Should You Cut Down On Fruit If You’re Trying to Lose Weight?

Here’s the truth about the Mother Nature’s sweet stuff and your waistline

Carbohydrates have taken a beating the last few decades. Oats, sweet potatoes, fruit, and added sugar are very different forms of carbs, but they all find themselves lumped together as “evil.” They’re flatly dismissed by some experts and banned from many popular diets. But can fruit, Mother Nature’s sweet treat, really hurt your waistline or even your health?

Related: The Fruit That Lowers Blood Sugar

What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Fruit:

The confusion lies in the fact that fruit contains sugar, a carbohydrate that spikes your blood sugar. Your blood sugar naturally rises and falls during the day, but constantly elevating your levels can lead to weight gain—and the ills that come with it. But fruit sugar is naturally occurring, and—perhaps most importantly—fruit is also loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, and tons of other nutrients. Fruit’s fibre helps blunt the increase in blood sugar you experience after eating it. That’s why eating, say, an apple or banana won’t produce the same blood sugar spike as eating candy and cookies, which typically contain little fibre. In fact, overwhelming numbers of scientific studies show that people who eat fruit weigh less, and have lower rates of heart disease, blood pressure, cancer, and virtually every other disease.

Related: You Probably Don’t Need to Eat As Many Fruits and Vegetables As You Think

Plus, fruit contains water. “Just 1 cup of blackberries, which are 80 percent water, can assist in daily hydration requirements,” says, Jim White, R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Even “high-sugar” fruits like watermelon aren’t the threat some fruit-phobes want you to believe. Watermelon, while it does contain sugar, is primarily water. As long as you’re not eating an entire watermelon in one sitting, your blood sugar will fair just fine. So, yes, you should eat fruit—whether you’re watching your weight or not. And you likely need to eat way more than you currently are. In fact, according to the 2015-2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, only about 11 percent of us are eating the minimum amount of recommended fruits daily—about 2 cups of the stuff. It’s also important to remember that frozen is just as good as fresh. In fact, one study from the University of Georgia actually found frozen fruit (and vegetables) had more nutrients than their fresh alternatives.

3 Ways to Add More Fruit Into Your Diet:

1. Pair them. Cheese and fruit go together perfectly—flavour-wise and nutritionally. Fruit contains fibre and cheese has protein and fat, both of which help to fill you up. Try an apple with a single-serving snack cheese. Or stir berries into some plain cottage cheese. Crumbled blue cheese and fresh figs are also an incredible combo.

2. Blend them. Add frozen berries to your daily protein smoothie. They make it cold and refreshing, and are loaded with nutrition. It’s the perfect post-workout meal.

Related: Blades Of Glory: We Tested The Best Blenders On The Market And Found A Winner

3. Grill them. The natural sugars in fruits sweeten further on the grill. Just brush watermelon, peaches, plums, or even bananas with a little oil and toss them on the grates until grill marks appear.

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