5 Myths About Fruit That Could Prevent You From Losing Weight

Fruit is naturally high in sugar and carbs, but that doesn't mean you should shun it when you're trying to lose weight.
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When it comes to eating for weight loss, there's a lot of information (and misinformation) out there. Depending on what you read, fruit is either your best friend or worst enemy if you're trying to lose weight.

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There's no shortage of claims about how you should consume fruit, what time of day you should eat it and which fruits you should avoid entirely. But what's true and what's not?

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Here are the top myths about fruits and weight loss, according to nutritionists, along with what to believe instead.

Myth 1: You Shouldn’t Eat Fruit Because It's High in Sugar

One of the biggest misconceptions about fruit is that because it is sweet, it contains a ton of sugar and is therefore "bad" for you.

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However, there's a difference between the natural sugar in fruit (fructose) and foods with added sugars, says Carolina Margolis, RDN, on-staff registered dietitian at Lifeway Foods, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

"Fructose is only harmful in large amounts, which is difficult to get in excess in its natural form from fruit," Margolis says. "For most people, the amount of sugar in fruit is safe to eat."

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Fruits are also among the most nutritious foods and provide other nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber. In addition, they are high in water content, which means they can help to manage appetite and keep you feeling fuller for longer, says Reema Patel, RD, a registered dietitian and nutritionist for Dietitian Fit & Co.

"Although fruit does have sugar in it, all the other nutrients it contains, and in particular fiber, help promote fullness as it slows digestion, which can then reduce food intake overall — an important factor in weight loss," Patel says.

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What to do instead:‌ Even though fruit contains natural sugar, you should incorporate it into your daily diet, especially because it's loaded with nutritional benefits.

If you are having a sweet craving, rather than grabbing a piece of candy, sweetened granola bar or slice of cake, try eating some fruit, which makes the perfect snack or natural dessert when on a weight-loss journey, Margolis says.

Myth 2: Fruit Will Make You Gain Weight Because It's High in Carbs

Yes, fruit contains carbohydrates, but they are healthy carbs that mainly come from dietary fiber, Roxana Ehsani, RD, LDN, a board-certified sports dietitian and registered dietitian nutritionist in Miami, Florida, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Dietary fiber helps support a healthy gut microbiome, keeps you full for longer, promotes regular bowel movements and helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, she adds.

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"The more dietary fiber in your diet, the better for your weight-loss efforts, and fruit is a natural source of fiber," Ehsani says.

There's also no need to avoid carbohydrates because they provide your brain and body with energy and support bodily functions as well as any physical activity.

What to do instead: ‌There’s no need to cut out fruits just because they contain carbs. Eating fruit can help you feel fuller, which can be better for your weight-loss efforts and can give you more energy during physical activity, Ehsani says.

If you are trying to lose weight, just remember to pay attention to serving sizes, especially because some fruits may count as two fruit servings if they are large in size. According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should be eating between 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day.

Myth 3: Avocados Are Fattening

A fruit that's often eliminated when someone is trying to lose weight is avocado. Patel says that's because avocados are relatively high in fat.

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You might think you need to cut out fats to lose weight, but Patel says this is a myth. In fact, research has shown that regular intake of healthy fats (such as those found in avocado) can help manage appetite and keep us fuller for longer and much more satisfied, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

This means "we are likely to snack less and eat less overall," Patel says, which can help with weight loss.

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What to do instead:‌ Patel says cutting out fats all together can leave people feeling deprived and unsatisfied, which may cause them to reach for more processed foods that are higher in added salts and sugars (think: chips and ice cream).

Patel encourages getting a source of healthy fat in each meal, which can include avocados. Combine avocados with some lean protein, whole grains and vegetables for a balanced, nutritious and filling meal that can help you to lose weight and keep it off, she says.

Myth 4: Blending Fruit Destroys Fiber and Reduces Nutrients

If you'd rather sip a smoothie than chomp on an apple, take heart: Blending fruit does not destroy the fiber or change its nutritional properties, Margolis says.

Blending fruits does expose them to oxidation, she says, and nutrients can be lost when a food is exposed to oxygen like that. But it takes time (about an hour) for nutrition to be affected. So if you're blending and then sipping, you've got nothing to worry about.

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What to do instead:‌ Blending fruits to make a smoothie is a great way to get more servings of fruit and fiber into your daily diet. (And remember: The fiber in fruit has many benefits, especially for those who are trying to lose weight, Margolis says.)

She notes smoothies can be less satiating than eating whole fruits because there is a lack of chewing, and some people may ingest the smoothie too quickly. However, you can make up for this by slowing down and adding a protein powder for additional flavor, consistency and satiety.

Myth 5: You Shouldn't Eat Fruit on an Empty Stomach

Another myth about fruit is that eating it on an empty stomach allows it to sit and rot in the stomach, which slows the digestion of other foods and contributes to gas, bloating and digestive issues, Margolis says.

"The 'rotting in the stomach' is completely untrue. Our stomach naturally prevents overgrowth due to its acidity, and most microorganisms don't stand a chance," she says.

Fruits that contain soluble fiber like apples and citrus fruit attract water in the gut, forming a gel, which can slow digestion. But this isn't a bad thing, Margolis says. In fact: "The fiber in fruit helps one feel full and prevents blood sugar spikes after eating meals, which can help control appetite and weight," she says.

What to do instead:‌ If fruit is the first thing you eat, it won’t just "sit and rot" in your stomach. The nutritional value and benefits of eating fruit will remain the same regardless of when you eat it.

Margolis says to further increase satiety, pair fruits with protein like Greek yogurt, peanut butter or cheese and crackers. “These foods also further stabilize blood sugar, and the probiotics in yogurt may contribute to further blood sugar stabilization and production of hunger and weight-loss regulation hormones.”

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