How and Which Fruits to Use When Managing Weight

by Marixie Ann Obsioma, MT, undergrad MD on May 5, 2021
Last updated on May 20, 2021

Using more fruits, along with vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and beans, is a safe and healthy way to lose or maintain weight. In addition, diets rich in fruits may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.

How and Which Fruits to Use When Managing Weight

Can Eating More Fruits Help You Lose Weight?

Fruits are packed with natural sugar in the form of fructose and many vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C and beta-carotene. Some research even shows fruits can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

So generally speaking, eating fruits, in moderation, is healthy for you. It’s often recommended to increase your intake of whole fruit, not fruit juice, when you’re looking to revamp your diet and eat healthier. Plus, fruit makes a great addition to meals as a natural sweetener and is a good snack to grab instead of chips or cookies.

That being said, even when you consider the benefits of fruit and why it should be included as part of a balanced diet, people should generally keep their fruit intake to no more than 25% to 30% of their diet to avoid nutritional imbalances.

A better dietary approach is to still include fish, lean meat, vegetables and other plant based foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, plant based oils and whole grains.

Fruit consumption also showed an inverse relationship with body weight, while vegetable consumption showed no effect. Increase in fruit intake was tied up with eventual weight loss and has distinctive contributions in the management of body weight (1). It will not take long to notice the change in your weight and overall physique once you start eating fruits frequently. This simple change in diet will help you control your weight, but hitting the gym regularly is still a must.

Fruits fill you up in time for the next meal, so you become less tempted to snack badly. Satiation and satiety being when the food is consumed and carry on as it proceeds to the digestive tract (2). Fiber enriched fruits can keep you satiated for a long time. Also, the sweetness of some fruits make them ideal desserts and putting an end to those chocolate cravings.

Fruits are almost 90 to 95 percent water. Aside from packing only a few calories, they also impart a diuretic or laxative effect. Waste products and toxins are easily flushed out from your system, leaving your gut clean and keeping those pounds at bay.

Weight loss seems to be a challenging feat for a lot of people, so it is refreshing to realize that something as easy as increasing your fruit intake can be done to speed up the process. Before heading to the grocery and stocking up on various fruits, you might want to read the rest of the article. Below are some of the best fruits that can lead to weight loss.

13 Best Fruits You Should Take When Dieting

1. Apple

Low calories? Check. High in dietary fiber? Check. It only has 116 calories but contains about 5.4 grams of dietary fiber in 223 grams or one large apple (3). Apples are very filling so you might not need to reach out and grab a chocolate bar, which is by the way thrice less feeling than an apple (4).

Besides keeping the doctor away, an apple a day can help you lose weight. In a comparative study involving apples, oats, and pears (all under the same number of calories), the women who ate apples every day for 10 weeks were able to lose the most number of pounds – 2 pounds, to be precise (5).

Five studies proved that eating apples or drinking apple juice with 240 to 720 mg/d in one to three months caused weight loss in people who are considered plus size (6).

2. Berries

Aside from being delicious and great sources of antioxidants, berries are low in calories with tons of nutrients. A half cup of blueberries can give you the 12 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for manganese and vitamin C, plus 18 percent of for vitamin K. A cup of strawberries has 150 percent of vitamin C’s RDI and 30 percent for manganese, plus 3 grams of fiber. Berries, like apples, are filling so it can prevent binge-eating or the need for munchies.

The natural chemicals like anthocyanins found in berries help in alleviating conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which can cause fat accumulation around the waist area (7).

3. Melons

Melons do not have too many calories but have high water content. One cup of melon has only 46 to 61 calories.

Even if melons are low in calories, they are abundant in potassium, fiber, and antioxidants like vitamin C, lycopene, and beta-carotene (8).

Consuming fruits that are abundant in water also help lessen the weight. But, you need to be careful. Monitor the portion because some of these fruits have a high gastrointestinal index.

4. Bananas

People always overlook bananas as part of their weight loss program. Bananas, after all, have high calorie and high sugar content. Bananas do contain high calories, but it contains high in nutrients like magnesium, fiber, manganese, and potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B6.

The GI of bananas is low and medium. Bananas can take control of the insulin levels which in turn helps regulate weight. This is evident in people who have diabetes (9).

