much more (another 10-13 would be excellent), but still. In general, my health conditions are on the top, though oftentimes I feel very disappointed and unmotivated. Any ideas? Anyway, thank you for your work and great site.

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