Does Fruit Cause Weight Gain?
Fruits contain sugar in the form of fructose, and anyone following the latest weight loss trends knows that sugar is now believed to be a leading cause of weight gain. Big food companies are coming under fire for the amount of added sugars and processed sweeteners in their products and the impact it has on our society’s sharp rise in obesity and diabetes.
After publicly shaming fast food and big food companies for their liberal use of trans fats, most of them have changed their ways and the previous target for weight gain, fat, is no longer the focus of diet gurus.
So are fruits safe to eat for a healthy lifestyle and during periods of weight loss?
I say, absolutely! The sugar in fruits is naturally occurring fructose, and fruits are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, and other essential minerals. And the sweetness of fruits makes it easier to curb your sweet tooth with a healthy food choice. Real foods like fruits and veggies aren’t the enemy…processed foods are the real danger!
I feel strongly that raw fruit is the best choice for the most health benefits. But if it is easier for you, I don’t want to discourage you from including canned or frozen fruits too – as long as they don’t contain added sugars or sweeteners. Fruit juice (without added sugar/sweetener) lacks the fiber of raw fruit and is best consumed occasionally.
If you are concerned about all sugar levels in your foods (natural and processed) due to diabetes, some fruits are higher in natural sugars than others and you should most definitely follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Fruits with the lowest amounts of sugar include lemons and limes (in small amounts), rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries*, and cranberries. Fruits with low to medium sugar include strawberries, papaya, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, melons, apples, apricots, and grapefruit. And fruits fairly-high to high in sugar include plums, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, pears, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, mangos, figs, and bananas.
A healthy approach to food is to look at it and ask, “Will my body know what to do with this?” Your body would greatly prefer a 100-calorie fresh banana to a 100-calorie heavily processed granola bar. Look at the number of ingredients in that bar and ask the question again!
If you fear weight gain, I can tell you that I eat at LEAST one banana a day plus other seasonal fruits at each meal when possible (and have for many years), and have maintained or lost weight when I have been most diligent in getting extra fruit in my diet.
* Blackberries are currently in season and so delicious! Check out this easy breakfast recipe that I made in just minutes in a mug – Mini Banana-Blackberry Pancakes. I started with a recipe from Clean Food Creative Fitness and modified it to incorporate my container of juicy blackberries. Absolutely delicious!
The internet is overloaded with opinions for the best time of day to eat fruit. And there are questions about whether fruit can ferment in the stomach when eaten with other foods. Check back for my next post where I will address these current issues.
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I recently wrote this post about Adrian Crouch’s successful weight loss story. Her segment on the Today Show is rescheduled for Monday, January 7th. She will be seen during the Kathie Lee and Hoda hour. Read more on her blog, Chase Fear.
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