Dr. Sarah Penney, ND, MSc
Is Fruit Bad For Weight Loss?
Is there such thing as too much of a good thing? When it comes to fruit, this is certainly a topic of much debate. Fruit is widely incorporated into weight-loss protocols, advocated in everything from fruit smoothies several times per day to use as snack or the base of a meal replacement. The basics of fruit consumption and weight gain present a bit of a conundrum. Although fruit contains many beneficial antioxidants and other health promoting compounds, it's also technically provides a large bolus of sugar, much like a refined carbohydrate. This in theory can cause a spike blood sugar levels, leading to an insulin response and weight gain. One thing that could help control this response is the level of fiber found in some fruits, but that is very dependent on what fruit you choose.
Interestingly, the research on fruit and bodyweight don't seem to show any association with weight management issues. One study published in 2010 actually found that in 77 obese participants dieting over six months there was a positive association between fruit consumption and weight loss, regardless of statistics like age and other nutrient consumption during the day.(1) Another trial looked at the consumption of either three apples or three pears versus oatcakes in obese women with high cholesterol put on a diet trying to lose weight. They found that the women in the either group of fruit consumption lost significantly more weight than those in the oatcake group. Furthermore, measures of blood sugar control were not increased in the group consuming fruit.(2) It is important to note that apples are one of the lowest glycemic index fruits available, which means that they have a much lower impact on blood sugar levels than other fruits. It would be interesting to reproduce this trial using fruits like grapes or peaches.
Clearly there is more to be explored regarding the relationship between fruit and weight-loss. Until then, why not try to incorporate low glycemic index fruits frequently into your diet? I think the three apples per day challenge is a great one!
- Dr. Sarah Penney, ND, MSc
Schroder KE. Effects of fruit consumption on body mass index and weight loss in a sample of overweight and obese dieters enrolled in a weight-loss intervention trial. Nutrition. 2010 Jul-Aug;26(7-8):727-34.
Conceição de Oliveira M, Sichieri R, Sanchez Moura A. Weight loss associated with a daily intake of three apples or three pears among overweight women. Nutrition. 2003 Mar;19(3):253-6.
As originally written for acenutrients.com