Pineapples have been the focus of quite a few fad diets. From the 2-day or 3-day pineapple diet to the pineapple detox, these meal regimens revolve around this fruit’s arsenal of healthy nutrients. These components are thought to flush out toxins and leave you energized and ready to go. But how do these diets work? And do they even work at all?
What’s The Pineapple Diet?
The idea of a pineapple diet is to eat nothing but this tropical fruit during the entire time. Meal plans revolve around eating 2 kg of pineapple during the day and drinking plenty of water to keep you hydrated and flush out the toxins. Some people also consume pineapple juice in between the “meals” while on the diet. In a 2-week long version of this diet, other foods are consumed alongside regular pineapple intake. However, fat intake is eliminated and carbs are minimized. You can eat lean meat and enjoy fresh vegetables and fruit, though.
Why Go Bananas Over Pineapple
There’s no question that pineapples are making waves as a diet food. But what exactly is going in their favor?
1. Power Up With Vitamins And Minerals
What does the average serving of pineapple contain? To start, plenty of minerals and vitamins. If you eat one cup (165 mg), you’ll get 180 mg of potassium, 21 mg of calcium, 20 mg of magnesium, 79 mg of vitamin C, 96 IU of vitamin A and 30 mg of folate. Plus, there’s 2.3 gm of fiber to bulk up your diet. You’ll get around 21.6 gm of carbs per serving, giving you substantial energy. To top it off, it’s completely cholesterol-free and has just 0.2 gm of fat. It isn’t hard to see why a pineapple would seem like the perfect diet food.1
2. Improve Digestion
Pineapple aids digestion by helping bowel movements and emptying your stomach. Researchers have found that fresh pineapple juice improves gastrointestinal motility. This is important if you’re trying to “cleanse” your body and purge waste and toxins.2
The bromelain in pineapple is an enzyme that helps digest protein. Incidentally, this makes it a good medium for tenderizing meat while cooking. For those on a weight-loss plan, it can help overall digestion even if you aren’t on an exclusive pineapple diet.3
3. Burn Fat With Bromelain
The bromelain in pineapples has also been investigated for its potential to combat obesity and burn fat. Some research has found that it can inhibit adipogenesis (creation of fat cells) and augment lipolysis (breakdown of fat).4 More research, however, is needed on this aspect before pineapples can be pegged as an official diet food.
Why You May Need To Press Pause
A pineapple-only diet, with its trove of antioxidant-rich vitamin C and bromelain, seems like a great choice, doesn’t it? But, no, there’s more to this diet than meets the eye. Here’s why you should be wary:
1. High Sugar
Pineapple has a fairly high level of sugar. This can be bad news for anyone trying to lose weight or has diabetes, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, or other problems processing sugar. Drinking just one glass of juice (125 gm) can pump 25 gm of sugar into your system.5 It’s not too different from those sugary sodas that you’ve likely sworn off. A cup of the fruit delivers 16 gm of sugar, not much less than a can of soda.6
2. High Acidity
The other problem is that the fruit is quite acidic. This can cause minor irritation and sores in the stomach, tongue, or mouth if eat too much or have them too often. This is also why a pineapple-only diet isn’t a good idea, especially if you’re prone to digestive problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn.7
3. Missing Nutrients
Another issue with a pineapple-only diet is that you completely miss out on nutrients like iron and zinc, along with vitamins A and E. These are vital for crucial processes like hemoglobin production and cellular metabolism. Most importantly, pineapples have virtually no protein, a macronutrient you can’t afford to live without. This is exactly why other variations on the pineapple diet have emerged, like the “Pineapple And Tuna” diet. This allows you to alternate between fresh pineapple and tuna for meals or snacks, ensuring that you get protein and healthy fats. On the flip side, the mercury in tuna can cause severe headaches when eaten in large quantities in a short time. Again, a no-win situation!
4. Fanning The Problem – And Your Appetite
If you’re trying to rein in that appetite, pineapple could have the opposite effect. The juice doesn’t have much fiber, meaning that it won’t keep you full for very long. What’s worse, the fructose in pineapple can actually trigger a greater appetite, causing you to overeat. Fructose isn’t even as effective as glucose in keeping you satiated, either.8
So, What’s The Verdict?
If you’re wondering whether to go on a pineapple-only diet, it isn’t a great idea. A healthy way to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet, limit your overall calorie intake, and stay physically active. Drastically losing weight in a couple of days through an extreme diet will eventually backfire. Not only is it detrimental to the integrity of your metabolism, you’ll end up losing muscle and water weight. Instead, aim to knock off a pound or two every week by cutting back on calories, building muscle, and eating a variety of nutrients.9
If you still want to try dieting with pineapple, what’s your best bet? Probably diets that include pineapple along with other foods. Get in fresh vegetables and fruit, lean protein, whole grains, probiotics like yogurt, and use little to no fat in your cooking. Supplement this routine with about 100 gm of pineapple at every meal. Remember, the key is to ensure you get all the nutrients you need and not diet for more than a few days at a time. In fact, play it safe and chart your diet plan with help from a doctor or nutritionist.
|↑1, ↑6||Pineapple, raw, all varieties, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. USDA.|
|↑2||NWANKUDU, ON, SN IJIOMA, and C. NWOSU. “EFFECTS OF FRESH JUICES OF ANANAS COMOSUS (PINEAPPLE) AND CARICA PAPAYA (PAW PAW) ON GASTRO INTESTINAL MOTILITY.”|
|↑3||Beneficial Bromelain: How an Enzyme Found in Pineapple Relieves Indigestion. Best Health Magazine.|
|↑4||Dave, Sandeep, Naval Jit Kaur, Ravikanth Nanduri, H. Kitdorlang Dkhar, Ashwani Kumar, and Pawan Gupta. “Inhibition of adipogenesis and induction of apoptosis and lipolysis by stem bromelain in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.” PloS one 7, no. 1 (2012): e30831.|
|↑5||Pineapple juice, canned or bottled, unsweetened, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. USDA.|
|↑7||Gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑8||Davies, Rachael. “Effect of fructose on overeating visualised.” The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 1 (2013): s7.|
|↑9||Work out how much weight you need to lose. NHS.|