Strawberries are a common type of fruit that can be eaten as a nutritious and refreshing treat on hot days or used as a topping for desserts such as ice cream and cake. Strawberries offer numerous nutritional benefits, such as supplying essential vitamins and minerals, but they aren't ideal for all diets. You may find some nutritional aspects of strawberries to be drawbacks considering your personal nutritional needs, so focusing on a different fruit may be more appropriate.
Low in Calories
If you're an athlete or have high calorie needs due to a demanding job or fast metabolism, eating strawberries may be an inefficient way to get the calories you need. A cup of whole strawberries contains just 49 calories, which is much less than other carbohydrate-based foods; a cup of cooked oatmeal provides 147 calories. Because strawberries aren't high in calories, it would take very large portions to obtain significant amounts of calories.
Low in Protein
Strawberries are low in protein, with about 1 g in each cup. Protein is an essential nutrient that your body uses to build and maintain muscles and other tissues. In addition, research indicates that diets with a high ratio of carbohydrates to protein, which is similar to the nutritional profile of strawberries, can be detrimental for body composition. A study published in the March 2011 issue of "Nutrition & Metabolism" found that increasing the ratio of carbohydrates to protein in diets resulted in more energy storage in fat cells and less storage in muscle -- in other words, more fat gain and less muscle gain.
Low in Fat
Strawberries, as with many other fruits, are very low in fat. A cup of strawberries provides less than .5 g of fat. While this keeps the calorie content low, it means that eating strawberries won't be very filling, as fat encourages satiety. Additionally, dietary fat is required for the absorption of some vitamins, so taking a multivitamin with strawberries alone would be less than ideal.
High in Sugar
Strawberries are high in sugar, with 7 g in each cup, an amount comprising 63 percent of the total carbohydrates. While sugar does provide energy, it can also "reactive low blood sugar," or a sugar crash after the initial spike in energy, which can leave you feeling fatigued. Additionally, sugar can promote tooth decay, as this simple carbohydrate forms an acid that attacks your teeth when it comes into contact with the plaque that covers them.
Low in Vitamins
Although strawberries provide a number of essential minerals and high levels of vitamin C, the fruit provides very low amounts of other vitamins, such as vitamins A, E, D or K. They contain minimal levels of the B vitamins with the exception of folate. While vitamin C is beneficial, you do need other vitamins for optimal health.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Strawberries, Raw
- LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate: Calories in Instant Oatmeal, Cooked
- "Nutrition & Metabolism"; Increased Ratio of Dietary Carbohydrate to Protein Shifts the Focus of Metabolic Signaling from Skeletal Muscle to Adipose; S. Devkota, D.K. Layman; March 2011
- MedlinePlus; Dietary Fats; August 2011