Cherries, whether dark red or a blushing yellow color, are a delicious and nutritious treat that can be part of a healthy weight-loss diet. Both sweet and sour cherries -- sometimes called wild cherries -- have a number of weight-loss benefits, including being low in calories and high in dietary fiber. Cherries can also help you meet your recommended daily intake of 1 1/2 to 2 cups or fruit per day, an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.
A Low-Calorie Snack
Fresh cherries, both sour and sweet, can be a low-calorie snack for those on a diet. A 1-cup serving of pitted sweet cherries has 97 calories, while a 1-cup serving of pitted sour cherries has 78 calories. Both can be eaten raw or cooked. Substituting either sweet or sour cherries for a higher-calorie snack, such as a similar serving of fruit-flavored candy, just once a week can help you reduce your calorie intake over the course of a year, leading to around 7 pounds of lost weight.
Filling in Fiber
Cherries are also naturally high in dietary fiber, with 3 grams per 1-cup of pitted sweet or sour cherries. Fiber helps fill you up as it adds bulk to your diet, making you feel fuller while taking in fewer calories. A serving of cherries provides 12 percent of the recommended 25 grams of fiber per day for adult women and 8 percent of the recommended 38 grams for adult men. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, most Americans do not meet the daily recommendation, consuming only 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day.
May Help Lower Body Fat
According to a 2009 issue of the "Journal of Medicinal Food," sour cherries may help reduce belly fat. Sour cherries are especially rich in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. An animal study, conducted over 90 days, found that taking a sour cherry extract -- made from dried whole cherries ground into a powder -- led to less overall fat in the body as well as less abdominal fat. Researchers concluded that sour cherries may help with reducing overall fat levels and could potentially help reduce the risk of diseases associated with a high-fat diet, including type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
Using Sweet and Sour Cherries
Both sweet and sour cherries can be eaten raw. Because they tend to be seasonal, however, consider freezing cherries -- pitted or whole -- so that they are available year-round as a refreshing, nutritious and low-calorie treat. Cherries can be used to season a number of dishes, namely desserts such as pies and crumbles, but they can also be dried and used as a snack or as an ingredient in a homemade granola mix. Dried cherries can be stored in an airtight container, and using them can be as simple as mixing them in with low-fat yogurt for a healthy breakfast or dessert.
- SAVEUR: Sweet and Sour Cherries
- NPR: Inside a Tart Cherry Revival
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Fruit Is Needed Daily?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Cherries, Sweet, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Cherries, Sour, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Candies, SKITTLES
- Go Ask Alice!: How Many Calories Does it Take to Lose One Pound?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Fiber
- Journal of Medicinal Food: Regular Tart Cherry Intake Alters Abdominal Adiposity, Adipose Gene Transcription, and Inflammation in Obesity-Prone Rats Fed a High Fat Diet
- Serious Eats: 9 Desserts to Make With Sweet and Sour Cherries
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes - Macronutrients