The idea behind weight loss is simple: Eat fewer calories than you use, and you will lose weight. However, in practice it can be hard to figure out just what are the best foods to keep you full while keeping your calorie intake down. Fruits can be a good choice for those trying to lose weight, but take into account the calories contained in fruit.
Fresh fruits are typically relatively low in energy density, meaning they don't have a lot of calories in a serving. Low-energy-dense foods are recommended for those who are trying to lose weight, because they help to fill you up on fewer calories. Even though they are relatively low in calories, they are full of essential vitamins and minerals. According to North Carolina University Extension, the calories in low-energy-dense foods are often diluted by water and fiber.
Whole fruits are less energy-dense than dried fruits or fruit juice, so if you are trying to lose weight, you should try to consume fruits mainly in this form. Drying fruit removes the high water content of the fruit, and juicing removes the fiber in the fruit, both of which make fruit much more energy-dense. When choosing canned and frozen fruits, opt for those with no added sugar, sodium or fat.
Replacing energy-dense foods with less energy-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can help you to lose weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, you can mix in fresh fruit with your cereal or yogurt so a full bowl contains fewer calories but is still filling.
Although fruit is low in energy density, it still has calories. You can't just eat unlimited amounts of fruit and expect to lose weight, especially if you choose dried fruits, canned fruits or juice, says Dr. Melina Jampolis in an article on the CNN website. Keep in mind preparation methods can also add to the calories in fruits. Avoid adding fats and sugars, as these increase the calories.
Jampolis recommends people who are trying to lose weight consume three servings per day of fruit and choose only fresh or frozen fruits, because these are the least energy-dense, so there is less risk of unintentionally consuming too many calories. Your other recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day should come from vegetables, which tend to be even fewer calories per serving than fruits because they do not contain as much natural sugar.
- Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Can Eating Fruits and Vegetables Help People to Manage Their Weight?
- CNN: Can Eating Too Much Fruit Keep Me From Losing Weight?
- NC State University Extension: Energy Dense Foods