How much fruit should I eat a day to lose weight?” There are several answers to this plain and simple question, and it depends on your health status and what type of diet you’re currently eating. Fruit comprises a high volume of water and nutrients and low in calories, and the role it plays to the body is simply amazing. It has beneficial and healthful effects on the heart, digestive system, and brain, as well as muscles and joints.
Eating fruit and weight loss
Fruit is one of the healthiest sources of carbohydrates. Incorporating fruit in the diet, alongside healthy eating and regular exercise, may contribute to weight loss.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025, people should consume 2 cups of fruit per day as part of a balanced diet.
Research also suggests that eating fruit can help reach and maintain a moderate weight. However, it may be that different forms of fruit have differing effects on body weight, according to this 2016 study.
Other studies report that most types of fruit have beneficial properties, including anti-obesity effects, and contain a range of vitamins and minerals. That is why some health organizations suggest fruit consumption for weight loss.
How does fruit help with weight loss?
Fruit may contribute to weight loss in several ways.
Fruit is high in fiber, which is the indigestible part of plants and carbohydrates.
Studies link higher intake of fiber with lower body weight. Fiber can keep people feeling satiated for longer, which may reduce the overall number of calories in a person’s diet.
Authors of a 2019 study report that, as a result of consuming dietary fiber, adults with obesity or overweight following a calorie restricted diet lost weight and stuck to dietary recommendations.
Calories and water content
Many fruits, such as berries and melons, have high water content. As a rich source of both fiber and water, fruits are a filling option that may help people feel full.
Low glycemic index
The glycemic index (GI) measures the effects food has on blood sugar levels.
Foods with a lower GI will cause slower blood sugar changes than foods with a high GI. Experts consider foods with a value lower than 55 to be low GI.
Research indicates that a calorie-controlled low GI diet may be more effective for weight loss than a high GI diet that is low in fat.
While most fruits have a low GI, tropical fruits, such as pineapple, mango, and watermelon, have a moderate or high GI. However, moderate to high GI fruits can still be a part of a healthy diet.
The natural sweetness of fruits may help curb sugar cravings. Choosing fruit instead of cookies or cakes will help a person consume fewer calories and less fat and added sugars while still allowing them to enjoy a sweet treat.
When people use fruit as a substitute for other sweet foods while following a balanced diet, they may experience weight loss.
What is a good serving size of fruits and vegetables?
This is a common question, but the answer is complicated. Fruit servings are 80 grams, which is usually about the size of a tennis ball. This is approximately 1 whole medium sized fruit such as a small banana, pear or apple. The equivalent could be 1/4 cup of dried fruit or fruit juice.
Vegetables can be measured differently depending on what it is and if it’s raw or cooked. A serving of raw leafy veggies is 1 cup, while 1/2 a cup of other vegetables is considered a serving.
Measuring your fruits and veggies daily can be challenging when you are out and about living your life. Try using the MyPlate nutrition guide. According to MyPlate, you should eat more vegetables than fruits, and both combined should be half of your plate.
Top Fruits to Support Weight Loss
High-Fiber Apples Allow You to Get Your Sweet Fix on the Go
Atlanta-based Kristen Smith, RDN, spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and registered dietitian for Piedmont Healthcare, says apples are high in fiber but low in calories, which, like many fruits, makes them a wise food choice if you’re trying to lose weight.
“Foods with increased fiber can help slow digestion and keep you feeling satiated for longer periods of time,” Smith says. “For optimal satiety and fiber intake, keep the skin on.”
One medium-sized apple provides 4.37 grams (g) of fiber, which offers 16 percent of the daily value (DV), along with 96.4 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Past research established the connection between consuming fiber-rich foods and managing weight.
How to Enjoy
Smith recommends topping your favorite salad with apple slices, dipping them in Greek yogurt as a snack, or adding them to oatmeal for natural sweetness.
Protein-rich Greek yogurt provides a whopping 14.9 g in each 150-g container of the plain, low-fat variety, according to the USDA. What’s more, thanks in part to its protein, Greek yogurt can make for a good weight loss companion, noted a review published in July 2015 in Nutrition Reviews. And pairing your apple with oats is also smart for your waistline, considering they offer an extra helping of fiber. According to the USDA, each ½ cup of oats serving provides 4 g, which is 14 percent of the DV.
If you prefer a no-frills snack, simply grab an apple and go. Their portability is part of their appeal.
Raspberries Are One of the Best Sources of Fiber
Because of their sweetness, raspberries can help satisfy a sugar craving, Smith says. These offer fiber as well as antioxidants, which combat harmful substances called free radicals in the body, research has shown. According to the USDA, 1 cup of raspberries has 8 g of fiber, offering 28 percent of the DV and making them an excellent source.
Berries, in particular, are often categorized as superfoods because their high levels of vitamin C and vitamin E, which are antioxidants that help fend off chronic disease, according to a March 2018 article in Frontiers in Pharmacology. A cup of raspberries gives you 32 mg of vitamin C — 35 percent of your DV — and 1.07 mg of vitamin E, 7 percent of your DV, according to the USDA.
How to Enjoy
Though raspberries make good additions to salads and yogurts, too, Smith points out that these make a great snack on their own. Take a break, have a handful, and eat them slowly. You’ll boost your mindful eating, plus get your sweetness.
Whole Oranges, Not Juice, Are Weight Loss-Friendly
A medium-sized orange provides 3.14 g of fiber, or 11 percent of your DV, per the USDA. But that only applies if you’re eating the fruit itself, so keep this in mind if you’re eating to trim your waistline.