5. Avocados

Rich in fats and calorie-dense, avocado is a staple in the keto diet. An avocado has 160 calories, so it is pretty rich in calories, as well. But a 100 grams of it has 25 percent of the RDI for vitamin K and 20 percent of folate.

Avocados can suppress hunger. One study offered the same calorie count in every meal for two groups with one group eating avocado during breakfast. That group was given thrice the amount of fat and one third fewer carbohydrates as the control group’s meal. The participants who had avocados for breakfast felt more satisfied than those who did not. They also mentioned feeling less hungry after having an avocado after their meals (10).

6. Oranges

Citrus fruits contain high levels of fiber and vitamin C. Oranges, despite the low calories, are very filling. As a matter of fact, oranges prove to be more filling than a croissant and a muesli bar.

Some slimming pills use bitter oranges as the primary ingredients for its ability to burn fat, curb appetite, and improve metabolism.

7. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a cross between a pomelo and an orange and is commonly associated with dieting and weight loss.

A serving of half a grapefruit has 65 percent of the RDI for vitamin C with its 39 calories. The red grapefruit also packs 28% of vitamin A’s RDI. Grapefruit scores low on the glycemic index level. Monitoring a low GI diet can help in the maintenance of current weight or decreased pounds.

A study conducted on obese people who were given grapefruit or grapefruit juice before big meals in a span of 12 weeks has shown promising results. There were a lower calorie intake, better cholesterol level, and a 7.1 percent decrease in weight (11). Another study stated that grapefruit showed blood pressure and lipid profile improvements (12).

The myth that grapefruit can help in weight loss seems to be a myth in itself.

8. Kiwis

These small, brown-colored fruits with a tinge of green or yellow flesh and black seeds are packed with nutrients. They contain high amounts of vitamins C and E, folate, and fiber, which are all beneficial (1314). A small, peeled fruit already contains 2 grams of fiber. Add that to the extra gram that its skin can offer. High fiber can help increase feelings of fullness and promote weight loss.

Evidence shows that patients with prediabetes may get higher levels of vitamin C, reduced blood pressure, and a waist size reduction of 3.1 centimeters by just eating two pieces of kiwis daily for 12 weeks (15). More studies note that kiwis can also help improve cholesterol, control blood sugar, and support gut health, which may help with weight loss (1617).

9. Passion Fruit

A favorite in South America, this fruit grows beautifully in vines. It has low-calorie content and an excellent source of vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, and fiber, which can help curb your appetite.

Its edible seeds also contain piceatannol, which is well associated with reductions in BP and enhanced insulin sensitivity in overweight men (18).

10. Stone Fruits

For sure, you have heard of drupes or seasonal fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots. Do you like them? You should! They are low calorie, low GI, and nutrient-rich fruits perfect for weight loss. Most of them including, a medium-sized peach, two small plums, or four apricots, would provide just approximately 60 calories or less. These are perfect substitutes to unhealthy snacks like chips or cookies.

11. Tart Cherries

Cherries may taste best on top of an ice cream sundae. But if you’re trying to lose weight the oh-so-tiny and sweet fruit is not only pretty damn good on its own, but may also support fat loss. In one 12-week study by the University of Michigan, rats who were fed antioxidant-rich tart cherries showed a 9-percent greater belly fat reduction compared to rats who didn’t chow on cherries.

Are humans rats? No. But, the study also found cherry consumption had the profound ability to reduce inflammation, which the researchers noted supports the idea that eating inflammation-fighting foods (like cherries) is beneficial for weight loss. So, nosh on!

12. Watermelon

Watermelon sometimes gets a bad rap for being high in sugar. After all, one slice has 18 grams of sugar. But, compared to another summer snack like ice cream, watermelon is way more nutritious. Plus, science says it’s one of the best fruits for fat and weight loss!

In one study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, researchers fed one group of mice watermelon extract for 12 weeks, and another group of mice none. At the end of the study, those that had been fed watermelon extract, had lost more body weight and fat mass compared to the non-watermelon eating group.

