Weight loss programs and diets are widely followed across America. Every year, a new trend emerges, such as the keto diet or the paleo lifestyle–both of which are grueling regimens that require serious commitment. But weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated. To start with, you just need to eat the right foods and limit your calorie intake. One food that is considered particularly healthy and nutritious is fruit, which many dieters swear by. Let’s explore the weight-loss benefits of fruit.
The nutritional value of fruits
Most fruits are low in calories and contain several key nutrients (potassium, folic acid) and vitamins (vitamins C and K), as well as fiber. Fruit doesn’t have any cholesterol and can lower blood pressure. Eating fruit has even been linked to reduced risks of certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke.
All fruits contain sugar, but the sugar in an apple or banana isn’t the same kind found in baked goods or candy bars. Fruit sugar is made up of glucose and fructose. These types of sugars are metabolized differently by the body than manufactured sugars or sugar alcohols, mainly due to the included fiber and other nutrients. That means the sugar in fruit does not contribute to weight gain, unless you’re eating large amounts of fruit throughout the day.
How fruit helps you lose weight
Fruit contains high levels of fiber, which is known to keep you full for hours. Instead of snacking on a donut or drinking a soda, which will leave you hungry again shortly after, try eating an orange or pear.
If you’re counting calories, there’s no better low-calorie food to include in your diet than fruit. One cup of strawberries contains only 53 calories. A cup of grapes has slightly more, about 62. A medium-sized apple has around 95 calories, and a banana contains around the same. Compare that to a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, which not only has 240 calories but also a whopping 65 grams of sugar.
The science also supports the effects of fruit on weight loss. A large 2015 study showed that each daily serving of fruits was associated with a 0.53-pound reduction in weight. It’s not known exactly what in fruit promotes weight loss, but fiber is thought to be the main component.
How much fruit should I be getting?
To properly use fruit to your advantage, you should know how much of it to consume. Recommendations vary, but most health associations agree that 4 servings per day is most beneficial. One serving of fruit is equal to one apple, one orange, or one banana.
Of course, eating fruit in addition to an unhealthy diet won’t do you any favors. The key is to replace refined sugars with the natural sugars found in fruit. And diet alone isn’t the only part of losing weight–you’ll need to adopt an exercise routine as well. Still, eating fruit instead of sugary processed foods is a great start and will definitely play a role in your weight-loss journey.
Written by Natan Rosenfeld