The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that a healthy diet should include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber, all which makes them an important part of any balanced diet (3). When it comes to weight loss specifically though, there can be some confusion about the role that fruit plays. While most people generally agree that fruits and vegetables are healthy, there is some debate about how much fruit you should eat if you’re trying to lose weight. Bear in mind that the calorie equation (i.e. calories in versus calories out) applies, even when debating the role of fruit in a weight loss program. Plus, there’s the issue of which form of fruit you’re eating. Fresh, frozen, canned or dried? We answer your fruit-related questions in this article, to help you answer the question: Is fruit good for weight loss?
Is Fruit Good For Weight Loss?
The short answer is yes, fruit can be part of a weight loss plan (4). Fruit provides essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and other compounds which are important for good health. They’re also relatively low in calories so they can fill you up without adding too many extra calories to your diet.
However, the type of fruit you choose matters. So does how much of it you eat. Other considerations such as when you eat fruit and what form (fresh, frozen, canned or dried) you consume it in are also important factors.
Why Is Fruit Good For Weight Loss?
Research into the types of diets that promote weight loss has consistently identified a key factor: eating lots of healthy plant foods such as fruits and vegetables. The reasons below make nature’s candy a valuable part of any weight loss plan:
1. Low In Calories
How many calories you’re consuming matters a lot when you’re trying to lose weight. Fruits are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which make them a great snack or addition to meals (6). You can eat more food when you eat fruit compared to other snacks that may be higher in calories but lower in nutrients.
2. High In Fiber
Fiber aids weight loss in multiple ways; it helps to fill you up and keeps you satiated longer. It also slows down digestion, meaning that you don’t get the same spike in blood sugar levels as when eating processed foods or foods with a lot of added sugars (2).
It boosts gut health by providing food for beneficial bacteria and consequently, helps with the absorption of nutrients. Research shows that gut health is also linked to weight management (8).
3. A Good Source Of Energy
Burning calories through exercise is an important part of weight loss. Fruit is a great way to fuel your body with the energy you need to exercise and can be eaten both before and after a workout (5).
Eating whole fruits means you’re getting the slow-release energy your body needs to keep you going without the crash that comes from eating processed foods.
4. A Replacement For Unhealthy Food
When you’re trying to lose weight it’s important to replace unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives. Fruits are a great substitute for processed snacks like chips, cookies, and ice cream. Eating fruit instead of these sugary snacks can help you reduce your overall calorie intake without having to restrict yourself too much.
What this does is play on the psychology of dieting; it’s easier to reach weight loss goals when you don’t feel deprived. You’re more likely to follow through with a diet if it doesn’t feel like a punishment.
5. An Indulgence For Your Sweet Tooth
Cravings are the enemy of weight loss. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, it can be difficult to resist the draw of sugary and fatty snacks that are high in calories. Fruits provide a much healthier outlet for those cravings with their natural sweetness. They also provide a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can’t be found in processed snacks (6).
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the same foods day after day. This can quickly become boring and lead to cravings for unhealthy snacks. Fruits come in many different shapes, sizes, flavors and textures which makes them an ideal way to add some variety into your diet. It also makes it easier to enjoy healthy eating as part of your weight loss journey.
What Fruit Is Good For Weight Loss?
Most fruits are healthy for weight loss, however, some are higher in fiber and lower in sugar than others (1).Fruits that have a low glycemic index such as apples, pears and berries are good choices as they won’t spike your blood sugar levels like sweeter fruits.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons are also excellent choices due to their high vitamin C content. Stone fruits such as apricots, cherries and peaches are also good for weight loss. Finally, water-rich fruits like watermelons and cantaloupes are filled with essential vitamins and minerals that can help to keep you healthy during weight loss.
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Why Is Fruit Bad For Weight Loss?
Fruit contains vitamins, minerals and healthy plant compounds. It also contains naturally occurring sugars which can contribute to your daily calorie intake (7). Below are some scenarios when fruit can get in the way of your weight loss goals:
1. Too Much Fruit
Fruit is a healthy part of any diet, however, eating too much can lead to weight gain. This is because the fructose (natural sugar) in fruits adds extra calories to your intake that you may not need.
For example, a single banana contains about 100 calories. If you’re aiming for a low-calorie diet, it’s important to be mindful of how much fruit you’re eating in order to stay within your calorie goal.
2. Eating Fruit Instead Of Meals
Some people get into the habit of skipping meals and just snacking on fruit throughout the day- this is not a good way to try and lose weight. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies. For example, fruit is not a good source of protein which can be an important part of weight loss diets (9).
Protein helps to keep you satiated longer and helps with muscle repair and recovery after exercise. If your diet is high in fruit and low in protein it can be difficult to reach your weight loss goals.
Making fruit juices can be a great way to get more of your daily vitamins and minerals however, it is not recommended for weight loss. The process of juicing removes the fiber from the fruit which means you are left with just sugar and calories. This can add up quickly and lead to weight gain rather than loss. Furthermore, portion control is also difficult when it comes to juices.
