Fruit may not seem like the most obvious choice for someone who’s trying to knock off some extra weight. And yet, mounting research seems to indicate some fruits can actually help you in your effort. The best bit about using fruit to lose weight is you’ll almost feel like you’re cheating and indulging yourself – but without the guilt afterward!
What Fruits Should You Eat?
With a host of options available, how do you go about choosing the right ones? Not all fruit are created alike, so you will need to make smart choices. Here’s some help to get you started.
- Fiber-packed avocados can improve your lipid profile, and the omega-9 fatty acids in it can regulate your appetite, helping you lose weight by making you eat less.1
- Eating antioxidant-rich pomegranates is a natural way to kickstart your metabolism and also treat hyperlipidemia.2
- Apples can help restrict the absorption of fat by the cells in your body due to the effect of pectin.3
- Grapefruit enzymes lower the levels of circulating lipids in your blood, causing total cholesterol to drop significantly.4
- Blueberries with their peel on are a good way to prevent belly fat accumulation.5
- Fiber-rich fruit like pears or oranges are a smart choice as they lower levels of serum cholesterol and fill you up without using up too much of your daily calorie limit.6
Striking The Right Balance
The USDA data on the quantum of added sugars the average American consumes is staggering. At last estimates, as much as 25 percent of the dietary calorie intake of the typical American comprised added sugars. Over the course of a year, that amounted to 142 pounds of sugar!7 If you drink sweetened drinks, sodas, packaged cereals, granola, sugary snacks, cookies, or candy, you’d do well to lay off those and up your vegetable and fruit intake.
While fruits make a superior choice over sugary snacks or processed sweets and desserts, you can’t survive on a diet of fruit alone. Having fruit also isn’t a free pass to skipping your vegetables. Vegetables have their own nutritional benefits. More importantly, the high fructose levels and glycemic index (GI) values of some fruit make them a questionable choice for some people. For instance, if you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing metabolic syndrome, the sugars in some fruits are best avoided by you. As the Diabetes Association cautions, eating foods with a high GI can cause your blood glucose to rise more and should be avoided. Melons, pineapple, and pumpkins are therefore better left alone. Other low GI fruits (such as cherries, grapefruit, or apples), however, can be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet.8 Studies have also found that high fructose levels may have a role to play in triggering metabolic syndrome.9 So balance is key. Ensure you get in adequate quantities of fresh vegetables, legumes, whole grain, lean protein, and some fruit every day to help you on your weight loss journey.
Juiced, Preserved, Processed, Fresh: How Do You Have Your Fruit?
As important as what fruit you eat is how you eat it. Dried fruits, for instance, are high in fructose levels, as are most canned or preserved fruit, and fruit juices and concentrates. The processing also causes many of the nutrients to be leached or diminished in quantity, making them less healthy than if you were to eat a fruit whole/raw. This is especially true of heat-preserved products which cause water soluble vitamins and minerals to be degraded. If you’re picking juices or concentrates, chances are they may contain added sugar and preservatives, and a fair bit of the fiber will also be lost. So stock up on that fresh fruit from the local market or supermarket, and munch on a whole apple or a freshly peeled orange rather than relying on pre-peeled, dried, or preserved fruit or juice.
|↑1||Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 53, no. 7 (2013): 738-750.|
|↑2||Esmaillzadeh, Ahmad, Farideh Tahbaz, Iraj Gaieni, Hamid Alavi-Majd, and Leila Azadbakht. “Concentrated pomegranate juice improves lipid profiles in diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia.” Journal of medicinal food 7, no. 3 (2004): 305-308.|
|↑3||Kumar, Amit, and Ghanshyam S. Chauhan. “Extraction and characterization of pectin from apple pomace and its evaluation as lipase (steapsin) inhibitor.” Carbohydrate Polymers 82, no. 2 (2010): 454-459.|
|↑4||Dow, Caitlin A., Scott B. Going, Hsiao-Hui S. Chow, Bhimanagouda S. Patil, and Cynthia A. Thomson. “The effects of daily consumption of grapefruit on body weight, lipids, and blood pressure in healthy, overweight adults.” Metabolism 61, no. 7 (2012): 1026-1035.|
|↑5||Song, Yuno, Hyoung Joon Park, Suk Nam Kang, Sun-Hee Jang, Soo-Jung Lee, Yeoung-Gyu Ko, Gon-Sup Kim, and Jae-Hyeon Cho. “Blueberry peel extracts inhibit adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells and reduce high-fat diet-induced obesity.” PloS one 8, no. 7 (2013): e69925.|
|↑6||Anderson, James W., Pat Baird, Richard H. Davis, Stefanie Ferreri, Mary Knudtson, Ashraf Koraym, Valerie Waters, and Christine L. Williams. “Health benefits of dietary fiber.” Nutrition reviews 67, no. 4 (2009): 188-205.|
|↑7||Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005, USDA.|
|↑8||Glycemic Index and Diabetes, American Diabetes Association.|
|↑9||Nakagawa, Takahiko, Hanbo Hu, Sergey Zharikov, Katherine R. Tuttle, Robert A. Short, Olena Glushakova, Xiaosen Ouyang et al. “A causal role for uric acid in fructose-induced metabolic syndrome.” American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology 290, no. 3 (2006): F625-F631.|