Monday, September 14, 2009

Should Fruit Be Eaten on an Empty Stomach or With Meals?

Hi, I'm trying to find out the best time to eat fruit. I have heard many suggestions, but I need to hear it from a registered dietitian. Is it better to consume it on an empty stomach, with meals, or does it really matter at all? Thanks, Marie A.

Dear Marie,

I am so glad you have turned to an RD for the answer to this!  Today is not the first time I've had this question posed either (see entry of 8/31).
The truth is, the human body is capable of digesting any food you eat at any time of day and in combination with any other food, despite certain diet books that claim the contrary.

So go ahead and enjoy fruit whenever you like: if there were any rules they would look like this:

- You can eat it in your house, you can eat it with a mouse
- Enjoy some fruit while on a boat, you can have it with your goat
- You can digest it in a box, or munch on some while with a fox
- On a train, in a plane,  stomach full or empty--it's all the same
- Night or morning does not matter, ignore the diet fad book chatter!
(credit, of course, must go to Dr. Suess for the play on words from the book Green Eggs and Ham)


  1. Thank You, Jane Muscroft, for forwarding to me the email circulating inboxes around the world, detailing why it is fruit must be eaten on an empty stomach!
    The explanation is contributed to words from a paper by a famous doctor named Herbert Shelton. Not a medical doctor: Herbert Shelton obtained degrees in naturopathy, naturopathic literature, and chiropractics back in the early 1920's. That's right--his practice, which centered around a study called "Hygiene" was aimed at letting people know how dangerous medicine and medical doctors were to them in the early-to-mid 20th century. He, himself, was arrested numerous times for practicing medicine without a license, three times in the late 1920's and several more times by the 1940's.
    An advocate of the raw food movement, he has many followers to this day.
    By the way, the actual statement about eating fruit on an empty stomach was in defense of fruits--Shelton was disagreeing with another "doctor" who claimed that "fruits demoralize digestion" and explaining that fruits are good for you; it's what you eat with them that causes problems.
    Who knows, back then, how common food spoilage was and how often people suffered food poisoning.
    Times have changed. Now we know how digestion works and that fruit, indeed, can be eaten with whatever else you like!

  2. Great poem to go along with a great answer!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. That's what I have been thinking. There are so many weird rules that either after or before dinne. I mean it doesn't sounds logic that you have to think about that.