Is Too Much Fruit Fattening?

 

If you're trying to lose weight or be healthy, do you need to avoid or limit your fruit intake? How many pieces should you be having? 

You will have heard it before: "Fruit is fattening", "Fruit is full of sugar", "You shouldn't eat too much fruit or you'll gain weight". I used to avoid fruit because I thought it has too much sugar and was making me fat. But is fruit actually fattening? 

The short and long answer is hell no. Fruit is not fattening at all.  

In the health world, we have this annoying habit of blaming obesity on healthy foods like fruit, dairy foods, carbohydrates, nuts, avocado etc etc. But, these 'everyday' whole foods are not the problem! It's a red herring. You shouldn't believe everything you read. 

To be honest? The problem is that we generally eat too much treat food like chocolate, cake, pies, soft drink. I know that's a boring answer and not what you want to hear because Pizza - but it's the truth. 

My reaction when people recommend you limit fruit to lose weight. 'Avoid fruit to lose weight' is another thing I wish we'd stop saying!

My reaction when people recommend you limit fruit to lose weight. 'Avoid fruit to lose weight' is another thing I wish we'd stop saying!

If you are trying to lose weight, becoming mindful of how much 'treat food' you eat is way, way, way more useful, effective and efficient than to count your pieces of fruit. 

Fruit has been around forever and for thousand of years, people didn't get fat from fruit. The problem isn't fruit. It's processed, high-energy junk food. 

Taking fruit off limits and making it 'bad' for you is a recipe for disaster

Why? Because it makes you fear a perfectly healthy food. So when you get sweet cravings, you're less likely to turn to a piece of fruit (which is ideal) but rather, keep snooping around for something else that is 'healthier' (like a bliss ball - which is certainly NOT healthier than a piece of fruit) or low-calorie but nutrient-less rice cakes/corn thins. 

Things to know about fruit: 

  • Fruit is actually really healthy. I promise. 

  • Fruit has natural fibre.

  • Fruit is naturally low in calories. (And because of the fibre, your body absorbs fewer calories than you would if you ate a fibre-less item with same amount of calories!)

  • Fruit has sugar (fructose - which is slow burning and reacts differently in your body when packaged in a whole piece of fruit). Not all sugar is bad. 

  • Fruit has antioxidants.

  • You don't binge on fruit!

  • Fruit is whole food.

  • Fruit can give you a healthy glow

  • Fruit is delicious.

  • Fruit is satiating.

  • Fruit is cheap. Click here for more budget-friendly health tips!

  • Fruit consumption is linked with lower risk of disease.

When 50% of Aussie's aren't meeting the very basic recommendation to eat 1-2 pieces of fruit each day, our problem is not that we eat too much fruit - it's that we don't eat enough! 

Want to lose weight still? Do it the healthy way. Don't cut out fruit! Make sure you're hitting the recommended serves of fruit and vegetables per day (aim for at least 7!) If you still have room to eat treat food after you're so full from filling up on the good stuff, become mindful of how much treat food you're eating. Simples! 

What is the Healthiest Way to Eat Fruit? 

Besides from what Instagram makes you think, fruit doesn't have to be fancy to be good for you. You don't need to buy punnets of Blueberries, Acai berries, Goji berries and other trendy berries to get an antioxidant boost. Just eat a whole piece of fruit. 

- Eat fruit whole - 

Munching on a whole piece of fruit, with the skin on, is about as healthy as it gets. It's way healthier than any 'health food' snack or protein ball. And at around $1 a pop, it's a damn cheap and easy way to get healthy. So, when you're hungry for a snack or craving something sweet - bite into an apple, pick up a juicy mandarin, enjoy a punnet of strawberries or eat an banana. Click here for more budget-friendly health tips!

- Eat fruit that is in season -

It's cheaper, tastier and healthier. Read why I think seasonal eating is the bomb and find out some my tips for always knowing what to buy at the shops. 

- All fruits are good fruits - 

Also, there is NO fruit that is healthier for you than others. Don't avoid bananas because you think they have too many carbs. Don't only pick berries because they are lower in sugar. Each fruit has value. Do not discriminate against fruit ;) 

-Try new/different fruits -

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away?" Actually, it's best to try different or new fruits throughout the year. Variety ensures you get a mix of nutrients instead of the same nutrients day-in and day-out. It's more like 'a piece of fruit a day keeps the doctor away". 

Is Fruit Juice Healthy? 

Have you ever juiced your own orange juice? If you have, you'll know that it takes at least six oranges to make a serve of fruit juice! Now, when would you ever sit down to eat six oranges? Pretty much never, right... 

It's common sense to know that eating six oranges at one times isn't the best choice. Even still, eating the six oranges instead of juicing them would be even better for you because real, fresh fruit has way more fibre than juice. (Fibre not only keeps you regular, it helps you feel full and also prevents against diseases). 

So, when I talk about fruit - I'm not talking about fruit juice. Fruit juice is different. I think fruit juice is a nice occasional or 'sometimes' food. 

Look how many oranges went into this cup 250ml of orange juice.  Image via The Nude Nutritionist Instagram. 

Look how many oranges went into this cup 250ml of orange juice. 
Image via The Nude Nutritionist Instagram

Is Dried Fruit Unhealthy? 

One of the things that makes fruit filling is that it's made up of loads of water. When you dehydrate or dry out fruit, it shrinks. So you will want to eat more to fill up your stomach. So, does that mean  you avoid dried fruit? Heck no. 

Just be mindful of dried fruit. Opt for no added sugar varieties. Grabbing a family-size bag of dried fruit and snacking on it from your desk isn't a good plan! (You shouldn't eat in front of a screen or at your desk, anyway).

When you have dried fruit, have a handful and then eat it mindfully and slowly. If it didn't satisfy, then reach for a whole piece of fruit. If you're hungry, then eat substantial, non-snack food like a sandwich... 

 
Lyndi Cohen