13. Grapefruit

There’s a popular, but misleading, food rumor that eating grapefruit burns more calories than it contains. It’s a myth that grapefruit is a negative calorie food; No food is! But, high-in-fiber, low-in-calories, and flavorful still makes it a good addition to a weight loss plan.

While there’s no wrong time to scarf down the ruby fruit, according to one study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, eating half a grapefruit before meals may be most beneficial for weight and fat loss. For the six-week study, researchers found that participants who ate grapefruit before every meal saw their belly’s shrink by up to an inch. Why not consider having half of a grapefruit before your morning oatmeal, and slicing a few segments to a starter salad?

Tips for Making Fruits Part of Your Weight Management Plan

1. Eat fruits the way nature provided or with fat-free or low-fat cooking techniques.

Adding fruits to vegetables and eating them with low-fat dressings or herbs and spices to add flavor is a good option. Salad is one great example.

2. Canned or frozen fruits are also good options.

Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as the fresh varieties. However, be careful to choose those without added sugar, syrup, cream sauces, or other ingredients that will add calories.

3. Choose whole fruit over fruit drinks and juices. Fruit juices have lost fiber from the fruit.

It is better to eat the whole fruit because it contains the added fiber that helps you feel full. One 6-ounce serving of orange juice has 85 calories, compared to just 65 calories in a medium orange.

Whole fruit gives you a bigger size snack than the same fruit dried, for the same number of calories.

A small box of raisins (1/4 cup) is about 100 calories. For the same number of calories, you can eat 1 cup of grapes.

Other Benefits of Regular Fruit Consumption Other Than Weight Loss 

Numerous studies have been conducted to support the fact that fruits are nutritious and not just delicious.

  • Incorporating fruits in your diet can lower the odds of encountering stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes when you get older.
  • Cancer is an untreatable disease and one that not any of us will want to get entangled with. Adding fruit to your diet may help you stay protected from some cancers. In fact, one study concluded that vegetable intake alone did not have any significant impact on the survival rate of those with breast cancer. However, it showed that consistent intake of fruits might have a small positive effect on those afflicted with diseases (19).
  • The phytochemicals found in fruits can substantially help you in giving your diet the much-needed health boost. Unfortunately, the mechanisms of how most of them are able to do that remain unknown (20).
  • The dietary fiber found in most fruits improves the flow of the digestive tract and ensures that the processes involved will go smoothly. Thus, lowering the chances of diverticulosis and constipation from occurring. But that is not all dietary fiber can do for you. If you increase your intake of dietary fiber by up to 8 grams daily, the risk of having diabetes mellitus type 2, coronary heart disease, and colorectal cancer decreases by about 5 to 27 percent. Consumption of 25grams to 29 grams of dietary fiber every day is the ideal amount to keep yourself protected (21).
  • Some fruits can help aid in keeping the bone healthy by improving bone density. This is very characteristic of fruits rich in vitamin K and calcium. One study incorporated fruits, vegetables, and herbs in their subject’s eating pattern and it seems to have an effect on the metabolic, inflammatory, and bone aspects of health (22).
  • Fruits rich in potassium can lower your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. This same nutrient can lower the chances of getting kidney stones and suffering from decreased bone density as you get older.
  • The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in fruits can nourish the skin and keep it looking supple and moisturized. The nutrients can fight off free radicals, so you can maintain your radiant skin for years to come. According to one study, including fruits and vegetables in your diet is the safest way to have a youthful glow, instead of taking high doses of non-physiological isolated antioxidants (23). Fruits are not only for aging skin. You might be able to shun medical grade ointments and creams for your acne if you eat your fair share of fruits. Sometimes, acne can be a cause of gut problems. If you eat fruits that contain pectin, you will no longer need to deal with constipation. Some fruits have cleansing and skin rejuvenating properties that can make your acne go away, as well.
  • Fruits can also be good for your hair. If your hair is lacking in luster, vitamin A rich foods can help you. Citrus fruits can also stimulate hair. If you have been suffering from hair loss or grey hair, loading up on fruits when your stomach is empty seem to help.

The Bottomline 

Start investing your money on fruits and other natural produce. Fruits have different ways of facilitating weight loss. Try eating a variety of them for good measure. Aside from losing weight, you’ll also give your body a regular healthy dose of nutrients.

References

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