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Can You Eat As Much Fruit As You Want and Lose Weight?

Can You Eat As Much Fruit As You Want and Lose Weight?
Although most people accept that fruit is a healthy food, not every type of fruit is the same when it comes for being a good food choice for those on a weight loss diet. The HCG diet carefully limits the type of fruit that you can eat specifically to oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries and apples because of the fact that these are some of the lower calorie fruits that have a lower glycemic index than others.

These fruits are not shown to cause weight gain when you eat them in small quantities, but the HCG diet carefully limits fruit servings which is crucial for weight loss. Fruit contains fructose which is also known as fruit sugar, and fructose can definitely lead to weight gain or stalled weight loss when you consume too much of it. The question of whether you can eat as much fruit as you want and lose weight is a somewhat complex one that is described in more detail below.

You have to be careful with your servings for almost any type of fruit

Although there are some fruits that are lower in their glycemic index as previously mentioned, you have to be careful with your fruit servings because several types have several grams of carbohydrates per serving. That means although those carbohydrates might be digested more slowly than other types of fruit with a higher glycemic index and won't necessarily lead to an insulin spike, it still contains carbohydrates, and no matter what the glycemic index is of the food, too many carbohydrates in your diet will lead to weight gain.

For example, apples contain 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving and one cup of blueberries contains 21 grams of carbs per serving. Nutritionists recommend that you limit your carbohydrate intake to around anywhere from 0.8 to 1.25 grams per pound of body weight. So for a woman who weighs 140 pounds, her maximum carb intake would be around 112 to 175 grams per day.

Obviously this amount can be easily reached with more than a few servings of oranges or apples, and when combined with the other carbs that can come from your meals, the total number of carbs can very quickly add up and stall weight loss. However, in any case, it's far better to eat low glycemic index fruit in larger quantities rather than processed foods, grains and starches, even if your intake exceeds 1.25 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.

Focusing on calorie restriction works better than eating more fruit

Instead of focusing on eating more fruit in order to lose weight, it's generally a better idea to restrict overall calories and limit carbohydrate intake which is why diets like the HCG work very well. Of course the HCG diet allows fruit consumption but as previously mentioned it is very limited.

Calorie restriction generally works better in terms of weight loss than switching your diet around and doing things like eating more fruits and vegetables, although both can certainly work. When you just make food changes in your diet without considering calories you have to be extra careful to monitor your calorie intake as previously mentioned, and there are other considerations to take into account like the glycemic index of the foods that you're eating as well as their starch content.

Eating as much fruit as you want is a  good idea if you haven't been eating it

In spite of what we've said above about limiting your fruit intake in order to reduce your carbohydrate intake, if you haven't been eating it at all you will definitely want to start adding more of it in your diet. It's much better to get your carbohydrates from fruit because of the fiber, water content, and wide range of beneficial compounds like phenols and antioxidants that are in many types of fruit. These compounds along with additional vitamins and minerals make fruit a much better option for most of your carbohydrate intake compared to foods like grains, corn, starchy foods, and processed foods. There's no question about that and fruits and vegetables both should be considered as viable alternatives to some of these unhealthy foods.

Be careful with the type of fruit that you eat

Along with being careful about the quantity of fruit that you eat, it's also important to make sure that the type of fruit that you are eating is relatively low in sugar and has a low glycemic index if you're trying to lose weight.

Examples of fruit with a higher glycemic index include dates, mangos, pineapples, bananas, figs and grapes. On the other hand, strawberries, apples, apricots, blueberries, grapefruit, limes, lemons, oranges, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, cantaloupes and watermelon all have a relatively low glycemic load and make good options when you are trying to lose weight and consumed in moderation.

Most people are much better off eating more servings of fruit

For the majority of people, it's better for them to eat multiple servings of low glycemic index fruit, the key is that it has to be low glycemic index. This is because most people simply don't get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet on a regular basis, so making an effort to eat more will only benefit them by reducing their consumption of processed foods, grains, starches and other foods that can easily lead to weight gain.

So you don't have to really worry a lot about eating too much fruit if you haven't been eating it often, if you've been balancing it with vegetables and protein, and if you stick to lower glycemic index options. You most likely won't gain weight and will likely start to lose a little bit of weight.

It's actually really hard to eat too many low glycemic index fruits because of their high water content and filling fiber. You'll find that you will fill up very quickly if you snack on fruit and that you probably won't want to eat as often as you normally do.

This alone can cause weight loss in spite of the carbohydrate and fructose content of fruit. So feel free to enjoy some of the low glycemic load fruits we mentioned above but balance it out with low starch vegetables and protein and you'll be very likely to lose weight or at least prevent weight gain while keeping your diet healthy and clean.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

6 min read