Weight Loss Wednesday: Does An Apple A Day Keep The Pounds At Bay?
Fruit. For most of us, the idea of fruit as a healthy snack is a no-brainer, and for good reason- fruit is full of vitamins and antioxidants as well as water. But are they the perfect food for weight loss? Recent data has yielded conflicting information. Weight Watchers seems to think the answer is ‘Yes’ and recently declared them a ‘free’ food. But can you really eat fruit without abandon if your goal is weight loss?
Other schools of thought, such as the bodybuilding world, suggest not. Here’s why: Fruit, despite being all natural and therefore without any added or artificial sugar, is still high in the simple sugar fructose. Unlike glucose, another simple sugar that is used by both the muscles and the brain , fructose is processed only in the liver- meaning that if you already have enough stored energy in your liver at the time you eat fruit, your liver is more likely to process the fructose into fat. This is simple biochemistry. This being said, the consumption of fruit as a reason for weight gain may have been blown somewhat out of proportion, as most Americans get their fructose from processed, sweetened products, and not whole fruit.
So what’s the real story? There is no ‘free’ lunch or free anything for that matter. No matter where they come from, calories and carbohydrates matter and should be taken into account when calculating your macronutrients and total calories. If you are moderating your carbohydrate intake, consuming multiple pieces of fruit can push you over your macros in no time flat.
The main point here is that fruit should not be treated as if it has no impact on your daily intake. Everything that you put in your face has an impact on your body. Like everything you eat, you should choose smart options that are high in fiber, such as berries, peaches, apples, kiwis and plums. The higher fiber will create more of a feeling of fullness, and will help you eat less overall. The final take home message here: fruit is not free, but its also not likely to make you fat by itself.