Can you eat sugary fruit when trying to lose weight? Sounds like a no brainer but it turns out the answer might not be what you expected.

Will an apple a day help keep pounds away?

When we typically think of fruit, we think low calorie, healthy treat. While it’s true that fruit is full of healthy fiber – which keeps the digestive system running smoothly and helps you feel fuller longer so you are less likely to overeat –it is also true that fruit contains a good bit of fructose. For example, one medium apple has about 19grams of naturally occurring sugar or fructose. To put that number in context, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently revised its recommendation for daily sugar intake to around six teaspoons or 25 grams. You can get one teaspoon of sugar with just one tablespoon of ketchup. It is easy to see how daily sugar intake can far exceed healthy amounts. And don’t forget about the carbs! Many fruits pack more than a few. Added sugar, carbs and calories, even from fruit, can equal added pounds.

The problem with fructose

Fructose, a simple sugar, is processed only by your liver. If your liver already has enough energy anything extra will be stored as fat. This could lead to weight gain. Further, in an article of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled, Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome, researchers found that, “Fructose consumption induces insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hypertriacylglycerolemia, and hypertension in animal models. The data in humans are less clear.” Why take a chance if you are trying to move the scale? Scale back on the fruit when your diet is in high gear. Although you will have the benefit of fiber from fruit to slow digestion so your liver does not become overwhelmed, it is a good idea to reduce consumption or enjoy fruits with lower sugar and carb content when you are trying to lose weight.

Low sugar, low carb fruit choices

fresh berries on white background

Good choices include berries (raspberries, strawberries), stone fruits (peaches and plums) and watermelon. If you do reach for other kinds of fruit go for the small apple or reach for a clementine rather than a navel orange.

Other options…
Vegetables are great choices when you are working to whittle your waistline. Just be sure to enjoy them without too much of the high fat extras (dressing, oil, and mayo). Don’t worry about feeling deprived if you really love fruit. Too much of anything – even fruit – can cause weight gain. Enjoy it in moderation. If you want a diet jump start and need to cut out fruit, know that you can add it back later.