“Avoid orange juice and eat a whole or cut-up orange instead,” she says. “Also, oranges are packed with vitamin C, which offer several health benefits, like boosting your immune system, helping your body make collagen, and aiding with iron absorption.” According to the USDA, a medium-sized orange has 69.7 mg of vitamin C, 77 percent of your DV.
How to Enjoy
Whip up an orange salsa, Smith suggests, and use it to top chicken breast or fish to get your vitamin C and protein fix. Making sure you keep up on your protein requirements is a good strategy for weight loss, according to a June 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, because it helps you feel full for longer. Harvard University notes you need 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, so a 150-pound person would need 54 g of protein daily.
Mangoes Are a Metabolism-Boosting Treat
Talk about a major sweetness superhero — mangoes offer that no-sugar fix you want, and they can even help improve your metabolism and lower inflammation, says Lawder. A small, short-term study published in April 2017 in The FASEB Journal found that mango lowered blood pressure and helped with blood sugar regulation, both of which play a role in metabolism. It also improved inflammation markers, the research noted.
And of course, they offer a nice helping of weight-supportive fiber. In one mango, you get 3.31 g of fiber, which is about 12 percent of the DV, per the USDA.
How to Enjoy
After cutting into slices or pieces, sprinkle a little chili powder and lime juice on top, Lawder says. This will provide a flavorful snack; plus, the kick may boost this snack’s weight loss potential. A review published in June 2017 in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition found that the active ingredient in chile peppers, capsaicin, may accelerate weight loss efforts.
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Avocados Have Good Fats to Help You Feel Full Longer
Like tomatoes, you may not think of avocados as a fruit. But while they may look odd in a fruit bowl, avocados can be a top addition when it comes to weight loss goals, says Lawder. That’s because they’re one of the fattiest plant foods available, and the USDA notes that about 77 percent of an avocado’s calories come from fat — the good kind.
“The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in avocados have been linked to better heart health, and they increase your satiation level by a large degree,” Lawder says. Fiber also contributes to avocados’ satiating effect: One-half an avocado provides 4.55 g fiber, or nearly 16 percent of the DV, notes the USDA.
A study published in April 2019 in Nutrients showed that overweight and obese participants who ate avocados as part of a meal felt less hungry after six hours compared with those who’d eaten a low-fat, high-carb meal.
How to Enjoy
After cutting a ripe fruit carefully, throw the pieces into a blender for a green smoothie, Lawder suggests, The texture of the avocado creates a creamy, thicker drink, like a milkshake, and you can add in all sorts of nutritious standouts, like banana, kale, chard, and Greek yogurt.
Bananas Also Help You Feel Full Longer, Thanks to Their Resistant Starch
“Bananas often get badmouthed for being ‘too high’ in carbs,” says Saginaw, Michigan–based dietitian Kelsey Lorencz, RDN. Because fruit is full of natural sugar, which translates into carbs, it’s a common myth that it can contribute to weight gain, she adds. People on a low-carb diet like keto are often advised to avoid fruits like bananas.
“In reality, part of the carbohydrates from bananas are in the form of the fibers pectin and resistant starch. Both of these can actually help regulate blood sugars, not spike it,” says Lorencz. This type of starch earns that label because it is resistant to digestion, previous research notes, and that’s a good thing, because it functions like fiber and slows digestion — which keeps you full for longer, and also keeps blood sugar steady so you maintain energy. That can keep you from a blood sugar slump that has you reaching for a sweet treat to perk back up.
How to Enjoy
There’s a reason these are a such a go-to ingredient for smoothies. They blend well and add that tropical flavor to any mix. For added weight loss clout, throw in a small handful of nuts. Research has found that nuts can aid in weight loss, mainly because they help keep you full for longer thanks to their healthy fat and protein content.
Pineapple Boosts Hydration and Satiety
In addition to another big burst of vitamin C — one cup of chunks provides 78.9 mg, or about 88 percent of the DV, notes the USDA— pineapple has a high water content and hydration has been shown in numerous studies to help with weight loss, says Lorencz.
For example, a prior review noted that several clinical trials have shown that adding water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables to your diet is associated with weight loss, even when participants were not instructed to restrict calories.
WORST FRUIT FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Bananas are a great replacement for a pre-workout energy bar which is why you often see professional tennis players snacking on them in between games. Bananas are filled with fibre and potassium, the former helping digestive health and the latter functioning as an electrolyte. However, with 14 grams of sugar in a medium sized banana, it may not be the best option when cutting weight.
Mangos are one of the most commonly consumed fruits in the world. They are high in vitamins A and C, making them great for healthy skin and hair. They also have anti-ageing qualities and have been proven to lower the chances of breast and colon cancer. Their sugar content is very high though, reaching nearly 31g per mango. Fortunately, mangos are quite large so you can slice or share to lower your sugar intake.
Grapes are an easy and tasty snack. Their skins contain antioxidants such as quercetin and resveratrol, both of which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart problems. These antioxidants also combat low-density lipoprotein or ‘bad’ cholesterol and are great for those looking to lose weight and lower cholesterol. One cup of grapes, however, can contain up to 15g of sugar so they are best used sparingly.
Pomegranates contain many of the vitamins found in mangos and can therefore reduce the risk of heart problems. Various studies have been done into the pomegranate’s impact on physical performance. One such study, found that consumption before exercise can increase performance in athletes. But consider that one pomegranate contains up to 39g of sugar so, to get the most from the fruit, eat one prior to a workout.
Apples have a number of health benefits that make them ideal for weight loss if used in moderation. Their high fibre and water content makes them a filling fruit and popular snack. However, a medium sized apple has a surprisingly high sugar content of 19g, making it the final inclusion of the ‘worst’ fruits for weight loss