I have a few quick thoughts this morning regarding fruit and fat loss. Fruit is another one of those polarizing topics in fitness (sadly, I’m serious). Some claim that the sugar in fruit is inherently fattening or will prevent fat loss success. While others, take an extreme approach from the other end.
So first things first… let’s talk about some of the benefits of fruit in regards to fat loss (and health) and why it’s misguided to vilify fruit. As a food rich in fiber and water, fruit is inherently very filling per calorie, which means that if helps to keep you more satisfied than more calorie dense foods of similar calorie intakes. To use an extreme example, 2,000 calories of pineapple per day would likely leave you feeling more ‘full’ than 2,000 calories of ice cream. At the risk of stating the obvious, as you create larger calorie deficits, it becomes very important to make sure you’re keeping yourself as satisfied *as possible*, so you don’t chew your arm off and be a total nightmare to be around.
In addition, fruit also helps blood sugar stability. This is of course a great health benefit, but it also helps your appetite from going off the rails. This is also why it’s ABSURD to declare that fruit is unhealthy “…cuz sugar”, since it improves blood sugar handling. While we’re talking about sugar, sugar is the reason that some people will claim that fruit interferes with fat loss. This frankly demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the processes of fat loss and fat gain, as the degree of a calorie deficit dictates the rate of weight loss, not the intake of sugar.
But there’s also another (accidentally) extreme position – that you shouldn’t count the calories in fruit. Weight Watchers is the only program that I am aware does this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is more commonplace than I know. In principle, I really like this idea and I understand where they’re coming from. Fruits and veggies are great – and people should try to eat prioritize them And if we don’t encounter negative feedback from eating them (“Oh no! I ate an apple. I have less points left now!”), you’d be more likely to eat them.
Sadly, this approach comes at a price. If you’re having one serving of fruit per day, this probably doesn’t mess your numbers up too much, but let’s say you’re hitting 2,000 calories per day from foods OTHER than fruit and 2,000 is your target calorie intake for fat loss to lose 1 lb per week. And then you add in 4 servings of fruit at, let’s just say, 60 calories a pop. Now you’re eating an extra 240 calories per day, which could cut your rate of fat loss in half. Then we factor in that calorie counting already has a margin of error even in best case scenarios, and those extra 240 calories on top of that margin of error and you could completely obliterate your attempted calorie deficit, thus leading to some serious disappointment.
Conclusion: while it’s absurd to declare that fruit is “fattening” and it’s very beneficial to include fruit for both health and fat loss, it’s best to still be aware of the calories in fruit just like you would from any other food group. You may have to ‘make room’ in your ‘calorie budget’ by reducing other foods in order to eat the amount of fruit you prefer and still reach your fat loss goals.