Have you ever wondered if eating fruit will make you fat? If it could cause weight gain? Because of the high sugar content and high carbohydrate content in fruits, many researchers have looked into just this question.
You’ll find the answer here. Scientific research has shown that eating more whole fruit will not cause weight gain. In fact, just the opposite is true. Incorporating more whole fruit into your diet may help with weight loss.
Historically, our hunter and gatherer ancestors ate a tremendous amount of fruit. Today, it’s estimated that less than 10% of most Western populations consume adequate amounts of whole fruits and dietary fiber. The recommended daily intake is 40 to 50 grams of fiber every day. Yet only about 3% of men and 6% of women habitually consume over 14 grams of fiber per day. This intake is about half of the recommended levels.
Fruit fiber is a relatively small component of the total dietary fiber consumed in populations eating Western diets. Between the years of 2015 and 2020, dietary guidelines for Americans named fiber as a major shortfall nutrient and it became an important public health concern. The low fiber Western diet has contributed to an increased risk of weight gain, inflammation, chronic diseases, and other health concerns. There is also an increased risk of colonic, or intestinal micro bacteria dysbiosis causing the growth of bad bacteria in your gut, and reducing the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. A growing number of human trials support the prebiotic effects of whole fruit and fruit fiber in promoting a healthy microbiome in the gut for gut health, for brain health, for immune health.
In 2016, a dose-response randomized control trial with 122 individuals consuming fruit found that the fiber content of fruit and vegetables was more important than the polyphenol (or antioxidant) content found in those fruits and vegetables.
A number of protective cohort studies have observed associations between diets containing fruits and vegetables, and weight control, weight loss, and risk of obesity. A study in 2015, systematically reviewed a meta-analysis 17 studies of over 500,000 participants showed that fruit intake was associated with modest reductions in body weight, waist circumference, and a reduced risk of obesity by about 17%.
In 2016, a review article concluded that consumption of increased levels of whole fruit was uniquely protective against weight gain and obesity. Pooled data from three United States protective studies, including nurses health studies and health professionals, showed that over 100,000 men and women showed improvement in weight and reduced risks for obesity.
There was a longitudinal study done in Australia on women’s health. Over six years with a group of 4,000 women, the study found that women who consumed 117 grams of fruits and vegetables gained less weight than those consuming fewer fruits and vegetables.
Health Benefits of Fruit
Evidence of the health benefits of consuming adequate levels of whole fruits has been steadily growing, especially regarding their bioactive fiber, prebiotic effects, role in improving weight loss, weight control, wellness, and healthy aging. Whole fruit contains water, fiber, and powerful antioxidants important in a healthy diet. The beneficial health effects of consuming whole fruit include:
- Improving gut health
- Lowering elevate LDL cholesterol
- Reducing the risk of excessive weight gain and obesity
- Decreasing risk factors for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and mortality risk
- Reducing risks of several types of cancers, stroke, and type II diabetes
Eating whole fruits is the best way to get the nutrients you need. However, you could try to get your intake through juices too. Although most of the fiber from whole fruit is removed from fruit juice processing, 100% fruit juice should contain similar levels of other healthy vitamins and minerals.
Fun Fact: Frozen fruit may provide more bioavailable proanthocyanidins than even fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is still recommended but frozen fruit are an acceptable alternative in a healthy diet. Avoid dried fruit because it removes water and degrades some of the powerful antioxidants contained in the fruit.
Now, there are a few caveats you should know about. There are high glycemic fruits and low glycemic fruits. These are different and can impact blood sugar control and risk factors for obesity, risk factors for diabetes. High glycemic fruits include bananas, pineapples, watermelons, dates, raisins, passion fruit, and mango. Lower glycemic fruits include cherries, berries, apricots, pears, apples, grapefruits, plums, and peaches.
Another caveat is that there are some fruits that are listed to be at risk for pesticides. For these fruits, you want to try to make sure to go organic as often as you can. These are fruits like strawberries, nectarines, apples, peaches, cherries, and pears.
Let us know what your favorite fruits are and how they have impacted your health and wellbeing!
If you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.
I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!