Many weight loss plans promote eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. But what is “plenty”? To many of us, it may sound like an invitation to nosh on sweet, juicy fruits all day long.
Fresh fruit is good for us and solid scientific research supplies ample evidence regarding the beneficial nutrients and antioxidants in various fruits. However, eating too much fruit can actually hinder weight loss.
Unfortunately, fruit could be a roadblock for some individuals trying to lose unwanted pounds.
Let’s look at both sides of this discussion about fruit and weight loss to get a clearer view of the facts about fruit and weight loss.
Fruit Can Aid Weight Loss
Most experts encourage eating fruit as part of a healthy diet. That goes for everyone, whether we need to lose weight or not.
For individuals who need to shed unwanted pounds, fruit can be beneficial for several reasons:
- Fruit is less calorie-dense than many other foods. When fruit is consumed in place of foods like sugary sweets and other high calorie foods, this can reduce overall calorie intake, and in turn, can help some individuals lose weight.
- Fruit is full of good carbs. Carbohydrates get a bad rap, especially when it comes to weight loss. However, that is not accurate, especially when it comes to natural, complex carbohydrate foods like fruit.
- Fruit is filled with fiber. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate, is in abundant supply in most fruits, which is a weight loss bonus because dietary fiber slows digestion and keeps us feeling full and satisfied long after we eat.
- Fruits are full of hydrating water. The high water content of most fruits contributes to a long-lasting full feeling that can stave off hunger for hours.
Fruits are also:
- Virtually fat-free
- Rich in vitamins and nutrients
But, there’s a flip side to all these fantastic fruit facts.
Fruit Can Hinder Weight Loss for Some
The sugar in fruit can pose an issue for some individuals when it comes to fruit consumption and weight loss. Fruit naturally contains sugar in the form of fructose. Fructose is also the natural sugar found in vegetables and in honey.
Most fruit is high in fructose; however, the amount of fructose we get from fruits and vegetables is typically not an issue if our diet is balanced and we aren’t eating fruit in excess.
However, if we do consume fructose in excess, it is transformed to fat and stored for later use.
If you’re trying to lose weight with little success and you’re consuming more than 2-3 pieces of fruit each day, you may consider cutting that amount in half to see if it has a positive effect on your weight loss efforts.
Another approach is to focus on lower sugar fruits, and to limit fruits highest in sugar.
To help you with that, here are some examples of some lower sugar fruits:
Lemons and limes
Additional tips for making fruit a healthy part of your diet:
If selecting canned fruits, be sure to buy those in natural juice versus heavy syrup.
Look for frozen fruits with only “fruit” as the ingredient.
Limit serving sizes for dried fruits and for fruit juices, which are both much higher in calories than fresh fruit.
You may want to reduce your intake of these fruits, which are highest in sugar, if you are trying to lose weight:
Dried fruits like raisins, dates, prunes, apricots, etc.
What are your favorite fruits and how do you incorporate them into your healthy diet?