4. Snacking On Dried Fruit
Dried fruit can be a convenient snack, however it’s not ideal for weight loss. This is because the process of drying removes water from the fruit which then concentrates the natural sugars found in it and makes them more calorie-dense. A small amount of dried fruit can quickly add up to a lot of calories.
And because they’re so small and not filling, it’s easy to overdo it without realizing.To snack on dried fruit in a healthy way it is important to be mindful of your portion size and choose varieties with as little added sugar as possible. Pairing them with a healthy protein such as nuts or seeds can also help to make them more filling and satisfying.
5. Eating Fruit With High-Calorie Toppings
It’s easy to accidentally turn a healthy snack into an unhealthy one by adding high calorie toppings to fruit. For example, topping your banana or apple slices with peanut butter, honey or chocolate sauce can quickly add up the calories and derail your weight loss efforts. It is best to keep your toppings simple and stick to healthy options such as a small amount of nut butter or yogurt.
6. Eating Too Many Processed Snacks
While many snacks that are marketed as “healthy” such as granola bars or trail mix contain dried fruits, they are often highly processed and high in added sugars and fats. These types of snacks can be just as bad for weight loss as eating a bag of chips. It is important to check the labels and look for snacks that are made with real, whole ingredients.
How To Eat Fruit For Weight Loss According To Nutritionists
It’s no secret that fruits are an important part of any healthy diet, but did you know that they can also be a great way to help you reach your weight-loss goals? Nutritionists recommend incorporating more fruits into your daily routine and swapping out unhealthy snacks for nutritious fruit-based snacks. Here are some tips on how to use fruit for weight loss.
1. Choose The Right Fruits
Not all fruits are created equal when it comes to weight loss. Some (hello, mangoes and bananas!) are high in calories, so they aren’t the best choice if you’re trying to shed a few pounds.
Others (like apples and blueberries) are packed with fiber, which can help keep you satiated longer. For optimal weight loss, nutritionists recommend sticking to fruits that are low in calories and high in fiber.
2. Eat Your Fruit Whole
When it comes to eating fruit for weight loss, it’s best to stick with the whole fruit, not juices or smoothies. Store-bought juices and smoothies can contain added sugars, which can be counterproductive to your weight-loss goals. Eating the whole fruit ensures that you get all of the beneficial nutrients like fiber and antioxidants without any added calories (10).
3. Pair Your Fruit With Protein
Pairing your fruit with a healthy source of protein can help keep you feeling full longer and prevent overeating. Try adding a scoop of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to your morning smoothie, topping your apple slices with almond butter, or having an afternoon snack of hummus and sliced pears.
4. Get Creative
When it comes to eating fruit for weight loss, there are plenty of ways to get creative. Try adding sliced strawberries or blueberries to your oatmeal, top a salad with mandarin oranges and almonds, or have a snack of yogurt topped with fresh raspberries. There’s no one right way to eat fruit – the key is that you are incorporating it into your diet regularly and mindfully.
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5. Track Your Fruit Intake
A common mistake many people make is to overlook fruit when tracking their daily calorie intake. Even though fruits are healthy, they still contain calories and can add up quickly if you’re not careful. So make sure to track your fruit consumption so that you can stay within your daily calorie goals.
6. Consider Carb Cycling
If you’re looking for more advanced weight-loss strategies, consider carb cycling. This involves alternating days of lower and higher carb intake, with the lower carb days focusing on mostly fruits and vegetables. Carb cycling can help boost your metabolism and optimize your energy levels, making it an effective way to reach your weight-loss goals.
7. Consider Timing
Timing is also important when it comes to eating fruit for weight loss. Eating fruit before a workout, for example, can provide your body with the energy it needs to push through a tough exercise.
Eating fruit after a workout, on the other hand, can help replenish lost glycogen stores so that your muscles can recover. Paying attention to when you eat your fruit can make all the difference in helping you reach your weight-loss goals.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, eating fruit can be part of a healthy weight loss diet, however it is important to be mindful of portion sizes and types of toppings you use. Eating too much fruit or replacing meals with fruit juices can lead to weight gain instead of weight loss.
Eating processed snacks with added sugars and fats should also be avoided.By being mindful of these things and including plenty of lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats in your diet you can ensure that fruit is just one part of a balanced approach to weight loss.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A Comprehensive Critical Assessment of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Intake on Weight Loss in Women (2020, nih.gov)
- Dietary fiber and body weight (2005, nih.gov)
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans (1995, health.gov)
- Effects of fruit consumption on body mass index and weight loss in a sample of overweight and obese dieters enrolled in a weight-loss intervention trial (2010, nih.gov)
- Food as Fuel Before, During and After Workouts (2015, nih.gov)
- Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables1 (2012, nih.gov)
- Paradoxical Effects of Fruit on Obesity (2016, nih.gov)
- The Gut Microbiome and Its Role in Obesity (2017, nih.gov)
- The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance (2015, nih.gov)
- Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects (2018, nih.gov)