We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, and there are many studies that suggest a link between high sugar consumption and a risk of obesity. But are all sugars the same? Should people who are trying to lose weight avoid fruit altogether? Make sure you don’t skip this one, it’s berry important!

 

 

What happens to your body when you eat fruit?

The thing that confuses many people looking to lose weight is that fruit contains sugar, a carbohydrate that can spike your blood sugar (and cause a number of other issues, when eaten in excess). However, fresh fruit has a lot more going on than a can of soda or scoop of ice cream.

The high fiber content and polyphenol in fruit reduces that spike in blood sugar. Studies show that fiber helps your body feel full, which can help you feel satisfied and avoid overeating.  

Fruit is also jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and a ton of other good stuff you don’t want to miss out on.

Still not convinced? A 12-year prospective study of over 70,000 female nurses looked at changes in fruit and vegetable intake in relation to weight gain and obesity risk. They found that an increased amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet reduced the likelihood of obesity by 24%.

In fact, overwhelming numbers of studies show that people who eat fruit weigh less, and have lower rates of cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

 

The best way to eat fruit

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re better off eating the whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice. Fruit juice rarely contains that all-important fiber, so it spikes your blood sugar, which can cause hunger urges that lead to overeating.

Switching your juicer for a blender is a better choice—smoothies retain the beneficial fiber you get from fruit. Still, reach for whole fruit when you have the chance, since it seems to be the best option for maximizing nutrient intake.

Dried fruit is delicious and full of nutrients but should still be eaten in moderation. Since all of the water has been removed, dried fruit is more concentrated: that means that pound for pound you’ll get more nutrients from dried fruit than fresh, but you’ll ALSO get more calories and sugar. Plus, some dried fruit is “candied,” which means the manufacturer added sugar to make it sweeter. 

 

The takeaway

If you want to eat less sugar, cut down on junk food and sweets and don’t worry too much about fruit. Fruit offers important nutrients that do your body good AND may help you lose weight. Just remember to opt for whole, fresh fruit sources whenever possible.

Of course, it IS possible to go overboard—even with a food as healthy as fruit. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend two cups of fruit each day for a person on a 2,000-calorie diet. Don’t forget, you need your veggies, too!