Fresh fruit seems to be the one food group that feels the worst of the effects of being on a benzoate-free diet. Many varieties of fruit including most stone fruits and berries are off the menu and after several false starts with fruit it can be tempting to give up completely.  The issue of fruit can be compounded if you have any sensitivity to citric acid, and can be further complicated with fruits that are cooked, heated or dried, that are old & wrinkled, or that are out of season and have a had long travelling times or a long time in cold storage.

I however, have found a few fruits to be suitable and enjoyable, as long as I watch portion sizes and don’t eat too much.  I can also cook with the majority of these.  Please bear in mind that fruit sensitivity is quite a personal thing and what I can eat may vary from  what you can eat!  The fruits I can eat are:

Apples – mainly Gala and Pink Lady although I often stray to various Scottish-grown apple varieties, especially in the autumn
Navel oranges and satsumas – weird, I know!  I react to mandarin oranges. For more information about oranges, see

Lemons & Limes
Rhubarb (not technically a fruit!)
Green grapes – black grapes make my mouth tingle uncomfortably
Kiwi fruit
Freshly-picked cape gooseberries (Chinese lantern berries – the ones with the paper husk)

I also can eat a tiny quantity of rosehips and hawthorn fruits in home made jam

A selection of these fruits can be mixed in fresh fruit juice to make a very respectable fruit salad.  Apples, pears and rhubarb make a very nice warm desert when stewed with sugar.  Most are also nice when stirred into natural yoghurt (although lemon, lime and rhubarb need a lot of sugar added too!)

If you do react to some/most of the fruits listed above, first and foremost, consider your citric acid sensitivity.  Check out , looking to see if there any obvious relationships between your reactions and the citric acid levels in foods.

For mild to moderate fruit reactions that seem to vary without pattern, I also recommend:

  • look for fruit that’s locally grown and in season rather than anything out of season or with lots of food miles – you might react badly to apples from the supermarket that were picked a month and 1,000 miles ago, but one from an apple tree in your garden, eaten fresh in the autumn immediately after picking, may be absolutely fine.
  • Don’t heat up or cook the fruit – try it raw first and foremost.
  • Don’t eat too much – often reactions are as much about quantity as anything.  A single slice, or one bite, is a perfectly respectable quantity to start with.
  • Eat alongside foods you know you’re safe with – I find that dairy products – yoghurt or cream – along with sugar in some cases – make otherwise acidic or uncomfortable foods palatable.
  • Get fruit from farmer’s markets, pick your own farms, pick your own orchards, neighbours with allotments or your own back garden rather than a supermarket or grocery store.

About Tiger

dreamer. writer. thinker. sometimes all three at once.
This entry was posted in Ingredients, snacks, staple foods, vegetarian and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Fruit

  1. Pingback: Growing your own | Benzoate Intolerance Support

  2. Rose says:

    I see you find green grapes OK, but not black grapes. How are red grapes?

  3. JR says:


    I have recently been advised to start the OFG diet and boy is it hard! Does anyone know if dried dates are okay to eat? It doesn’t look like they contain benzoates, and it would be great to use them as a snack as I’m finding the lack of fruit and fibre very difficult.

    • Tiger says:

      No, dates are forbidden I’m afraid! The vast majority of people react to them.
      For fibre, try getting lots of things like porridge oats, barley or buckwheat into your diet, and plenty of carrots, turnip/swede, and potatoes with peel included. Wholemeal bread and rye bread are good too as long as you don’t have any intolerances to them, and don’t forget plenty of nuts.
      Some seeds are often okay too – linseeds/flax seeds, for instance, and sunflower seeds.
      For fruit, the most fibrous one we can normally tolerate is the humble banana. Also include pears, again with the skin on.
      For a fibre-filled breakfast, make a pot of oatmeal porridge, and stir in chopped fresh banana, finely diced fresh pear, and a handful of linseeds or sunflower seeds. Follow this with wholemeal or rye bread toast covered in peanut butter.

      • JR says:

        Thank you! All the evidence was pointing to them not being allowed, but I was holding onto just a wee glimmer of hope! And I’ve just made a date loaf for the kids… guess I won’t be indulging!

  4. JR says:

    Hi again,

    Just had a look at your snack suggestions (thank you!) and I have another query… is there any dried fruit that is permitted? I used to eat quite a healthy diet and always made my own snack balls out of nuts, dried fruits, seeds etc and would like to still try and make something, as I really don’t like eating pure sugar and processed foods and it seems like this is my only option at the moment for something sweet (other than bananas)! I have another issue in that I have Oral Allergy Syndrome, so there are many fresh fruits I cannot eat because of that (kiwi, apple, all stone fruits)… so would be great if I could make something out of figs or maybe even dried mango… do you know of any dried fruits that are okay?

    • Tiger says:

      The issue with dried fruit is that safe levels of reactive chemicals become concentrated in the drying process. Thus even fresh fruits which are safe – the list of which is depressingly small – cannot be trusted when dry. I understand your reluctance to rely on processed sugar but it genuinely is the safest option by miles.

    • Tiger says:

      Both figs and mango can cause reactions when fresh for some people so the dried fruits are likely to be even worse in that regard.
      I do very occasionally eat dried banana chips and dried pineapple, and also a cube or two of crystslised ginger, but I cannot eat more than 4 or 5 pieces in total in any one week.

  5. Donata says:

    Hello I need some help regarding soya. Can soya be tolerated? Is there a difference between soya powder and soya lecithin? Thank you for your support.

  6. Carla Johnson says:

    What shampoo and conditioner do people use?

    • Rose says:

      there are a couple good ones available here in the US. Currently, I am using Alaffia Everyday Coconut Super Hydrating Shampoo or Free & Clear Shampoo for Sensitive Skin by the company Pharmaceutical Specialties, also the maker of Vanicream. They have a conditioner as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s