Although fruits supply vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, they sometimes get a bad rap for being high in a natural sugar called fructose. This type of sugar is also found in many sweet treats and can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar. Unlike candy bars and cookies, however, most fruits contain ample amounts of fiber, which helps fill you up until your next meal. If you are still feeling hungry after eating fruits, you may need to adjust the types you are choosing or consider pairing your fruit-based meals and snacks with a source of protein, another satiating nutrient.
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Benefits of Fiber
Fiber is a family of natural compounds that give plants strength and structure as they grow. The human body can’t digest fiber, so it passes virtually unchanged through the digestive system, adding bulk to your diet. Fiber-rich foods have a high satiety level, so they provide a more prolonged source of energy that can help you reduce the calories you consume, leading to weight loss. Women need at least 25 grams of fiber daily, while men require 38 grams.
Some fruits are lower in fiber than others and are therefore more concentrated sources of natural sugar. If these are your go-to fruits and you’re hungry soon after eating them, you could reduce your consumption and choose higher-fiber fruits more often. Some dried fruits like apricots are lower in fiber, with only 1.7 grams in a serving, while dried figs supply a whopping 10.5 grams. Fresh fruits with less than 2 grams of fiber per serving include cherries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, grapes, honeydew melon and pineapple.
Choose fruits higher in fiber for a more satisfying and long-lasting snack. Apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, pears, plums and watermelon all fit the bill. All types of berries are full of fiber, with boysenberries, raspberries, blackberries and elderberries topping the list. Add berries to your whole-grain cereal or oatmeal for a fiber-rich breakfast that keeps you going until lunch.
If you are still feeling hungry when you eat fruit on its own, you may need to pair it with some protein. A study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2008 found that protein boosted weight-loss efforts by producing a higher degree of satiety than either carbohydrates or fats. Try a banana or apple with almond butter, or mix dried fruit with cashews and walnuts for a satisfying snack. Serve melon or grapes with yogurt, or use pineapple or cherries to top off your fish or poultry dishes.
- Discover Good Nutrition: The Truth About Sugar in Fruit
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dietary Fiber and Energy Regulation
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: What Is Fiber?
- Mt. Sinai: Fiber Chart
- Today’s Dietitian: The Top Fiber-Rich Foods List
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management and Satiety