Fruit and fat loss – what’s the real story? If you’ve been doing your research, you’ve likely concluded that fat loss and sugar are polar opposites. If you want to burn fat, sugar should be avoided.
And since fruit contains a high dose of sugar, this must mean it gets put on the hit-list as well, right?
While it’s true that fruit does contain sugar, that’s not where the story ends. Let’s look at a few factors to consider when determining whether fruit and fat burning can be friends.
First let’s talk about that sugar. Right off the start, do remember that this is sugar found naturally in a food created by Mother Nature. This is much different than the white table sugar that’s created in some manufacturing plant.
Second, the sugar found in fruit is typically about 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
It’s only glucose that is going to influence your blood glucose levels. Fructose, on the other hand, moves into the liver, where it is either used as energy or stored as liver glycogen.
You have around 50 grams of liver glycogen storage per day, so provided you are not above that, fructose will pose no threat.
If you are above that however (as would be the case if you are eating plenty of other foods containing high-fructose corn syrup), that fructose will readily be converted into body fat storage.
So it’s not so much the fruit that’s the issue, but what else you are eating in addition to the fruit. Fructose from other sources that are not fruit could put you at risk for weight gain.
The average piece of fruit will contain around 2-8 grams of fructose, so with 50 grams of storage space, this could mean a lot of fruit is safely consumed.
The next thing to think about is the hunger factor. Fruit tends to work very well at tiding over your hunger. This is thanks to the high dose of dietary fiber it contains. In one study published by the Appetite journal, when researchers had test subjects either consume an apple, applesauce, or apple juice with or without added fiber, it was only the whole apple that was able to reduce their calorie consumption by 15% at the following meal. Despite adding fiber to the apple juice drink, it still did not provide this effect.
This gives good evidence that whole fruits can be excellent for lowering your hunger, making it easier to maintain a reduced calorie diet plan.
Another factor to consider is the actual calorie content that fruit provides. Most types of fruits will come in at around 40-100 calories per serving, so it tends to be a lower calorie option for any diet plan.
If you suffer from sweet tooth cravings, you’re far better off taking in 60 calories from a cup of berries than you are taking in 300 from a cup of ice cream.
Fruit can make dieting far more manageable for many people.
Let’s not forget the health benefits that fruits hold. Fruits aren’t just sugar and fiber – they’re loaded with important antioxidants and vitamins as well.
Fruits, especially berries, are one of the healthiest foods that you can put in your body, so it’d be a shame to avoid them entirely because of a few grams of sugar – natural sugar at that.
A regular intake of fruit can help provide numerous benefits including improving your heart health, lowering inflammation, boosting your brain function, and improving energy levels.
So as you can see, there’s no reason to avoid fruit entirely. It can and should be a part of most fat loss programs.
If you want to optimize the results you get from bringing fruit to your menu, simply focus on serving fruit earlier on during the day and around the workout period. This is when your body is most likely to utilize the sugar and carbohydrates found in the fruit so when it will be put to great use.
As fruit does contain calories and more carbs (unlike vegetables, which many consider ‘free’ on their diet plan), it is important that you account for these in your nutrition plan.
So don’t shun fruit any longer. Feel good about adding it in moderation.
Flood-Obbagy, Julie E., and Barbara J. Rolls. "The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal." Appetite 52.2 (2009): 416-422.
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